Former 250 World Champion and AMA 250 East Supercross champion Ben Townley will replace Clement Desalle at Team Suzuki for the 2016 MXGP season. Desalle left Suzuki to take a kawasaki ride. The 30-year-old Townley retried from AMA and FIM racing several years ago, after a series of unfortunate injuries. Ben has raced on and off in New Zealand and Australia, but not for a full series. This year Ben elected to race for the New Zealand MXDN team and did the Glen Helen USGP before going to the MXDN in Ernee, France—where he was very impressive.
Ben said, “I retired two and a half years ago and had no intention of racing again, but the desire to do it came back over the last six months and when this chance to ride for Suzuki and work with the people there came about I knew straight away it was the right opportunity to be world champion again. Joining Suzuki is about many factors: the personnel, the team, the professionalism and of course the RM-Z450. It is everything that I need to be competitive. Being with Suzuki ticks every box in my opinion and leaves no question marks. In my mind it is the right choice.”
Townley will have to race 19 Grands Prix that start in February and end in September. “It’s not totally confirmed yet and we are discussing timing now, but I’ll be over in early January. The season starts much earlier now than when I was racing Grands Prix before so we’ll need to get ready. I began training for the Motocross of Nations and never really stopped. It is about getting down to the nuts and bolts of it for me now.”