In a move that has taken many by surprise this week, HRC has announced 2015 MX2 world champion, Tim Gajser will not defend his title.
The talented Slovenian rider will now move up to the MXGP class for 2016 and will race factory CRF450Rs similar to those provided for Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev, but he will remain under the Team Honda Gariboldi Racing tent.
But should it be a surprise? Moving Gajser up to MXGP for 2016 takes some pressure off the 19 year old and it also gives Honda a young rider learning how to ride with the big boys while the factory team runs with two seasoned pros.
HRC rider Kei Yamamoto will ride a CRF450R to compete in the MXGP class for Team Assomotor Honda and over in MX2 Honda’s efforts will be down to Damon Graulus and Henry Jacobi at J-Tech and Jorge Zaragoza at Gariboldi.
Team HRC’s 2016 MXGP riders presented at EICMA
Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev, Team HRC’s riders for the 2016 MXGP Motocross World Championship, appeared yesterday at the EICMA International motorcycle exhibition in Milan, Italy, as part of Honda’s official presentation of its factory motorcycle riders.
Paulin and Bobryshev, who finished second and third respectively in 2015 aboard the Honda CRF450RW, were welcomed onto the Honda stage in front of assembled media alongside fellow HRC factory riders from MotoGP, Dakar and Trial.
The 2016 season will be the seventh for Russian star Bobryshev with Honda, whilst it will be the second with HRC for Frenchman Paulin since returning to the brand after riding the Honda CRF early on in his European career.
“I’m really looking forward now to getting back on the bike, which will be in one month’s time,” said Gautier Paulin. “I’m working hard and the team are working to be ready for the first round.
“It’s great to see the way HRC are pushing, so I’m feeling confident, and it always feels good to be part of this family with the MotoGP riders and Dakar and Trial. Right now I’m happy.
“This year we were learning and it took longer than I thought to get to the best level, but next year it will be a little easier because we’ve done this job already – we’ve done the learning that comes with a new team and a new bike.”
Evgeny Bobryshev said: “I’ve been many years with Honda already, one of the longest-serving Honda riders, and it’s a big pleasure to represent Honda and HRC.
“Being part of this is a great feeling – there’s such a strong presence of Honda and HRC not just in MXGP but also in MotoGP, Trial and Dakar. It’s one big family which is very special.
“Testing is good and we’re making very positive progress. Everything for me remains the same next season which is a benefit because we can already start where we left off this season, so I’m hoping for another strong season like this one.”
General Manager for MXGP at HRC, Roger Harvey commented: “Last year we had many changes with the joining of both Paulin and Jean Michel Bayle, so for next year we benefit from consistency, maintaining the same rider lineup with Gautier and Bobby.
“The 2014 season was a formative year with the HRC name returning to MXGP with a full factory outfit, and since then we’ve seen things grow and develop and results improve to finish second and third in the World Championship in 2015.
“Next year, we want to continue this progression and momentum, and with the lineup and stability we have, I believe we have all the ingredients to do this. We see the strength of Honda and HRC in today’s factory team presentation so I have no doubt that next year we will be fighting at the front again and stronger than ever.”