New Wilvo Yamaha rider Arnaud Tonus has spoken for the first time about his return to the FIM Motocross World Championship and in preparation for his first season in the MXGP class after two tough and unfulfilled years in the USA and with the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team.

The 25-year-old’s transfer back to Grand Prix and with a two-year contract with Yamaha Motor Europe comes after back-to-back terms struggling with a virus, wrist and shoulder injuries for Mitch Payton’s squad and in which he was rarely able to show his potential in AMA 250SX and MX.

“I’m focussed on what’s coming but for sure it was frustrating because I was sick for a long time and never really 100 per cent but this is part of the sport and I have grown from that,” said the Swiss who rode a KX450F at the recent Motocross of Nations. “I cannot change anything and when you go there you want to be at the top. I had to deal with that whole experience but I learned so much and I’m pleased I could come through it. It would be stupid to live with regrets.”


Tonus will partner Shaun Simpson in what will be an official Yamaha satellite team led by Louis Vosters and could make his first competitive out on the YZ450F as soon as December with an appearance at the Geneva Supercross. “I’m gonna ride Geneva SX – Louis seemed alright with that and I’ll spend some time getting ready for it,” he said. “If things go to plan I should be able to ride the bike for the first time in the next 10 days or two weeks.”

Planning to split his time between a base in Belgium and his residence in Switzerland this winter Tonus will also look ahead to his first full campaign on the 450. 2017 and the enlarged 20-round MXGP calendar might be his first in the premier class but he is no stranger to Yamaha machinery having ridden Steve Dixon’s YZ250F in 2012 where he was also alongside Simpson in the awning. The tall former MX2 GP winner can at least anticipate a new and slightly more liberating training programme for the bigger bike.

“Yeah, I’m happy about that!” said the 2011 British MX2 champion. “With the 250 I had to be careful on muscle side – it seemed that if I did three push-ups then I built muscle bulk! In the US I trained for SX and then Outdoors and now the focus will be on endurance and the training will be different. It will be a long season but I can get a bit heavier because the bike will have the power to cope with that.”