France will be intent on gaining their fourth consecutive win in the Moto-X Des Nations International team event at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, today, but they have needed to re-jig their three-man team following injuries to Dylan Ferrandis and Benoit Paturel.
The unranked Christophe Charlier is now expected to be in the line-up, alongside former 500cc world champion Romain Febvre and Gautier Paulin.
At least 17 countries are contesting the blue riband event, and the Netherlands, who lost out to France in last year’s meeting, look likely to be the champions’ main rivals again with World No.2 Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff and Brian Bogers in their ranks.
Belgium also look strong with Kevin Strijbos, Clement Desalle and Jeremy Van Horebeek on their team.
It’s a long while since Britain won the event, but they are expected to finish in the top six with Man Anstie, Tommy Searle and Dean Wilson.
British champion Graeme Irwin is in the Irish squad, along with Martin Barrs and Stuart Edmonds.
Many of the world’s leading aces are representing their countries, including Hunter Lawrence (Australia), Thomas Kjer Olsen (Denmark), Max Nagl (Germany), Antonio Cairoli (Italy), Evgeny Bo- bryshev (Russia), Tim Gajser (Slovenia), Jorge-Prado-Garcia (Spain), Jeremy Seewer (Switzerland), and Thomas Covington (USA).
But new world 250cc champion Pauls Jonass has refused to ride with the Latvian team, claiming that his partners do not have the necessary experience to compete in such a competitive event.