ÖHLINS ADVANCED SUSPENSION TECHNOLOGY:
BACK TO MOTOCROSS!
After a two years stop, in 2010 Öhlins draws up again in the motocross world championship. It does it in it’s way, strong of a solid background and an enviable palmares started in 1978 with the 250 world title, with the Russian KTM factory team Gennady Moiseev, and continued to 2007 with the Frenchman Christophe Pourcel MX2 world title, when the founder of the Swedish factory Kenth Öhlin decided to enlarge his horizon, putting offroad on standby to focus on other branches like road races, where Öhlins leads in MotoGP and Superbike, or other motor markets like automotive and ATV.
To continue the winning tradition from the past, next Mx GP season Öhlins will be beside Yamaha Monster Energy motocross Team, owned by Michele Rinaldi with the riders David Philippaerts (MX1) and Gautier Paulin (MX2), on Yamaha YZ450F and YZ250F respectively.
Johnny Bräster, marketing manager and vice president, explains the matter of the Öhlins’ return in Motocross GP. “It’s a long story, first of all it’s our DNA that’s where we are coming from. When Kenth Öhlin started the industry in 1976 it was offroad. We have been the leading development company offroad until 2003, then we have focused other businesses, like pit bikes, car products, etc., so we didn’t focus on motocross enough and then we lost our momento, our market share. But our own target is to be market leader, that we decided two years ago and we have been working on product development and now we are ready to try to enter in the offroad and motocross market again. And if we really focus on a market it starts with top end racing as the grand prix, and it goes down to aftermarket worldwide”.
Why do you choose Yamaha Monster Energy Factory Team?
“We can say that we choose Michele Rinaldi. We have been working together many years ago and our relationship, together the one with our Italian distributor Giuseppe Andreani, it’s great. Michele is very professional in everything he does in motocross, and we like to work with the most professional as possible”.
The big experience that you got in MotoGP and Superbike is useful for this coming back in motocross? “Yes, of course, because we can share the advanced technology that we got in the street races. We have a group of engineers dedicated technicians and engineers, whom only work with motocross rear shocks and front forks on development and work together with the Öhlins R&D team”.
How are the Öhlins goals coming in motocross? “The first goal is to make products witch suit the Yamaha Monster Energy Factory Team, the second one is to win races and win championships. The third goal is to be riders’ suppliers to more teams in the MX GPs and at the national championships level, worldwide. Regarding the market we have a long term project, from five to ten years, to establish distributors and service centres worldwide where to propose our products, as we keep developing them during the offroad competitions”.
While the products development will continue in Sweden with a dedicated staff, the logistic and racing service will be provided by Andreani Group managed from the former motocross champion Giuseppe Andreani, who is the Italian distributor of the Öhlins products and has a main experience in the motorcycle suspensions branch. Since 1987 his structure attends the most important international competitions, with seven trucks to work in the superbike, motocross, supermoto and enduro paddocks.
KENTH ÖHLIN (Öhlins president and founder)
How did you make the decision to draw up in motocross GPs?
“We were one of the main players in the motocross long time ago, when we started. After that, at the beginning of the nineties we did also the automotive racing market and the road bikes. At the end of the nineties we still were main players in the motocross, but after that we put a lot of focus on other things for the Company to grow worldwide in different products. Five years ago we started to discuss witch direction to take also in motorcycles, in the MX especially, and one year later I took this decision: we invest the money we need to be on the top again, but we know this is going to take several years. It took us one more extra year, as we expected from the beginning. Now I feel that we have reached a level that we can be proud of, and I think that we are back at the level that we can beat the rest of the market”.
It’s not a big surprise that you join Yamaha Monster Energy Motocross Team.
“We are really proud to come back to Rinaldi again, it’s one of the most professional racing team in motocross. I’ve been worked with him a lot in the past, I’m very proud that we have reached great results together and we are going to continue. For sure is not possible to be so dominant like we are in the MotoGP and Superbike, but our target is wanting to be one of the main player in motocross in a couple of years. We started with the best knowhow and we have good products to sell. I think, with the after market products we see today, extremely good. We now have the factory team to work with us to develop the next generation of products, and we have the after market products to satisfy clients. We know that motocross is tough, and will not easy to reach where we are today in others sports, but we like challenge and we will do our best effort to be in front”.
MICHELE RINALDI (Owner Yamaha Monster Energy Mx Team)
How did the Öhlins choice come?
“From a technical point of view we always try to improve, so we rely upon consolidate Öhlins tradition, that offers services and technology on top of world level confirmed from their results in motorcycling competitions. It has been a considered choice, sprung from accurate test done in various sessions that have confirmed the high quality and the performances offered by the Öhlins products”.
This partnership between Michele Rinaldi and Öhlins is not new at all.
“Actually it begun in ’92, when I started my co-operation in motocross with Yamaha. They have been five very satisfying years, during whose we won the 250 world title in ’92 with Donnie Schmit and the 125 world title in ’94 with Bob Moore. The basis are good, then, and we intend to repeat our performances also with this renewed partnership”.
DAVID PHILIPPAERTS (2008 MX1 World Champion)
David how are your sensation of riding after trying your Yamaha YZ450F equipped with Öhlins front forks and rear shock?
“The feeling has been very good from the first laps, the new Öhlins equipment allowed me to feel real good on the bike. The forks flow well on the small roughness, and they are very progressive on bigger holes and on jump landing. But, most of all, on corners they made my Yamaha quicker and allowed me of being faster”.
What about the rear shock?
“It’s very good as well. It makes the rear end very steady, especially on the corner exits were the traction is sensibly superior. We tested the bike on different tracks and I always felt good, on any kind of ground”.
2009 Öhlins MotoGP riders
Fiat Yamaha MotoGP
Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo
Ducati Marlboro MotoGP
Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden
Repsol Honda MotoGP
Pramac Racing MotoGP
Niccolo Canepa, Mika Kallio
Tech3 Yamaha MotoGP
Colin Edwards, James Toseland
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
Loris Capirossi, Chris Vermeulen
2009 Öhlins WSBK riders
Ben Spies, Tommy Sykes
BMW Motorrad Team Alpha Racing WSB
Troy Corser, Ruben Xaus
HANNspree Honda Althea WSB
Aprilia Racing WSB
Max Biaggi, Shinya Nakano
Ducati Xerox WSB
Noriyuki Haga, Michel Fabrizio