Josep Garcia switches back to E1 for 2023 EnduroGP World Championship
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia will switch back to Enduro 1 class and the KTM 250 EXC-F he has for the 2023 FIM EnduroGP World Championship.
The two-time E2 World Champion has successfully raced KTM’s 350 EXC-F since returning to the series in 2021. As KTM point out in today’s announcement, Josep also collected the outright ISDE wins on consecutive years along the way on the 350.
But though the scratch win was a highlight of 2022 for Josep, the overall enduro world title eludes the Spaniard still and last year a crash at the GP of Italy hit his chances and he finished runner-up in both E2 and EGP overall.
“The decision to move from E2 to the Enduro1 class was made by both KTM and me.” Explains Josep. “It’s always good to set new goals, and with a new bike for 2023, it made sense to ride the KTM 250 EXC-F for new motivation and a new challenge in the E1 class. Last year was an incredible year for me riding the KTM 350 EXC-F – I finished as runner-up in EnduroGP and Enduro2, I won the individual ISDE, and completed the year as Spanish Champion.
“The injury in Italy cost me the fight for the world title, but thankfully I was able to come back and still finish the year on a high. For me, I’m just looking to mix things up a little for this year. The 250 really suits my riding style and I know I can make it work in the world championship as well as the other events throughout the year.
“The 2023 season will also be my seventh year with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, which is great. It shows how well the relationship works between me and Fabio and the whole of the factory team. I’m hoping 2023 will be another great year for us and I’m definitely going to be fighting hard to claim that EnduroGP title.”
World Champion Verona on a 350 in E2?
This naturally leads to the fact 2022 EnduroGP World Champion Andrea Verona will move up a class to the GASGAS 350 four-stroke and race in E2 class. The Italian and his GASGAS Factory Racing team, effectively form part of the same squad and the Austrian manufacturer tends to want riders on different models (and classes) to maximise their winning potential – although in 2023 there will be no official Husqvarna Factory Racing team in the EnduroGP paddock as there was last year with Mikael Persson.
As the highest ranked rider in 2022, Verona will likely have had the first choice on which class to race and the Italian has certainly done his time in E1 having taken back-to-back titles as well as the overall crown last year.
What Verona hasn’t done, and where he has been found wanting in the last two years, is at the ISDE where less horses can be an issue.
With the ISDE being in South America in 2023, in Argentina, the tests are expected to be faster again than the last two in Italy and France meaning the bigger bikes could potentially hold the advantage.
Photo Credit: Future7Media