KTM Sport Director Pit Beirer confirmed last weekend at the Grand Prix of Czech Republic that the Red Bull factory team is currently working on a basis of five official riders for their MX2 and MXGP set-ups for 2016 and it is still unsure whether former triple world championship runner-up Tommy Searle will be a part of the roster.
Searle has had a frustrating and turbulent season on the works 350SX-F after making a big push this winter to integrate himself into Claudio De Carli’s operation alongside Tony Cairoli and the equally unfortunate Ken De Dycker. The 26-year-old has a best overall finish of 10th at Valkenswaard for the Grand Prix of Europe but has dealt with thumb, vertebrae, shoulder and arm problems throughout the 13 rounds of the term so far and from which he has only picked up points in six Grands Prix.
Day went Alright had a small crash second race when i was fighting for 5th. 9th in first one 15th in second one pic.twitter.com/2KD9SsupCF
– Tommy searle (@tommysearle100) July 26, 2015
When asked for his view on how Searle – in his second stint as a Red Bull KTM athlete after running to two MX2 runner-up positions from 2007-2008 – Beirer said the door is not shut on further co-operation but the pressure is on.
“That last spot in KTM is never really closed,” he commented. “Tommy still has the chance to prove something but it has been a long time that we have been waiting for some results. We are having a difficult time because we like the kid and his girlfriend and they fit so well into the structure. We definitely want him to do better and would love to keep him but slowly there is a certain pressure. Through being nice to two guys this year we have almost zero results.
Tony [Cairoli] has done his job for a few years and he owes us nothing. If he needs two races off or however many he needs to get healthy then that’s fine because he has done an incredible job. Ken [De Dycker] stayed because we liked him and there was a good feeling and we thought we could motivate him again and make him into a top five guy but the results are zero, and it almost the same for Tommy. You can be nice for a time…but I also come under pressure in my company and for the sponsors for results and it is not looking too fantastic.”
Searle meanwhile has been linked with other potential saddles with Rockstar Suzuki (with Kevin Strijbos yet to sign a contract for the next two years) and allegedly the Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki team who this year have Max Anstie finding good form in MX2.
When asked to comment on rumours that the British star could move back to ‘green’ and steer a KX450F team principal Steve Dixon said: “I would be excited if a rider like Tommy could come into the team. We’ve seen how the impact of a British rider doing well can help and he obviously has a good history with Kawasaki.”
This weekend’s Grand Prix of Belgium is likely to be crunch time for several riders and teams still to confirm their plans for 2016 although those racers changing squads and brands are unlikely to be officially announced until after the season.