Vital MX - Suzuki Racing has announced some changes for their 2017 Suzuki World MX2 team along with confirming the lineup for their MXGP roster. First up the MX2 press release, with the MXGP version below it.

MX2 Team Announcement:

Team Suzuki Press Office – September 5.
Pichon and Lawrence Brothers drafted into the Team for 2017.

Suzuki has strengthened its strategy for the future and through the establishment of the Team Suzuki World MX2 team as a stage for promoting and developing young talent with a fresh set of alliances for 2017 and beyond.

With current rider Jeremy Seewer second-placed in the FIM world championship standings already slated for a final MX2 term in 2017, and EMX250 European Champion race winner Bas Vaessen also confirmed for the Grand Prix class, Suzuki is thrilled to be able to incorporate Australian Hunter Lawrence into the GP structure as a third rider on the RM-Z250.

The Antipodean will bring his highly-rated younger brother, Jet, slated for European Championship duty, while Suzuki’s substantial profile in EMX250 – the feeder class to Grand Prix and the final step on the career ladder for MX2 aspirants – is boosted by the signature of Zach Pichon (the son of former double 250cc World Champion on the RM250, Mickael Pichon) to continue in the category.

Everts had already moved to secure Seewer and Vaessen for a potent 2017 MX2 wing, but the addition of 16 year old Lawrence, a winner in EMX250 in just his first season this year - and before he was hit by a right knee injury that prematurely ended his European campaign - only adds more potency.

“After Jeremy and Bas, we are very honoured to sign Hunter Lawrence,” said Team Suzuki General Manager Stefan Everts. “We had a great opportunity to work together and thinking about the future and what I have seen of Hunter so far, he will fit in perfectly to our programme. After one-or-two years I feel that he can be a really strong contender in the world championship. He was really strong in his first races in the European Championship and he adapted very fast to Euro tracks. So I’m very pleased to have this kid on-board and also his brother [Jet]. We have changed quite a lot with how we are working with the riders and it has already started to pay off in some respects and results; Bas is showing good things and Jeremy is improving a lot. For the Lawrence family I think it was important the trust and resources we could provide and they are really happy to come on-board. I hope this is the next step for us in building up the whole Team Suzuki structure.”

Lawrence is a former 125cc Junior World Championship ‘podiumee’ and national junior number one and was highly sought after in the Grand Prix paddock for his talent and application for a maiden MX2 attempt in 2017; which will be the first of two years in ‘yellow’.

Brother Jet was 65cc Junior World Champ. “For Jet and it’s quite something to have stood out enough for Harry and Stefan; we’re talking 15 world titles between them so there is quite something to be learned there,” the confident youngster said. “My knee is coming along well and I’m cycling and exercising. I think I might be on the bike in mid-September and it will be great to start working with the team and get a good feeling with the RM-Z250 then. It will be a crazy-long season next year and I don't have any expectations; I know how important it is to try to keep healthy and make it all the way through.”

Zach Pichon has caught the eye this season and in 2015 with his initial forays in EMX125 competition thanks to a speed and style that could well be a family trait. The teenager, who turns 16 at the end of the summer, will contest the highly-competitive 10-round European series as well as dates in Holland and the ADAC MX Masters national championship in Germany.

“This is a quite a big deal for my family because my father was two-time world champion with Suzuki,” Pichon says. “I like the bike and I feel great on the Suzuki. It was an easy and quick decision to join the team. I am doing more riding and cycling and running this year and working with my Dad he knows how I feel…so we are improving.”

Stefan Everts has many memories of close and intense tussles with Zach’s father and now the story circles around to the next generation. “We meet again after some years!” the Belgian smiles. “And now in a completely different position. I saw Zach when he was a little kid and Mickael and I were racing each other and now I am taking care of his son. It is a really cool story and it is nice to join up like this again. I always had a lot of respect for Mickael; he is a special personality and we have a lot of stories! Zach is a completely different rider and character. I think all the experience around him – with Mickael and I and my father - he will have the help he needs to become a champion. Who knows? Maybe in a couple of years we will see another generation of Everts-Pichon battling on the track!”

