Guide to riders and top favorites in the 2023 EMX250

Riola Sardo will host the first stop of the season for the EMX250 category, the prelude for the young champions of the future before making the leap to the absolute categories of the Motocross World Championship. As every year before the inaugural round, we write this post our forecasts about the pilots to take into account for the new course and those who, a priori, should fight for the honorary positions in the category. Last year we were not at all misguided.

A determining factor that comes into play this 2023 season is the modification of the age limit to compete in the EMX250, going from the 23 years that had governed in the last campaigns, to 21. This takes many pilots out of the equation, who now they will have to look for alternatives such as making the move to the MX2 World Championship or trying their luck in National Championships, since the rest of the European events, that is, the EMX2T or the EMX Open, radically change their format and are now held in a single race. As a consequence, the Championship opens up and leaves more room for surprises, which, as you will see, will probably come from the rookies that will debut in the category. We start:

Huteen Metaal Yamaha and Andrea Bonacorsi, favorites for the 2023 EMX250

The official representative of Yamaha in the category will have a line-up of three riders in 2023. His main asset for the EMX250 title will be Andrea Bonacorsi (4th in 2021 and 6th in 2022), who will face his third season in the division after joining the team as EMX125 Champion in 2020. Consistency has been his worst enemy so far, the Italian’s results curve seemed like a roller coaster in 2022: 12-14-4-1-10-3-3-23-3-22 , on its good days, podium or victory, on its bad days, results that obviously get you out of the fight for the title, and more so in a contest as tight as the EMX250 usually is. He obviously knows what it is to win a European Championship, he did it in 125cc, and if we take the pre-season races as a reference, there are indications that he may have polished off the mistakes that weighed him down in the past, consistent results and holding up against benchmark rivals. of the MX2 World Championship. By the way, his only victory in 2022 was in Riola. For me he is the big favourite.

Photos: JP Acevedo | Andrea Bonacorsi in action

He will be accompanied by rookies Karlis Alberts Reisulis and Ivano Van Erp. The two come from signing seasons of merit in the EMX125, although they failed in what was their main objective, winning the Championship, not because of speed, but because of falls at specific moments that squandered their options. Of course, Van Erp retaliated by proclaiming himself 125cc World Champion. The two could be in contention for the Top 10, especially on sandy circuits like Sardinia. This will be a learning year for them.

Quentin Marc Prugnieres and Bud Racing Kawasaki

By age, this could be his first season in EMX250, but it will be his third. Quentin Marc Prugnieres chose to minimize his stay in the EMX125 to a single season, and he has been competing on the 250 for two. two podiums in the three final rounds (Sweden and France). He then packed his bags and went to the USA to compete in the Mini O’s, where he made quite an impression with 2 podium finishes in Supercross and 1 in motocross. Back in Europe, I would place him among the great favourites, also, to begin with, the sand is a surface on which he develops well, so he can consummate a great start to the Championship in Riola Sardo.

His partner will be a rookie not only in the EMX250, but also in European competition. It’s Benjamin Garib, a very promising Chilean rider that Bud Racing Kawasaki had their eye on precisely when he was racing Prugnieres at the Mini O’s. Garib achieved two podiums in motocross and one in supercross, and they decided to give him the opportunity to come to Europe. In his case we will have to wait a few more weeks to see him, since he dislocated his shoulder in the 2nd round of the French national championship and will not be behind the fence this weekend.

MXGP Finland 2022, Hyvinkaa, Rider: Prugnieres

The rookies of the Fantic Factory Team Maddii and the VRT KTM Factory Juniors

With Osterhagen, for me, the rider who could challenge Bonacorsi for the EMX250 title, sidelined due to injury, the responsibility of representing the award-winning Italian team on track will fall to rookies Cas Valk and Alexis Fueri. The former makes his debut as a brand new 125cc European Champion, he was the most regular in a season in which he knew how to capitalize on the mistakes of his greatest rivals such as Van Erp, Karlis Reisulis or Fueri himself. Both will ride a motorcycle that has more than demonstrated its competitiveness in the category, the Fantic 250 2t. We will have to wait a few rounds to see what they can aspire to, although I don’t see them at the level of Bonacorsi or Prugnieres.

VRT KTM Factory Juniors Ferruchio Zanchi and Marc-Antoine Rossi start in the same group as Valk and Fueri. Leading 125cc riders making their 250cc debut this year. The two are not lacking in speed and style either, but they will have to work to limit the mistakes that have limited their potential in the 125cc, where the results have not reflected their true talents.

