After narrowly missing the premier MXGP World title at the final round in 2021, Romain Febvre and the Kawasaki Racing Team anticipated another realistic shot at the crown this year until an off-season leg injury tragically kept the Frenchman out of action during the first half of the campaign.
His unstinting resolve, and the care and support of both KRT and Kawasaki, saw him return to racing spectacularly for the final eight GPs of the summer as he finished top-four on five occasions, culminating with a moto victory and a podium at the final round in Turkey to head into the winter-break more motivated than ever for a return to the forefront of the action in 2023. His team mate, Ben Watson placed just outside the top ten at season end posting 12th place in the rankings.
Both Kawasaki teams in the MX2 World series faced a new start this year as Norwegian Kevin Horgmo made the step up to GP racing from EMX with the F&H Kawasaki Racing Team, while Dane Mikkel Haarup joined DRT Big Van World MTX Kawasaki. Each of the youngsters stood on the podium during the season – Horgmo in Latvia and Haarup on no less than four occasions in Argentina, Portugal, Trentino and Germany. The Norwegian maintained the momentum to the end of the campaign to secure fourth place in the final series standings. Haarup looked set to join him in the top-six but he was cruelly robbed of the distinction at the end after suffering a Covid infection in the run-up to the series finale. Both youngsters will return with renewed optimism and another year’s experience, their sights focused on World medals in 2023.
Kawasaki’s three-times WMX World Ladies’ champion Courtney Duncan was again the woman to beat in 2022 but a collarbone injury at round two of the short five-race series robbed her of a potential fourth consecutive title. The disappointment did not keep the New Zealander down for long however and she returned to action successfully in the final two rounds, emerging victorious each time to take her career record in Lime Green to twelve victories from nineteen starts.
Belgium’s Amandine Verstappen added further success in WMX by repeating her sixth placing in the series as well as pushing hard for the French title for 9MM Energy Drink BUD Racing Kawasaki. The French team could also point to a further fine development as their teenage protegy Quentin Marc Prugnières, one of the youngest riders in the class, advanced to fifth in the EMX250 European Championship – the feed-class for MX2 GPs.
Antti Pyrhönen – Team Manager – KRT (Kawasaki Racing Team)
„2022 was challenging, but we took all our challenges on in a positive way. Foremost we needed to overcome the serious injury of Romain and, for sure, we missed him and his impact during the first half of the season. For Ben it was a sometimes lonely and tough journey so big respect to him for digging in as the lone KRT rider at many events.
It has been very rewarding to work with Kawasaki and to work alongside them professionally for the first time. We believe our team has the right staff and structure plus support package from Kawasaki and our loyal sponsors to battle for wins!
Now we will work, work, work and focus to improve the team further and we are very excited to pick up the ball for 2023 to achieve the results we know KRT is capable of“.
Nathalie Fasé – Team Manager F&H Kawasaki Racing
„Now we are able to reflect on a great season together with Kawasaki. Being able to finish with Kevin fourth in the World Championship in his first full MX2 year is obviously great, but we are hungry for more next season together.
We achieved a rewarding podium this season, many holeshots, led several races and recorded many top four results. Now we look torward a good winter together, and we are very excited to start our training programme with our other new riders. 2023 already promises to be a great new year as a team!“
Steve Dixon – Team Manager – DRT Big Van World MTX Kawasaki
„We came into the 2022 season hoping to add another World title to the three consecutive titles Courtney has won on the KX 250 and also to bring Mikkel to the sharp end of the results with podiums.
Whilst Courtney was out with an injured collarbone for two rounds she still showed everyone who’s the boss with back to back wins aboard her KX250 on her eventual return to racing. Mikkel achieved four podiums, some holeshots, fastest laps and great style and speed with his KX250 in MX2.“
Steve Guttridge – Kawasaki Motors Europe - Race Planning Manager
„2022 was for sure a building season in MX. A brand-new KRT structure for MXGP brought lots of challenges, but Romain’s climb back to fitness from such a heavy injury to make the podium in Turkey with a race win was phenomenal. Our MX2 focus on one rider per two teams worked really well with Kevin moving up from EMX2 and immediately challenging for podiums. His final fourth in the World MX2 Standings is a credit to both him and our F&H Kawasaki Racing team. Mikkel at DRT created a very strong combination with multiple fastest laps, holeshots and podiums over the season. Also, within DRT, our multiple Champ in WMX, Courtney, won in Spain and Turkey to end the 2022 season on a high despite earlier injury side-lining her. We are also super proud of our French based EMX2 and WMX team, Bud Racing, whose riders; Quinten, Eddie and Amandine put their KX250’s at the front of the pack week in and week out. Roll on 2023!“