When Yamaha broke news of Valentin Guillod staying ‘put’ as part of the Standing Construct Yamalube team last week it seemed to bring an end to most of the paddock speculation for 2016 with most leading names firmly attached to the factory teams.
However a noticeable gap still remains at Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP where Clement Desalle’s vacant #25 has to be filled after the Belgian has allegedly plumped for a Monster Energy Kawasaki ride in 2016.
Suzuki is a team and organisation in transition with Stefan Everts’ rumoured takeover all but finalised although unlikely to be officially announced until the EICMA motorcycle show in mid-November. There was some danger that they could lose Kevin Strijbos to interest from Husqvarna at one stage but the Belgian renewed his association before Lommel and the GP of Belgium after having previously signed a letter of intent with outgoing owner Sylvain Geboers.
Around Lommel there were several names being attached with the RM-Z450 that ranged from the absurd (Ken Roczen) to the unlikely (Ben Townley) to the possible (Dean Ferris).
In Townley’s case the New Zealander is apparently keen on one last attack of the MXGP class after stepping away from international racing three years ago. The 30-year-old former MX2 world champion (the first, in 2004) and East Coast AMA 250SX Supercross winner had apparently also contacted KTM about the possibility of a ride. Fellow Antipodean, Ferris, is looking for employment after his current Jacky Martens Husqvarna team is set for a return to a two-man MX2 roster for 2016.
Other names in the hat that Everts could pick from include Christophe Charlier and Steven Frossard, although it is possible that Monster Energy Kawasaki could run a third rider in some capacity.
In MX2 Jeremy Seewer is in contention for a top three finish this season and is contracted to Suzuki for another term on the RMZ-250 for 2016. It is believed that junior sensation Brian Hsu could already make the jump into MX2 as team-mate after taking victory and shining in his first term in EMX250 this year and just his first season on four-stroke technology. Some believe that the 15-year-old German is still too young and under-developed for Grand Prix at this stage and would benefit from another European campaign.