Top riders in the KTM Red Bull MX factory team will have the chance to face off with some of their future GP rivals this weekend at Valence in France, one of the major pre-season events before the start of the world championship series.
On the starting list are Max Nagl of Germany, the KTM factory rider in the MX1 for 2008 and MX2 riders Tommy Searle, Tyla Rattray and Rui Goncalves. They travel to the circuit about 100km south of the city of Lyon, which offers a compact and hard, stony surface. Weather reports indicate that this year the event may be dry. It is often run in rain typical for this time of year.
The factory team riders have been in France this week for training and for the pre-season team photo shooting and are looking forward for some in competition "training" at Valence.
Searle a late entry, since Mantova, Tommy Searle, a late entry to Valence, has been putting in some solid training to get accustomed to his new KTM MX machine. "I haven't ridden at Valence before so we will have to see what happens. It will be good training for us on this hard surface
Good training in Belgium, South African Tyla Rattray has been training in Belgium, his European base for the competition season, in the company of Max Nagl and Rui Goncalves. "We've been training on a private track and it was great because the owner prepared anything we wanted so we could practice a lot of different things. Valence is not my favourite course. It is very hard and stony but it will be good training for the world championship
Perfecting starts important for Rui, Rui Goncalves also said he enjoyed his days training with his teammates and is approaching Valence as good training for the future GPs. "I have been working on my starts and there are a few little things with my riding that I want to fixI last rode in Valence three years ago. I will use it as a good pre-season competition practice but I won't be taking any risks.
Nagl happy with suspension tests, Max Nagl will be onboard his KTM MX1 machine also said Valence would be a good practice ahead of the championships. "I have been training in Belgium because it's important to get in some practice in sand - because that will be the conditions of the first GP of the season. Since Mantova we have done some suspension tests and have found some very good settings. I feel very good on the bike
KTM's team boss Stefan Everts will no doubt have some good tips for his riders, the 10-times world champion was the winner at Valence in 2006.