Pauls Jonass’ recent advancement to the MXGP class and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MXGP team opened a MX2 spot at Red Bull KTM, a coveted position because it’s one of the top factory support spots in the young division. After a few weeks of speculation as to which rider would be hired by the team, Red Bull KTM has announced that French racer Tom Vialle has inked a deal to transition to the team and MX2 class for 2019.
Vialle is the son of former professional racer Frederic and has spent recent years putting in results through the EMX 250 series both on an independent team and then with LRT KTM, which included one moto win and five podium finishes.
KTM supports two factory level race teams in the MXGP series, one within their own organization run by Dirk Gruebel that fields Jeffrey Herlings and one managed by De Carli Racing with Jorge Prado and Antonio Cairoli. Vialle will be under the factory awning alongside Herlings and will wear Alpinestars gear, SCOTT goggles, and Airoh helmets.
The press release from KTM, including quotes from Vialle and Joel Smets, is posted in full below…
The 18-year-old will join Jorge Prado on the factory KTM 250 SX-F after catching the eye with a moto victory, five top-three race finishes and three podiums in the 2018 EMX250 European Championship. Vialle, son of former Grand Prix rider Frederic, was competing in EMX250 from the confines of his own set-up before drafted into the LRT KTM squad in the latter phase of the season.
Vialle will come under the stewardship of Motocross Manager and five times World Champion Joel Smets and MX2 Team Manager Dirk Gruebel as part of the Red Bull KTM set-up and will fill the awning next to MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings for 2019.
Tests and training with Tom have already begun this month.
Vialle: "I want to thank all the people who have helped make this opportunity with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing possible. It is a great to be joining the best team in the world for my first year in MX2! Being next to champions and race winners like Jeffrey Herlings, Tony Cairoli and Jorge Prado doesn’t bother me because I know it is a perfect chance to be learning from the fastest. I cannot wait to get started and to progress as much as I can."
Joel Smets, Red Bull KTM Motocross Manager: "We keep a close watch on the EMX125 and 250 series' and to see who might be the next outstanding talent to come through in the way Jeffrey and Jorge have in the last years. We felt that Tom was one of the brightest from that EMX250 'pool' this season. We initially spent two days working together and I was convinced that this kid has potential both with his technical skills and bike handling as well as his physical possibilities to show us something special. A factory ride is just the start 'of the journey' but we're excited about what we could see in 2019 with Tom as part of the team."