Written by Reef Parker, Edited by Sean McKean
The 73rd annual motorcycle Grand Prix weekend at the ‘Cathedral of Speed,’, Assen, concluded with ‘Dixon Delight’ in the Moto2 class.
Jake Dixon superbly took command of the intermediate class, on the Sunday afternoon. The 27 year-old used Assen’s iconic fast- sweeping lines as his proving ground, before gliding to his first Grand Prix victory at the Dutch Tourist Trophy event. The monumental achievement follows on from fellow Briton Sam Lowes’ success at Jerez, in April. This win for Dixon will have definitely come as a wake-up call for the rest of the paddock, as potentially a surprise title charge could be on the cards going into the second half of the season. It begs the question: Is Dixon Britain's next MotoGP hopeful?
Dixon's arrival to victory on Sunday is bound to have caused shockwaves throughout the Mecca of motorcycle Grand Prix racing. With Team Principals surely taking notice, Dixon's great run of form certainly gives them something to think about for next season's ongoing contract negotiations.
The Brit’s win couldn't have happened at a more perfect time due to the MotoGP summer break coming directly after the Assen weekend, giving team principals six weeks to consider Dixon as a candidate for a ride in the midst of MotoGP ‘silly season.’. Having shown consistency in the past with eight rostrum finishes in his Moto2 career, breaking through and winning inside what many call the hardest motorcycle class in the world, really highlights the talent that Dixon has.
Although, success didn’t come to Dixon naturally., It’s well documented that the Dover man struggled to adapt to Grand Prix tracks from the ‘classic’, tight and undulating British tracks he was familiar with, racing on from his time in the British Superbikes paddock. Through heartbreak such as crashing out from the lead in Le Mans in 2020, to now, Dixon’s development has been spectacular to watch and has certainly not gone unnoticed by the top officials inside MotoGP.
The coming weeks are crucial for the trajectory of Dixon's career. Once the six-week summer break comes to an end, the second half of the season kicks off with Dixon’s home round at the British Grand Prix. With it being on familiar asphalt, you’d have to think Dixon will try to carry on his good run of form and go for Grand Prix triumph once again, but this time on home soil. Two wins in succession, inside a fiercely competitive field, against the likes of wonder kid Pedro Acosta, would really catapult Dixon into Stardom and put him directly in the shop window for a MotoGP ride next year. But, the question is, who and where could this ride realistically be?
The MotoGP grid is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, it’s the place that every aspiring motorcycle rider dreams to go. Very few Brits succeed, however, Dixon is the UK’s most promising talent as of now. With this, having a British rider in a MotoGP team would bring in a new demographic of British eyes onto the championship. Taking that into account, it would be in Dorna's interest to find a seat for Dixon. An obvious place to start would be the Tech 3 GASGAS team that is currently occupied by 2022 Moto2 World Champion, Augusto Fernandez and the injured Pol Espargaro.
Sharing the same colours, Dixon’s Aspar Moto2 team and the Tech3 MotoGP team would seem like the perfect feeder team for Dixon to dip his toe into MotoGP. With rookie Fernandez having had a series of consistent point scoring rides this year, on a package that is towards the bottom end of performance on the grid, I’d argue he’s done enough to keep his ride for 2024. However, questions may be asked about Espargaro's future in the class. Espargaro has been a familiar face on the grid for coming up to a decade now, and he has certainly had opportunities to prove his worth in MotoGP, however he has been unable to capitalise and produce a winning campaign. Struck with terrible luck at the start of the season in a practice session in Portimao, round one, Espargaro has unfortunately not turned any laps aboard his GASGAS machine, this year. It is possible that Tech3 Principal, Herve Poncharal, wants a change of pilot and some new breed injected into the garage.
Another option for Dixon’s shot at MotoGP could be with the factory Yamaha team. Having provided lacklustre finish after lacklustre finish in his two-season tenure with the team, it’s looking all but certain that Franco Morbidelli will be parting ways with the Japanese manufacturer at the end of the season. With nothing officially confirmed for next year by team director Lin Jarvis, could Dixon take advantage of his recent form, and ink a highly sought-after deal with the factory team?
This may not be Dixon's only opportunity with a Yamaha. Having lost their satellite team at the end of the 2022 season, Yamaha will surely be looking to get a second team back on the grid for 2024 or 2025. Yamaha’s lack of a satellite team has been detrimental to the factory team's struggles this year, as they’ve missed out on invaluable testing and development. If Yamaha chose to put Dixon on a satellite bike in 2024 or 2025, he’d provide a blank slate, giving room for the bike and rider alike to grow simultaneously, into a potentially fruitful partnership.
Another option Dixon may want to consider is staying in Moto2 for another season. In the past, Dixon has shown exemplary acts of consistency and race management throughout a season; however, race wins were something that he hadn’t shown he could do at a world level. Now that he has, no doubt he will have taken confidence from it, and will be able to build off of it. After all, they do say racing is 90% ‘mental’. Alongside the consistency, he’s previously shown and, now with the ability to win races, next year Dixon would no doubt be a front-runner for the intermediate class championship. This could seriously be the better option for Dixon, as it would give him another year of Grand Prix experience, and the possibility of achieving his dream of becoming a World Champion, and when contract negotiations for 2025 begin, Dixon has more leverage, so a better package and more lucrative deal can be offered.
Whatever the future holds for Jake Dixon, he is certainly on the brink of stardom, and is Britain's brightest prospect!