Team Honda HRC MX2 will keep with what's clearly a pattern of fill-in riders for the upcoming rounds of the 2017 Monster Energy Motocross World Championship, as they've tapped Taiki Koga to compete at the 2017 MXGP of Switzerland and 2017 MXGP of Sweden aboard a factory-backed CRF250R. This weekend's race at Frauenfeld will be Koga's debut in the world championship series.
Team Honda HRC MX2 started the season with Michele Cervellin and Chihiro Notsuka, but Notsuka suffered serious injuries in a crash at the 2017 MXGP of Argentina and will be sidelined for the rest of the year. Honda has hired a handful of riders for short-term deals in Notsuka's absence in recent rounds, including US-based Anthony Rodriguez and EMX 250 competitor Jed Beaton. Team Honda HRC MX2's strategy through the summer months has been very interesting to watch, as it seems they are sorting through possible riders for 2018 on the all-new CRF250R.
Koga is the currently IA2 (MX2-250cc) point leader of the 2017 All Japan Motocross Championship and rides for N.R.T. Honda, the 250 class effort fielded by multi-time champion and Japanese motocross icon Akira Narita. Because the Japanese series is currently on summer break, Koga is free to compete in Europe without schedule interference. The 2017 All Japan Motocross Championship resumes in late August at Sugo Sportsland.
The full press release from Team Honda HRC MX2, including quotes from Koga, is posted below…
Joining Michele Cervellin in HRC MX2 for the next two consecutive rounds in Switzerland and Sweden, is Japanese IA2 points leader Taiki Koga.
Taiki Koga has been given the opportunity to ride in the FIM World Championship motocross series by HRC, between his race events in Japan. He is currently leading the IA2 (MX2) class in the JMX series. This is a huge step up for Koga who is new to racing in Europe and has never raced in a world championship event.
Michele Cervellin is ready for the final points push as the season end is in sight. The track is hard pack which is usually Cervellin's preferred terrain.
The weather this weekend could make conditions tricky. Rain is forecast on Saturday which can make the track treacherous and rutted. Sunday's weather looks much brighter which will hopefully dry out the track to offer some good line choices for racing.
"I really like the Switzerland, I raced there last year and I can remember feeling good there. It is hard pack and one of the better tracks on the calendar. Now that I am over my sickness I can improve my physical condition to get it back to where it should be." – Michele Cervellin, racer
"I am looking forward to my first weekend racing with HRC. I came to Lommel so I got to experience how everything works and to get familiar with the series. This week will be my first time on the bike so we are going to do some testing to get me comfortable on the bike. It is going to be an experience." Taiki Koga, racer
"Having run most of the year with one rider in MX2, it has given us the opportunity to offer some young riders the chance to experience the MX2 world championship. The event here in Switzerland is no different as we have Taiki Koga riding for us. Taiki is currently leading the Japanese motocross championship IA2 Class (MX2). Michele comes into this event still searching for his early season form which hopefully we will this weekend." – Roger Harvey, HRC General Manager