Just when it looked like the days of a full-time MXGP ride for Kevin Strijbos were coming to an end, the 33-year-old has clinched a deal to race a Yamaha 450 for the JWR Yamaha team. The squad is from Sweden but based in Belgium, backed by 24MX and run by Johan Westermark.
Belgian Strijbos, who last won a GP in 2017 for the factory Suzuki team before joining Standing Construct KTM in 2018 than had an injury-riddled year that left him 14th in the final series standings, had been struggling to find a full-time MXGP ride. It looked like he was due to race the German ADAC series and some selected European rounds.
But now he’s with JWR Yamaha who are committed to all of the European rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship and will also strive to compete at the two Chinese stops, Shanghai and Hong Kong, that will act as rounds five and six.
The 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship is set to begin on March 10 at a location that has not yet been announced. The series will then tackle events in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. JWR Yamaha Racing will stay true to their roots when the new season begins as Strijbos will chase glory in the MX1 class in the Swedish Championship.
Kevin Strijbos said: “I’m really happy to join the JWR Yamaha Racing team. It is a young dynamic team and I will try to help them with my experience if needed. I’m also looking forward to riding the Yamaha 450F, as I have heard a lot of positive things about the bike. I cannot wait to ride it! It seems the circle will close; I started my first MXGP season on a Yamaha 125 in 2001 and it looks like I will also close it on a Yamaha. Of course, I will do my best next year to get the best results possible.”
Team manager Johan Westermark said: “It is a huge step forward for JWR Yamaha Racing to tackle seventeen rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship in 2019 and I cannot think of a better rider to do that with. Although Kevin struggled with injuries this season, it was quite clear that he still has the speed to run at the head of the field and contend for positions inside of the top five. We look forward to giving him the tools to do exactly that.”