Nine-times US champion Ryan Villopoto will contest the FIM MXGP World Championship for the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015, while Jordi Tixier will defend his MX2 world title in Green.
Having won the Monster Energy FIM Supercross world title for the last four years, 26 year old Villopoto, a loyal Kawasaki rider throughout his professional career, will take on the challenge of the world's premier outdoor motocross series with the intention of bringing Kawasaki their first World Championship in the MXGP class; the worldwide series will host 18 rounds on four continents in 2015.
“I am ready for the next chapter in my career and to accomplish new goals,” said Villopoto. “I’ve never been one to look at the record books so when an opportunity like this comes around, to race against the best in the world and represent USA, I have to see it through. It will be a major change of pace and this will be the last chapter of my career win or lose. I am extremely excited about the opportunity and also to be joined by a former champion like Tyla (Rattray). He knows what is needed to succeed on the world championship stage and I know I can learn a lot from him.”
Racing alongside Villopoto for the Kawasaki Racing Team in the MXGP class will be Tyla Rattray; the 28 year old South African won the MX2 world title in 2008 and was a regular race winner during a highly successful career in the USA with Kawasaki.
For Kawasaki Motors Europe, Racing Manager Steve Guttridge commented: “Ryan Villopoto is a truly global motocross star; for fans around the world to see him race on their home tracks will indeed be a privilege. After such dominance in Supercross it is refreshing and characteristically brave to see Ryan take on the world’s best MXGP riders and set his sights on supremacy in this class as well.”
Team owner Thierry Chizat Suzzoni proudly added: "For 2015, we are very excited to welcome Ryan Villopoto and Tyla Rattray into the Kawasaki Racing Team. It’s a fantastic challenge for the team and we are aware that the 2015 championship organized by Youthsteam is going to be very demanding, but our team is very enthusiastic and has ended this season on a high at the Motocross of Nations so we are going to actively prepare with the goal of taking up this challenge. I would like to thank Kawasaki, Monster Energy and all our partners for helping us to make this project become a reality."
MX2 world champion Jordi Tixier, who clinched the title in an epic duel at the final round in Mexico last month, will bolt the number one plate to his KX250F in the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team next season; his teammates will be Dylan Ferrandis and Thomas Covington.
2015 will be Tixier's final season in the MX2 class due to the age limitation ruling and will mark a welcome return to green machinery as he clinched a French junior title on a KX125 during his youth. Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team will focus next season exclusively on the MX2 class with the full support of the Kawasaki factory.
“I’m very happy to have signed with the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team; they approached me during the season and I saw how motivated they were to sign me," explained an enthusiastic Tixier. "It will give me further motivation to defend my World title on a new bike; I know that everyone in the team is motivated and so am I. The team have the support of the Kawasaki factory in Japan; we spoke a lot with the technical staff and I know that they are able to provide us with the best material for every situation.”
The 21 year old will be joined in the team by fellow French youngster Dylan Ferrandis (20) and the 18 year old American talent Thomas Covington. Each of them has already shown his competiveness this season as Ferrandis raced to a career first GP moto victory on his way to fourth in the final standings, while Covington proved his speed with a moto podium on his debut in Qatar in March.
Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki Motors Europe, said: “It's fantastic that Jordi is coming back into the Kawasaki family for 2015 in MX2. I truly hope he can take the final step in his MX2 career and get another World Champion title with Team Green before moving up to the MXGP class in 2016 ! The team has a great line-up of riders again for next season and we are all motivated to give them the very best tools and equipment to win at world level on the KX250F."
Team owner Jean Jacques Luisetti commented: “Of course I'm delighted to have Jordi in the team alongside Dylan Ferrandis and Thomas Covington; we’ll have one of the best line-ups for next season and Jordi will make his first appearance for the team at the Paris-Lille Supercross next month. We will stop our investment in the MXGP class to focus on the competitive MX2 class where we have the full support of the Kawasaki factory and of course from our sponsors who trust in our project.”
Meanwhile, leading the charge in the U.S. for Kawasaki, the team welcomes two former 250 supercross champions as Davi Millsaps and Wil Hahn make their debut on the KX450F.
“We are extremely anxious to begin the 2015 season,” said Dan Fahie, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Manager. “We have big shoes to fill after winning four-straight supercross titles but I could not be more excited to have both Davi and Wil on the team. Both riders have proven to be top contenders in the 450 class and they are just as enthusiastic as we are to get back racing and on top of the box.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki is excited to return to sweeping the podium with a nearly all-new roster for 2015. Adam Cianciarulo returns for his second full year after an astounding rookie showing in 250 East Supercross, winning the first supercross he entered along with two additional wins and five podium finishes in five races. Four-time arenacross champion Tyler Bowers returns to the team for his first full season following special appearances that included a 250SX win at Las Vegas in 2013.
Chris Alldredge will make his supercross debut following impressive top-10 finishes in the last three Pro Motocross nationals along with Arnaud Tonus who will make his U.S. debut after competing in the MX2 World Championship for Kawasaki where he won the 2014 MXGP of Brazil. Rounding out the roster is Joey Savatgy who scored his first professional podium finish in Indiana with second overall.
“We have a fresh crop of riders for the new season, all of which have a lot of potential,” said Mitch Payton, Pro Circuit owner. “We expect Adam and Tyler to hit the ground running, while Alldredge and Tonus will be making their supercross debuts, and Savatgy will be looking for a breakthrough year. I expect nothing but the best from each of these guys every weekend.”
“We have put together a tremendous group of riders for the 2015 season. The championship proven line of KX bikes has allowed us to fill our stable with race winners and champions,” said Reid Nordin, Senior Manager of Racing for Kawasaki Motors Corporation. “Having TwoTwo Motorsports choose Kawasaki is important to us as well. Chad Reid is a proven champion and knows he needs good equipment in order to be competitive and win. We’re also excited to have Hanny return to racing. He came close to winning a championship for us in the past and we believe he has the talent and determination to be competitive.”