Spanish champion Jonathan Barragan will go from green to red in 2012 with LS Honda, replacing Shaun Simpson.
The 26-year old is Spain’s greatest ever motocross hero. Jonathan has 6 MX1 GP wins under his belt and boasts 3 Spanish MX1 titles, he collected two podium finishes and finished the GP season eighth overall. Belgian star Ken De Dycker, 27, will be back on the CRF450R for another assault on the pinnacle of motocross racing. Ken is a former German and British MX1 champ who previously racked up 5 MX1 GP victories. With De Dycker and Barragan the Honda Europe supported squad of team owner Steven Lettani presents their strongest rider line up ever!
The formidable combination between the Belgian outfit and Honda will enter its fourth season in the MX1-GP class. Providing two hungry riders with the best possible tools LS Honda Racing is determined to add some more silverware to their trophy cabinet in 2012. Jonathan Barragan previously proved to be a serious title contender, while ‘Keeno’ finished as high as 3rd in the World Championship three years ago.
With Steven Lettani again at the helm as team manager, LS Honda prides itself on its family atmosphere, passionate professionals under the awning and dedicated partners. Having finished third in the World Championship two years ago, and after winning GP’s in 2009 and 2010, the current season failed to live up to the high standards of the team. Both team riders, Ken De Dycker and Shaun Simpson, endured a tough year. Still Simpson managed to claim the Belgian MX1 title, the third consecutive accolade for LS Honda Racing after Clément Desalle’s 2009 Belgian crown and Davide Guarneri’s 2010 Italian title. Barragan and De Dycker have the speed and experience to regain their positions among the fastest riders in the world. Paired with Honda’s highly effective CRF450R Jonathan and Ken could be causing more than a few surprises.
Jonathan Barragan: “I believe that in racing you’re only as good as your last race. Last year I had my thigh injury and 2011 was okay, but it didn’t bring the results I know I wanted. I don’t want to dwell on 2008 and 2009 when I was very fast. In fact, it’s the other way around: I’m looking forward and I’m ready to rebuild. Going back to a young and ambitious team might look like taking a step back for a factory rider but I’m fine with that. This is not about ego, it’s about getting results. As a kid I was looking up to Honda riders like Jeremy McGrath and Stefan Everts, so it’s great finally to ride red! I was looking for a new motivation in my career, and LS Honda perfectly compliments my feeling. We share the same goals. Next season I want to make a point in GP’s and defend my Spanish MX1 title.”
Ken De Dycker: “I’m very happy to continue with LS Honda Racing for several reasons. The 2011 season is one to forget as quickly as possible. I had some unlucky injuries and I got sidelined after the Czech GP. After that all of my focus shifted to the new season. We have been testing some new parts and I made a strong comeback to racing at the final Belgian championship round in Mont-Saint Guibert. It felt really good to win again, enjoy myself and to know that I can get back to my very best level. I’m willing to put in the hard work and so is the team. We’ve learned from each other and it’s inspiring to have that continuity that I didn’t have in the past seasons.”
Steven Lettani, team-owner and manager of LS Honda Racing: “I’m really thrilled to go racing with Ken De Dycker and Jonathan Barragan next year. There’s no doubt about Ken’s qualities, although he was not able to perform like we wanted this season. We are looking forward to adjust our approach in order to untap the big potential of this big guy. For us it was important to have two strong riders, at least top-10 guys, so to sign Jonathan Barragan was even better! We know what Jonathan can do and I know how the team and our CRF450R can help him to shine. Jonathan is a no-nonsense guy, he has a great work ethic and signalled he wanted to work with us quite early on, that’s the best possible motivation for everyone. I would like to express my gratitude to the managers of both riders for their positive contributions during our negotiations. Last but not least thanks to Honda and our valued partners for their continued support.”
Roger Harvey: Honda Motor Europe Off-road Racing Manager: “We are pleased to continue with LS Honda Racing as our support team in the FIM MX1 World Championship. It’s great to have Ken with us again, because I’m sure that with a little more luck he can be where we expect him to be; quite at the front of GP action. To see Jonathan on Honda will be very interesting. Clearly he struggled a little bit this year. I believe that he can turn this around and produce the results that he and LS Honda Racing are capable of. Jonathan is no rookie obviously, but still he could be one of the surprise packages of the 2012 season!”