Eleven consecutive podium finishes, second place in the MXGP Championship standings and just 45 points away from Tony Cairoli’s red plate; it has been a stellar first season for Jeremy Van Horebeek with Yamaha Factory Racing so far.
2014 is only the 24-year-old second in the premier class and he needs three more trophies to equal Cairoli’s streak achieved in 2013.
It is safe to say that Van Horebeek will be on the YZ450FM again in 2015 after the combination with Yamaha Motor Europe has revived the brand’s profile in MXGP.
The Belgian was spotted and signed from the works Kawasaki Racing Team at the end of 2013 by Michele Rinaldi. The former world champion also brought Stefan Everts, Josh Coppins, David Philippaerts and Steven Frossard to the confines of his team with notable success.
“We had initial contact with Jeremy last year from Michele’s side and he is more of an expert on judging a rider’s potential,” reveals YME Racing Manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp, who oversees all of Yamaha’s racing activity in Grand Prix.
“He believed there was a lot of margin for Jeremy to improve and that his riding style fits well for the 450. Together we also believed that he would be a good match for our bike. He has made the step up that we were hoping for and is doing more than we initially expected.”
The result has been a major rejuvenation for Yamaha after injury problems with Frossard, Philippaerts and Joel Roelants since 2012.
“There were some discussions [in the media and from fans] about the machinery and how Jeremy has shown such good form with the new Yamaha but the truth is that we always knew the YZ450F was a motorcycle that can win,” Klein Koerkamp says. “It was so difficult for a rider to show that through injury.”
Van Horebeek is now five rounds away from a personal best result in Grand Prix racing. “Top three would be a very successful season but he is really close to second and first place is not impossible,” assesses Klein Koerkamp. “Jeremy is the underdog in a way because Tony Cairoli is very good and very fast but with the current points difference then anything is still possible.”
“There is no pressure on him to secure a specific place but I feel that he has it in him to take second without there being any problems for other riders,” the Dutchman adds.
“With that level of success and results you always end up wanting more and more and I know Jeremy is also hungry for that win but he is calm and sees the bigger picture. Being consistent is one of his main strengths.”