Motocross

KTM’s MX factory riders head for Hawkstone Park with confidence

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Pre-season MX events have proved fruitful for the Red Bull KTM MX2 factory riders Tommy Searle and Tyla Rattray and this weekend they have another opportunity to test their skills at Hawkstone Park, UK as the first of the season's GPs draws closer on the calendar. Tommy took the MX2 race at Mantova Italy, while Tyla, who is again in top form after knee surgery took him out in the final stages of last season, won at the international meeting in Valence, France last weekend. The stage is therefore set for a friendly showdown between the two KTM teammates this weekend. Searle, who 2007 MX2 title winner Antonio Carioli has acknowledged in interviews will be one of his toughest rivals this year, is in good form and will enjoy racing in front of his home crowds. "It's a great circuit and I am looking forward to riding. It's like a home GP for me riding in front of the Hawkstone Park spectators and it is a good chance to practice on the sand," Tommy said. Rattray won at Hawkstone Park last season and said he as looking forward to another shot at the circuit. "It's a very good track," Tyla said. "It's not just sand, there are some hard sections, some good jumps and some very good lines. But what I especially like about this rice is there is a super final at the end of the day where the 250s start in front of the 450s, so they have to catch us up!" Rui Goncalves the third member of the KTM MX2 trio has decided not to race at Hawkstone Park and instead will recuperate after catching the flu after the Valence event last weekend. Max Nagl from Germany is in the hot seat for the KTM Red Bull Factory Team in MX1 this season during which KTM's Offroad Team Director Pit Beirer expects will see him establish himself among the top riders in the class. Nagl tested himself out on the steep Shropshire circuit for the first time last year and scored a fourth and fifth place in the two MX1 motos for fifth overall. That was on a wet circuit. At this stage no rain is forecast for the British Midlands for race day Sunday. "I have been training well in sand this weekend in preparation for Hawkstone Park," Max said. "My goal is to take the holeshot and race consistently and I hope to finish in the top five." Unlike the other pre-season events, Hawkstone Park packs all the action into one day with qualifying on Sunday morning and races in the afternoon. This makes the event on Britain's most well-known motocross circuit a test of endurance as well as skill. The top 16 riders from MX2 and the top 20 in the open class will advance to the finals on Sunday afternoon. Main Photo: Tommy Searle

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