Monster Energy Dixon Racing Team’s Steve Dixon has talked for the first time about the acquisition of three times MX2 FIM World Championship runner-up Tommy Searle and the impending departure of three times MX2 Grand Prix winner in 2015 Max Anstie.
Dixon, who takes his British team into a second year with Kawasaki support after more than two decades running Yamaha machinery in 2016, will split classes for the first time with KX technology with Russian Vsevolod Brylyakov set to step into Anstie’s shoes in MX2.
Question marks remain over Searle’s potential in the premier class after three injury-ravaged seasons in which the winningest British racer this century has been unable to clasp podium silverware. By bringing the 26 year old back into ‘green’ (and with factory KYB suspension) Dixon believes he can help ‘100’ reach new peaks.
“All of the top riders are fast. It is just about how they are managed and how ‘it’ is brought out of them,” the Team Manager rationalises over the capabilities of his new signing. “I feel confident we can push Tommy up there to podium results. You don’t go from winning races against Jeffrey Herlings in 2012 to not knowing how to ride a 450: that is not the case. Things have not gone his way for several reasons but mainly through injury.
“We are starting with a blank canvas but we know he is a talent, fast and smooth rider. I think it is our job to make him comfortable, we certainly do not need to teach him to ride. We need to build him a bike that suits him and he feels confident and on which he can go fast. That is what we are known for and why he decided to come here. We are both hoping for good results.”
The team were briefly in MX2 title contention this season with Anstie when the Brit scored three wins and a second place in the space of five Grands Prix in the second half of the season. Anstie allegedly took an early decision to move to Husqvarna for 2016 and his last attempt at the MX2 crown before he hits the 23 age ceiling for the class.
“We built up a good relationship this year with Max – and also last season – through our work but he made the decision to change teams very early on before he started to get really good results,” explains Dixon.
“He had the belief that a full factory team was the only way to a world championship but having tasted all the wins this year and experiencing some crashes while in podium positions we could have been walking away with a title in 2015. It will be a hard act to follow. It is not a bitter split but just a shame. With Tommy it could have been a ‘Dream Team’ in 2016 but I wish Max the best in the future because he is a rider that hasn’t achieved what his talent merits.
“For me he is up there with the Martins’ and Herlings’ – that’s the calibre of rider he is. I think we opened some ‘closets’ and good some good results as a consequence. I think he will take some of those values to his next team.”