Teutschenthal, 2022, Rider: Valk

Experience and speed on BT Husqvarna with Maxime Grau and Kay Karssemakers

Two seasons plagued by injuries and the Epstein-Barr virus and his time with Nestaan ​​Husqvarna, who signed him as a future rider for the MX2 team, is over. Maxime Grau has moved to the BT team, where he will continue to ride a Husqvarna. Last year he achieved two podiums.

After the dissolution of the Hitachi KTM Fueled by Milwaukee, the young Dutch promise Kay Karssemakers was left without a place in the MX2 World Championship. She was able to end up on the BT Husqvarna, a competitive motorcycle with which she will try to demonstrate her potential with a view to a future return to the MX2 class.

MXGP of Czech Republic, 2022, Rider: Maxime Grau

Spanish pilots

I think that this year all the Spanish riders that we will have the opportunity to see will be in front. Samuel Nilsson, that finally it will be in Riola, has had to work against the clock to reach the opening round of the Championship on time. It will be a matter of adding as many points as possible this weekend, and in three weeks, going for the podiums and victories to which he clearly showed that he aspires with the impressive level that he exhibited at the start of the Nacional. For me he is one of the clear favorites for experience, speed and maturity. His partner in the RFME MX Junior Team, Gerard Congost, yes it is low for the sand of Sardinia, but once recovered, he has already shown on numerous occasions in the European competition that he has the ability to fight in the front end.

Samuel Nilsson in Montearagón, 1st round of the 2023 MX National

Edgar Canet He will do the entire Championship with the Jezyk team. Judging by his performances so far in the Spanish Championship, it would seem that the 250cc suits him wonderfully and that he is in a state of plethoric form. Although the layout of Riola Sardo is surely not the ideal one to start the Championship, his will surely be a name that as the contest progresses, we will see more and more above the classification. The Top 10 is a reality for him.

It is also very likely that we will see the current leader of the Spanish MX2 Championship in some races, Victor Alonso, by the way, protagonist in our latest issue of Onboard Magazine. The races in which he may be, I see him among the top ten and, if the starts are good, among the Top 5.

The surprise came these last hours with the presence of Fran Carbonero together with the RFME MX Junior Team for this opening event, in which he will replace Gerard Congost. we have talked to him about his situation and what happened with his previous team, KTM SB Racing, from whom he has since been cut off.

Other drivers to watch out for

  • Valerio Lata: After a 2021 in which he won the 125cc European Championship, the 2022 season did not go as he probably expected. He alternated the EMX250 with the MX2 World Championship with the Marchetti Racing Team, but the results did not come in either case. For this reason, it may go a little unnoticed arriving in Riola this season. Now enrolled in the Beddini KTM Racing Team, he hopes to pick up the pace and get back to the front ranks.
  • Meico Vettik: After moving to the 250cc, the first year he was far from expectations, he did not adapt to the 4-stroke, and last year, returning to the 2-stroke, he substantially improved his results, although he did not consolidate in the Top 10. We will see. if you can put all the puzzle pieces together now with your new TM.
  • Max Palson: he finished his 125cc stint by winning the last round of the EMX125 in 2020, but since then, he hasn’t been able to replicate that season’s speed riding the 250cc first on Beddini KTM (2021) and then on Schmicker KTM (2022). . In 2023 he has signed for Kosak in the EMX250, also on KTM machinery, we will see if he can return to the best version of him.
  • Dave Kooiker and Cato Nickel on the WZ KTM: the first one came from the Hutten Metaal Yamaha, very good on sand but inconsistent on hard. He is still very young, only 16 years old, but we will not have him from the game in Riola because he was injured in preseason here in Spain and we will still have to wait to formalize his return. Nickel already has experience in the series and this should be a solid year for him.
  • Pietro Razini: something missing during the last two seasons, in 2020 he was one of the great entertainers of the EMX125. One of his strong points are the starts, and now on a Kawasaki from the Scoccia Racing Team, he will seek to get closer to the positions of honor again.
Meico Vettik with his new team

In broad strokes, these should be the names we see at the top of the EMX250 rankings. As we always say, the grace of this category lies precisely in the fact that time ends up placing someone who escapes us today, if so, we will be happy, a sign that the Championship is performing its function, which is none other than that of give visibility to emerging talent looking to gain a foothold on their way to the MX2 World Championship.

We hope that you will join us in this new season, and that you will follow the evolution of these, and the other riders, through the chronicles and results that we will share every weekend here, at MX1Onboard. Live races can be followed on

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