The sizeable quota and mix of youth, promise and podium experience at the highest level means the culmination of Suzuki’s long European-based relationship with Brian Hsu. The 18 year old German is optimistic of joining Suzuki’s effort in the United States for 2017. “Brian wants to go to the U.S. so Suzuki is helping him to find a deal there,” Everts concludes. “It was his wish from the beginning and now he has turned 18 I think it is the right time for him to go. We had a difficult year and we wished it could have been better.”

MXGP Team Announcement:

Team Suzuki Press Office – September 1.

Team Suzuki World MXGP have made the trip to North Carolina and the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Grand Prix of Americas and the penultimate round of 2016 MXGP with their riding roster sealed for next year.

Kevin Strijbos will be joined by Arminas Jasikonis on the works RM-Z450s after the young Lithuanian impressed with his open attitude and approach since being drafted into the team to substitute for the injured Ben Townley. As the 17th appointment of 18 in the current FIM Motocross World Championship gets ready for action this Saturday evening ‘AJ’ is safe in the knowledge that his final two gatedrops for the Lommel-based crew will not be his last for the foreseeable future.

MXGP travels overseas for an American back-to-back finale with the race in Charlotte swiftly followed by the Grand Prix of USA at Glen Helen in San Bernardino in California. Little is known about the new-build ‘Supercourse’ across the Charlotte dirt track oval but the paddock is expecting a largely flat and jump-laden course, as well as decent temperatures around the mid-20s. Jasikonis is making his first major competitive outing in the U.S. on the back of a personal best moto result of seventh in Assen last Sunday for what was only his fourth ride on the RM-Z450.

“It has always been a dream to reach Grand Prix and I think I am the first from Lithuania to reach this far,” the tall 18 year old said. “Now getting a contract for next year is ‘something else’. I’m really happy and I cannot quite believe it but I know the work really just begins now. Before riding was just about having fun and joking around…now I am really motivated and I have big expectations of myself. I will be working so hard over the winter and I’ll be doing everything the team advise me to do. I’ll be going big for next year.”

Although he came to MXGP as a relative unknown, and was riding in the ADAC MX Masters German series, Jasikonis has already made his mark within the team and the ‘#177’ has started to trouble the top-10 of what is a very difficult premier class. “I know I could do better in the previous GPs,” he says. “I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to stay for next year. There will still be pressure next season but everything will be pretty new and an adventure but I will be making the best out of it.”

Now a fully-fledged Grand Prix rider he insists there are only a few alterations to make in preparation for his maiden term with Suzuki. “There won’t be too many big changes,” he believes. “I’ll change physical trainer and I’m very thankful for what has been done for me so far, but we must move forward. I have changed my doctor as well and the set-up is very nice and professional. I live only five minutes from the team and have been there for three years so that will stay.”

Lastly Jasikonis will benefit from the wisdom and close tutelage of General Manager (and former 10 times World Champion) Stefan Everts. “Even from these few races I have taken so much experience already,” he comments on working with the renowned Belgian. “I’m a big rookie with not much experience at all; sometimes I am too ‘goon’ in many places on the bike! We will work in the winter on that and of course to be with the best you cannot ask for any more. I will be nineteen and it is time…and I will learn fast.”

“We brought Arminas into the team to give him a chance and see how he would develop and work with the guys and we’ve been pleased and surprised,” says Everts. “He is still so young but is very willing to listen, learn and work on his riding from all angles. He is a strong rider and although he lacks experience, this will come. The most exciting thing for us is that he represents a great project for next season and the future and we are looking forward to seeing where we can go together in 2017. I also like the line-up of the team now with Kevin and all those seasons and podiums in Grand Prix and then Arminas who is the next generation.”


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