Saturday’s MXGP Qualifying Race provided exciting ban action from Team HRC’s Mitch Evans and championship leader Tim Gajser. Going into lap one, Australian Evans leads the race, closely followed by Slovenian Gajser, both on their impeccably prepared CRF450Rs. On a strong return to form, Evans lead every lap and won the race by nearly 2.5 seconds. Gajser came home in second place, giving his Team HRC teammates first and second starting gate choices for Sunday’s races.
Sunday’s MXGP race one saw Evans quickly get his turn with a tip-over and spin in lap three, lap one, which put him in 27th place. Gajser rounded lap one in fourth place and despite often setting the fastest sector times, he failed to move up the field and came home in fourth place, still with a significant lead in the championship.
Team Honda 114 Motorsports’ Rubén Fernández had a poor start in race one and drifted up to 10th, but suffered a small crash on lap 12 that dropped him to 17th at the finish. Mitch Evans rode a heroic run to eventually finish 10th, with no cleanouts with 10 laps to go – hampering his vision.
Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Stephen Rubini suffered a nasty crash on lap one of Saturday’s MX2 qualifying race. Although the Frenchman visited hospital for a check-up, he took to the start line on Sunday and rode a very brave moto, entering lap one in 13th place and fighting his way up to ninth at the finish.
MXGP race two and Mitch Evans was keen to show his qualifying speed. Although he didn’t quite get the start, he was hoping to get into a good pace soon and was challenging to get up the pitch. As the race developed, Evans leveled out and eventually took home fourth, having maintained this position throughout the race, such was the nature of the difficult track.
Tim Gajser had a slightly better start in race two and quickly moved into second place. Although there were many lines on the track, ruts and ruts often came together at the exits of the turns, so passing was tough. Tim tried hard to ride smart and protect his lead in the championship, while chasing a pass to win. At the flag, Gajser crossed the line in second, giving him second place overall and a championship lead of 115 points with a maximum of 150 points remaining over the next three Grands Prix.
Team Honda 114 Motorsports Rubén Fernández had a difficult weekend returning from a big crash in the Czech Republic. The Spaniard went 17-13 today to give him 16th overall.
MX2 race two and Stephen Rubini had another battle on his hands. Very sore from Saturday’s crash, Rubini had a poor start, but still made up seven places in the race to eventually finish 12th, giving him 11th overall. Worth mentioning is, with eight more points he would have been fifth, such is the unpredictability of MX2 competition.
In one week, the MXGP tour will visit Hyvinkään in Finland where Honda riders will once again fight and strive for success. Team HRC’s Tim Gajser hopes to put even more pressure on his rivals as he challenges for his fifth world title on the ever-competitive Honda CRF machines.