You are here
Home > MOTO HEADLINES > MXGP opener heads to Argentina

MXGP opener heads to Argentina

The 2024 FIM Motocross World Championship blasts into action at the opening round of the 20-GP season, taking place at Villa La Angostura for the YPF INFINIA MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina

This will be the 8th time that the circuit has hosted an MXGP event and the 4th time that it has kick-started the season! The first time MXGP went to Villa La Angostura was in 2015, which consecutively hosted the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina since then and only missed the 2020 and 2021 years due to Covid. The track and venue are amongst the favourites with the whole paddock, with everyone enjoying the incredible welcomes from the Argentinian people and the scenic Andean backdrop. 

And there will be just three British riders lining up. In MXGP, Ben Watson rides the factory Beta while Josh Gilbert is on an SS24 Gabriel KTM under the wing of team manager Shaun Simpson. Bobby Bruce makes his MX2 GP Kawasaki debut for the British Dixon team.

In 2023, Villa La Angostura hosted the first round of the campaign and saw the first ever RAM Qualifying Races that counted for points towards the World Championships on the Saturday afternoon. It was suspected that the rule change to make the Saturday RAM Qualifying Race count for points would benefit Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado, whose amazing starting technique put pressure on his title challengers all season long, and the Spaniard met those expectations with the Saturday race win to instantly fit the Championship leader’s red plate onto his machine.

Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández won the overall Grand Prix on the Sunday with 5-1 finishes compared to Prado’s 1-6 scores, but Jorge kept the red plate due to his advantage from Saturday.  That would go on to be a regular occurrence all season!

The 2024 season starts with an amazing line-up.  For only the second time in history, two five-time World Champions will start the season together to race for a sixth title, and for the first time ever, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, they are both under 30 years old! Also, unlike 2004 with Stefan Everts and Joel Smets, neither one of them is reigning Champion as Prado will carry the #1 plate on the only MXGP Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing machine.

Gajser and Herlings have both stayed on the same machinery, HRC Honda for the Slovenian, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for the Dutchman.  Frenchman Romain Febvre, second in last year’s Championship despite winning 6 Grands Prix to Prado’s 2, remains with KRT and continues his nine-year quest for a second world crown after winning in 2015.

Romain is joined in Kawasaki Racing Team team by 2023’s 3rd-placed rider, Jeremy Seewer. With 5 Silver medals to his name as well as the Bronze from last year, he will be hoping that the green machine will make the difference to finally get some Gold on his shelf.

While Herlings is the sole MXGP rider for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Team HRC continues with Ruben Fernandez, who never got to the top step again in 2023 but still managed 5th in the series.  Glenn Coldenhoff, changes machinery but is effectively with the same team as Louis Vosters’ Dutch outfit takes over the reins of the Fantic Factory Racing effort, alongside fellow Dutchman and MXGP rookie Roan van de Moosdjik.  If Coldenhoff were to win a Grand Prix on the Fantic, he would become only the third rider in Motocross history, after Yves Demaria and Alessandro Puzar, to win Grands Prix on five different brands of motorcycle throughout his career.

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP promote third-year MXGP man and 2021 MX2 World Champion Maxime Renaux to team leader after the Frenchman won his second GP on a 450, before a foot injury put him out of title contention.  He did come back in time to represent Team France at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, winning his class and helping his nation to a famous home victory.

He is joined on the team by the most successful non-Champion on the grid, four-time MX2 Championship runner-up Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jago Geerts. With 24 GP wins to his name (the same total as both Antonio Cairoli and Tom Vialle managed in their MX2 careers), Geerts made a superb showing at the 2022 Monster energy FIM MXoN, his 450 debut and he is likely to be a threat!

The third rider on the squad is two-time GP winner Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Calvin Vlaanderen, who moves onto factory machinery for the first time in his career. Can it bring him into regular podium contention? The Dutchman will be hoping so!

Sadly, Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing have lost their MXGP rider Mattia Guadagnini to a shoulder injury sustained in pre-season testing.  The MRT Racing Team BETA squad once more field British hope Ben Watson, this time with the returning Ivo Monticelli under the same awning. The Italian who didn’t race the MXGP series last year missed being in the big leagues! The Swiss rider Valentin Guillod remain with Team Ship To Cycle Honda Motoblouz SR, who also welcome Norwegian Kevin Horgmo up from MX2, where he took his first heat win last season.

Standing Construct Honda MXGP hold onto our sixth World Champion in the line-up, 2017 MX2 title winner Pauls Jonass, but welcome the popular Italian Alberto Forato to the squad after he finished 7th in the 2023 Championship.  JM Honda Racing continue with Brent van Doninck, whilst Swedish star Isak Gifting moves up to the 450 with JK Racing Yamaha.  Shaun Simpson’s Gabriel SS24 KTM squad will join the series full-time with Josh Gilbert also making his first attempt at a full Grand Prix season.  Slovenian Jan Pancar moves up from MX2 on his own Tem JP253 KTM Racing Team effort.

