Press releases keep coming in, team introductions keep happening, and photo galleries keep uploading. The teams are loading up for 2022 and we’ve officially gone from low season to preseason. The horsemen dig, and Anaheim — yes, Anaheim — arrives.
So it’s time to start the bench races. Here is 2022 and with it the classic #deepfield tour and that feeling of the great unknown. Anyone can win, right? Well not really. It never happens that way. But these feelings of parity and uncertainty in the first round race are exciting, and we are going to celebrate them.
Here are the key scenarios for 2022. There are so many that we’re going to split that into two parts, so there’s a lot more to come.
Eli Tomac at Yamaha: Let me be careful with my words: the most frequently asked question in Anaheim will simply be, “How do you think Eli will do on the Yamaha?” “
A big name making a big team change is a classic off-season scenario, but this one is different. Veteran champions switch teams for a change of scenery or another big payday, but Eli is adamant he made the change to satisfy competitive curiosity. Kawasaki made him an offer to come back. It was the safest route. But what if there was something even better out there? This is the bet he takes. Eli knows this isn’t a guarantee, but he didn’t want to end his career wondering. Now that prospect looks better as Star Racing has seen success with their 450 business. Last December, no way anyone thinks a Monster Energy / Star Racing YZ450F could be better than a Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450 in supercross. Now? Well, at least that’s up for debate.
Star has proven that his philosophies can be successfully translated into the 450 class. But can Tomac really take a step forward at this point in his career? Can we really do better than the Kawi factory unit, which has enjoyed almost uninterrupted success for about thirty years? We’re just happy that Eli is trying to find out, because it creates a fascinating storyline.