The slopes and flow of the superb Matterley Basin circuit near Winchester in England will be the venue for the British Grand Prix and the thirteenth round of sixteen in the FIM Motocross World Championship this weekend and Monster Energy Yamaha will count on a replenished and potent line-up for this premier event.
The MX2-GP quota of the factory squad reaches full three-rider representation once more as Zach Osborne – fresh after his first Grand Prix podium of 2012 in the Czech Republic almost two weeks ago – is to be joined by Arnaud Tonus and Michael Leib. Tonus is now fit after recent minor wrist surgery that caused him to miss the trip to eastern Europe at the last minute. The popular and stylish Swiss’ presence – as reigning MX2 British Champion – will be a boost to the Dixon-led British division of the team that faces their home event at Matterley. Leib has arrived from his base in California and after shirking free the debilitating effects of Epstein-Barr virus that had sidelined the 21 year old since the Grand Prix of France in May.
Monster Energy Yamaha’s bolstered ranks extend beyond those racers steering YZ250F machinery in the UK. In the premier MX1-GP class Shaun Simpson is another who will count on an atmospheric and powerful local support but the Scot will not be alone on this occasion as the second factory YZ450FM will be thrown around the English leaps by promising 22 year old Kristian Whatley.
Whatley, the son of former Grand Prix star Jeremy, shone in the 2011 MX1 Maxxis British Championship and is one of the brightest prospects on the UK scene. He now faces his home event with an excellent chance to shine in the international spotlight. “I haven’t been this excited for a good while,” he said. “It is great to have this chance and I just hope I can get some decent starts and hang it out there with some of the top GP guys.”
The British Grand Prix is an event that also houses the first ever MXGP Festival with ten classes and a bumper entry of the fastest riders from across Europe in action. On this busy and unparalleled stage Yamaha are excited that Kiara Fontanesi stands on the threshold of her (and the YZ250F’s) first ever FIM Women’s World Championship. The Italian won the opening moto this afternoon (Thursday) and is now just one point away from the title. Mel Pocock will continue his dominant trek in the European EMX2 series where the twenty year old Briton has won the first four of seven events on his YZ250F as part of the Monster Energy Yamaha set-up.