Photos: 1. 2023 MXGP World Champion Jorge Prado; 2. Jago Geerts, 2023

2023 MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina MXGP Top 3:

  1. Ruben Fernandez 
  2. Jeffrey Herlings
  3. Jorge Prado

6 World Champions – 16 Titles between them!

Jeffrey Herlings – 5 titles – 2012-13 & 2016 MX2; 2018 & 2021 MXGP

Tim Gajser – 5 titles – 2015 MX2; 2016, 2019-20 & 2022 MXGP

Jorge Prado – 3 titles – 2018-19 MX2, 2023 MXGP

Romain Febvre – 1 title – 2015 MXGP

Maxime Renaux – 1 title – 2021 MX2 

Pauls Jonass – 1 title – 2017 MX2

In MX2 last year, Jago Geerts dominated the GP by winning all three races.  Andrea Adamo surprised on his debut for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing with two third places for 2nd overall with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Thibault Benistant rounding out the podium.

MX2 saw four first-time GP winners in 2023, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Liam Everts claiming 3, eventual champion Adamo claiming two, and Husqvarna pairing Kay de Wolf and Lucas Coenen taking one apiece.

In 2023, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing once more brought in riders to the team and turned into GP winners and gained yet another Championship, their 20th in MX2, with Andrea Adamo.  Liam Everts put up a spirited chase towards the end of the season with three GP wins.  Both riders return for the team in 2024, as does Sacha Coenen, but Liam has picked up a thumb injury in February which will keep him out of Argentina, possibly returning for round two in Spain. 

Thibault Benistant stays with Yamaha Factory Racing MX2, as does 2022 EMX250 Champion Rick Elzingaand his successor to that title, Andrea Bonacorsi. Bonacorsi was amazing on a 450 at the Monster Energy FIM MXoN, claiming 3rd in the Open class and helping Italy onto the podium.

Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing have a fast line-up with GP winners Kay De Wolf and Lucas Coenen, both returning for the team and looking to carry their speed into 2024, after injury hampered both of their title campaigns last season. De Wolf was one of several riders who got hurt just as they started to hit their stride. Coenen could also be the real threat, often looking faster than anybody in the class last year, especially in the sand. 

The third Austrian factory squad, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing, has its own title contender in Simon Laengenfelder. He eventually claimed the Bronze medal right at the final round from Everts, and sits on three GP wins like the Belgian. He’ll be hoping to do his talent some justice in 2024. He’s joined by a French rookie with some star power, the mercurial Marc-Antoine Rossi.  A multiple winner in EMX who took a fine 8th as a wildcard at his home round MX2 GP debut, his swagger and personality could prove to be a big hit in GP racing.  

Another rookie, Italian Ferruccio Zanchi, joins the mighty Team HRC on their new MX2 project, and he has already shown great speed in the pre-season with a surprise win.  Yet another rookie, French kid Quentin Prugnieres, races for F&H Racing Team in 2024 after also impressing at the French GP last year.

The exciting news on the team front is the first new project from a British side in decades, with Monster Energy Triumph Racing bringing their new TF250-X machine to Grand Prix racing.  With promising Dane Mikkel Haarup and South African Camden McLellan, a former EMX85 Champion, they have a solid rider line-up, and Haarup has been right amongst the established contenders in pre-season internationals.  The slick new black machines could very well be a successful package!

The Fantic Factory Racing Team graduates to GP racing after several years in EMX, and they field second-year Spaniard David Braceras alongside fast but unfortunately recently injured Dutch teenager Kay Karssemakers

Among a very hot young pack of MX2 stars, the all-English-speaking Bike It Kawasaki squad of Floridian Jack Chambers and Englishman Bobby Bruce could also be ones to watch on what should be the leading green machines in the paddock.

Main Photo: 2023 MX2 Start Patagonia-Argentina 

Bottom Photos: 1. 2023 MX2 World Champion Andrea Adamo; 2. Simon Langenfelder, 2023

2023 MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina  MX2 Top 3:

  1. Jago Geerts
  2. Andrea Adamo
  3. Thibault Benistant

6 Grand Prix Winners – 13 Wins between them!

Liam Everts – 3

Simon Laengenfelder – 3

Thibault Benistant – 3

Andrea Adamo – 2

Lucas Coenen – 1

Kay De Wolf – 1

TIMETABLE (Local Timing UTC-3)

SATURDAY: 10:45 MX2 Free Practice, 11:15 MXGP Free Practice, 13:20 MX2 Time Practice, 14:00 MXGP Time Practice, 15:25 MX2 RAM Qualifying Race, 16:10 MXGP RAM Qualifying Race.

SUNDAY: 10:25 MX2 Warm-up, 10:45 MXGP Warm-up, 12:15 MX2 Race 1, 13:15 MXGP Race 1, 15:10 MX2 Race 2, 16:10 MXGP Race 2.

