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Retired F1 Star Kimi Raikkonen Takes Over as Head of Kawasaki’s MXGP Factory Team

If you follow four-wheel racing, you know the name Kimi Raikkonen. The last driver to win an F1 championship for Ferrari, the “Iceman” raced over a decade, and for several teams in F1. Did you know his great passion is motocross?

Having previously run a private MX team with former GP racer Antti Pyrhonen, Raikkonen has been selected by the Kawasaki Factory to serve as Team Principal of its Factory MXGP effort this year. Pyrhonen will serve as Team Manager with the riders including former World champ Romain Febvre and Ben Watson.

Kawasaki didn’t choose Raikkonen for his fame, or his dry sense of humor (which is legendary). Raikkonen is dead serious about motocross, and has provided the following comments on his new role with the green team:

“It’s no secret that motocross has been my great passion for many years, but this team isn’t what you would call my hobby. We take it far too seriously for that. We strive for excellence. After my retirement from active racing, I will take care of the team’s strategic issues in the future. We are very happy that Kawasaki chose us as a factory team. I know that the chances of success are greater with direct factory support. It will be a great opportunity for us to compete as the new Kawasaki factory team in MXGP.”


  1. Guu says:

    “Having previously run a private MX team”

    Years ago on Kawasakis. For quite a while they have been Husqvarna’s factory team.

  2. Doc Sarvis says:

    Lot of commenters who find racing boring but typing exciting.

  3. Marcus says:

    I agree. Watching motocross nowadays is as boring as f.

  4. Mick says:

    I used to enjoy checking out the MXGP scene, before it went four stroke. The tracks are old school and test the rider’s ability to deal with corners and natural features. Even at the time the four stroke rules destroyed US motocross it had become all about the jumps. Corners were seen as a way to pack jumps into given geographic area. Recently they even had an event that was a drag race over a long series of jumps arranged in a straight line. To me the US sport is less about racing one another and more about providing a spectical for people to watch. Having riden motocross in the US during the evolution from MXGP style tracks to the current US jump farms, I found the tracks less and less fun to ride. Maybe Unadilla might still provide a few grins. But it is the exception that proves the rule.

    Imagine an F1 event with nothing but a long straight stretch of bad road to give the fans an opportunity to watch as all the pretty titanium sparks fly off the cars as the drivers get pummeled trying to keep it together as the car gets pitched to and fro. Not my thing. Watching people be hard on the equipment.

    • L. Ron Jeremy says:

      Not to worry, there are no RedBull straight rhythm races scheduled for 2022.

    • TimC says:

      I quit reading once I realized after the first sentence that this was yet another treatise on “if it’s not two stroke it’s crap”

    • Dave says:

      You’re so out of touch, you don’t know you’re out of touch. Many MXGP tracks these days are smaller then you probably remember, some built on small, flat plots on the edges of industrial areas, I was excited when my cable network picked up MXGP but I don’t think I’ve managed to watch a whole race. Some of the tracks are silly and there’s only a few good riders.

      The AMA series visits tracks that have been yearly stops for 40 years and longer. The “newer” tracks are big, sweeping tracks with lots of terrain. Not a single one would qualify as a “jump farm”. Glen Helen, Washougal, Spring Creek, High Point, Budds Creek, Southwick, and others. All epic tracks.

      The talent pool is also deeper. Numerous guys able to win on a given weekend.

      It’s too bad for you. You’ve been missing out on the best MX racing that has ever happened in the history of the sport.

      • Mick says:

        Are you arguing that the tracks that you mentioned have remained unchanged over the years?

        I have no problem being “out of touch” and remaining so for the remainder of my hot laps around the sun. Racing is an ad campaign used to develop and sell equipment. I have no interest in the equipment that they are currently trying to sell. I’ll be back if that changes.

        • Dave says:

          No, all of them have changed some but none have become what you say. They still have almost all of the same corners as they always did. They still rut up and change throughout the day. As you openly admit, you haven’t been paying attention since 2-strokes died out so I am confused by how you would’ve come under the impression that they’re nothing buy straightaways and jumps, as though they’d bulldoze thousands of acres flat to do it.

          While investment in racing is driven by marketing, it doesn’t change the reason the racers race. If you’d bother to watch you’d plainly see what I’ve told you, that MX racing has never been any better than it is now, assuming you can let go of your nostalgia and see it.

          • Mick says:

            I don’t live under a stump. My buds gather and watch the stuff. I see it once in a while. I really don’t think it has improved at all.

            And I am not nostalgic. I own and race two strokes because they are still, and ever shall be, true race machines. No ad campaign will ever change that in the least.

            Dig events like Erzberg. There are plenty of four strokes entering. Few ever even finish the course. They are obsolete. The current motocross series is the true nostalgic rule set in action. Dito MotoGP. Allow comesurate displacement two strokes like these series traditionally had and things would quickly be as they once were. Only the displacements in the classes would have changed.

            These series are based on lies. Why should I support them in any way? It’s a sin.

    • Marcus says:

      I agree, watching motorcross nowadays is as boring as f.

    • dt-175 says:

      yeah! and JMB would eat webb and plessenger for breakfast on a croissant too!!!

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