Following a career predominantly spent racing Hondas for Dave Thorpe, 22-year-old Josh Gilbert will be chasing his GP dream next season on the PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna team.
“It happened so quickly,” said Josh. “We had been speaking a little bit but it all happened within the space of seven days.
“Dave could only offer me an MX Nationals and British championship deal and it felt like I was taking a bit of a backwards step so when this deal came up I was a bit shocked because it’s pretty much everything I wanted. I would have been silly to have turned it down.”
After 2020 Josh will be too old to race MX2 GPs so it will be his last chance to contest the world championship on a 250 and his initial plans are to race all the European rounds along with the MXGP of Argentina.
“To start with I’d like to consistently score top 20 results, which I think I’m more than capable of and then break into the top 15 – it would be nice to get some top 10 finishes.
“I’ve only done about an hour-and-a-half on the Husqvarna because the weather has been shocking but the pre-season plans sound good and we’ll definitely be doing Spain and it looks as though we’ll be testing tyres with Michelin at the end of this month and also heading to France before Christmas.
“We’ve also spoken about going to Sardinia which I think is an amazing place for pre-season practising.”
Josh, who will be team-mates with Joel Rizzi, Nathan Dixon (and just announced, Evgeny Bobryshev), will also be racing the British championship and after finishing second in 2018 and third this year he’s hoping GPs will help him pick up the pace.
“My goal is to be #1 – I’ve had second and third now for the last two years. GP riders always seem to have a little edge when they come to ride the British championship and that’s through doing the longer races and being around the faster riders. Hopefully, with doing the GPs next year I can come back to Britain and have the edge over the others.”
Team manager Neil Prince is looking forward to a successful season. “I am really happy that Husqvarna Motorcycles UK have stepped up to help us for 2020. I have wanted to work with the brand for a number of years now and it feels good to finally be able too.
“I became more involved with the team during last season and will continue to be involved with that and being a mentor to Joel Rizzi. For 2020 we have also signed Josh Gilbert. I watched him all last year and we believe we can drive and work with him to earn the championship results he deserves.”