Entry list MXGP
1 1 Prado Jorge GASGAS ESP RFME Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing
2 3 Febvre Romain Kawasaki FRA FFM Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP
3 10 Vlaanderen Calvin Yamaha NED KNMV Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
4 17 Toendel Cornelius KTM NOR NMF Schmicker Racing
6 32 Van doninck Brent Honda BEL FMB JM Honda Racing
7 41 Jonass Pauls Honda LAT LAMSF Standing Construct Honda MXGP
8 70 Fernandez Ruben Honda ESP RFME Team HRC
9 76 Villaronga Muga Sergio Ignacio Honda CHI FMC
10 84 Herlings Jeffrey KTM NED KNMV Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
11 87 Brumann Kevin Husqvarna SUI FMS SixtySeven Racing-Team
12 91 Seewer Jeremy Kawasaki SUI FMS Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP
14 93 Geerts Jago Yamaha BEL FMB Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
15 101 Guadagnini Mattia Husqvarna ITA FMI Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing
16 107 van Berkel Lars Honda NED KNMV
17 110 Pavez Ramirez Matias Joaquin GASGAS CHI FMC
18 113 Castillo Emiliano Ezequiel Husqvarna ARG CAMOD
19 124 Sendon Lucas Honda ARG CAMOD
20 128 Monticelli Ivo Beta ITA FMI MRT Racing Team Beta
21 144 Rolando Nicolas Husqvarna URU FUM
22 179 Poli Joaquin Kawasaki CLAT CAMOD
23 238 Aparecido dos Santos Fabio Yamaha BRA CBM
24 243 Gajser Tim Honda SLO AMZS Team HRC
25 253 Pancar Jan KTM SLO AMZS TEM JP253 KTM Racing Team
26 259 Coldenhoff Glenn Fantic NED KNMV Fantic Factory Racing MXGP
27 303 Forato Alberto Honda ITA FMI Standing Construct Honda MXGP
28 326 Gilbert Josh KTM GBR ACU Gabriel SS24 KTM
29 403 Suarez Gallo Ezequiel Husqvarna ARG CAMOD
30 494 Sastre Flavio Nicolas Honda ARG CAMOD
31 517 Gifting Isak Yamaha SWE SVEMO JK Racing Yamaha
32 596 Benenaula Andres Kawasaki ECU FEM
33 707 Arco Victor Dario Husqvarna ARG CAMOD
34 891 Pessoa Gustavo Honda BRA CBM
35 909 Cordovez Miguel ECU FEM
36 919 Watson Ben Beta GBR ACU MRT Racing Team Beta
37 959 Renaux Maxime Yamaha FRA FFM Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team


3 12 Chambers Jack Kawasaki USA AMA Bike It Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team
4 19 Coenen Sacha KTM BEL FMB Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
5 22 Braceras David Fantic ESP RFME Fantic Factory Racing MX2
6 25 Hiebert Fehr Thiago KTM PAR FEPAM
7 28 Rossi Marc-Antoine GASGAS FRA FFM Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing
8 44 Elzinga Rick Yamaha NED KNMV Monster Energy Yamaha Factory
10 54 Matkovich Tomas GASGAS ARG CAMOD
11 55 Diez Ignacio GASGAS CHI FMC
12 73 Zanchi Ferruccio Honda ITA FMI Team HRC
13 74 de Wolf Kay Husqvarna NED KNMV Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing
14 80 Adamo Andrea KTM ITA FMI Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
15 88 Medina Italo Honda ECU FEM
16 96 Coenen Lucas Husqvarna BEL FMB Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing
17 109 Bresolin Guilherme Yamaha BRN CBM
18 112 Suarez Jaramillo Pedro Jose ECU FEM
19 125 Weckman Emil KTM FIN FMM Schmicker Racing
20 132 Bonacorsi Andrea Yamaha ITA FMI Monster Energy Yamaha Factory
21 146 Bratschi Alfonso Husqvarna URU FUM
22 180 Ambjörnson Leopold Husqvarna SWE SVEMO Team Leoparden Racing
23 191 Salgado Juan Ignacio Husqvarna ARG CAMOD
24 198 Benistant Thibault Yamaha FRA FFM Monster Energy Yamaha Factory
25 202 Salinas Giuliano KTM USA FEM
26 214 Osterhagen Hakon Honda NOR NMF JM Honda Racing
27 219 Delgado Kayl GASGAS ECU FEM
28 221 Feican Andrés Honda ECU FEM
29 251 Arbazua Inaki Suzuki CHI FMC
30 288 Liprandi Ignacio KTM ARG CAMOD
31 319 Prugnieres Quentin Marc Kawasaki FRA FFM F&H Racing Team
32 347 Abadia Juan Honda ARG CAMOD
33 427 Fredriksen Hakon KTM NOR NMF WZ RACING TEAM
34 489 Walvoort Jens KTM NED KNMV KTM SB Racing
35 516 Laengenfelder Simon GASGAS GER DMSB Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing
36 579 Bruce Bobby Kawasaki GBR ACU Bike It Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team