Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe's Harri Kullas and Petar Petrov will again be joined by rising Spanish star Jorge Zaragoza this weekend as the third round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship will also entertain the second of seven races in the EMX125 European Motocross Championship.
The compliment of two factory-backed RM-Z250s will be joined by the fettled RM125 under the distinctive yellow awning as the team rolls across the many steep but small hills on the Adriatic coast to the Fermo circuit for the Grand Prix of Italy.
Fermo hosts a stop on the FIM schedule for the third time in three years and presents the German squad with their second hard-pack terrain in the space of a week after the fast dirt found at Sevlievo in Bulgaria last weekend. It was at that meeting where Kullas shone in the first moto to capture fifth position and score sixth overall to indicate that his recent physical problems are starting to clear. The Finn missed the trip to Italy last season through injury and picked up 13th place in 2010. "I think Fermo was really hard in 2010," he said. "It was tough to deal with. I couldn't race in 2011 but from the TV pictures it looked a lot better. I think if it is graded and they water it well then it will get rougher, more technical and better."
Petrov will move into a more 'normal' race scenario after all the attention and expectation at his home Grand Prix and the Bulgarian is also on the road back to full fitness after his pre-season crash one week before the season opener in Holland over Easter weekend. "I'm not a great fan of Fermo but I hope to do better than in Bulgaria," said Petrov who placed 14th at Sevlievo. "I still needed to take painkillers during the warm-up in Sevlievo and my aim is to be fitter for Italy and not need the medication. We will see."
For Zaragoza, Bulgaria was a chance to begin easing the hype around his debut and emergence and show his potential on the track with two very encouraging performances in the busy 125cc two-stroke class. A first podium and third position in the Championship standings is a solid place to kick-on for the rest of the series and the characteristics of Fermo are bound to be to the 15-year-old Valencian's liking.
The typical Italian hard-pack was a special surface to deal with in 2010 but the reforms made to the ground for 2011 provided a different experience and required a slightly alternative approach. The jump-laden course winds up and down the side of a steep hill opposite the town. It is picturesque and almost unique for its geographical setting. The weather forecast for the weekend points to good temperatures (mid twenties) and sunny skies.
MX2 World Championship standings (after 2 of 16 rounds): 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 94 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 87 p.; 3. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 85 p.; 4. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 74 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 57 p.; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 51 p.; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 48 p.; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 48 p.; 9. Harri Kullas (FIN, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 43 p.; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 38 p.; 13. Petar Petrov (BUL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 24 p.
European EMX125 Overall result (after 1 of 7 rounds): 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, KTM), 50 points; 2. Davide Bonini (ITA, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Jorge Zaragoza Beltran (ESP, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 35 p.; 4. Henry Jacobi (GER, KTM), 34 p.; 5. Anton Lundgren (SWE, KTM), 32 p.