The ninth round of the 2019 MXGP world championships takes place in Kegums, Latvia where Team HRC’s Tim Gajser will be displaying the red plate on his Honda CRF450RW. The Slovenian rider has won the last three overalls, reeling off six consecutive race wins and now holds a 13 point lead as the series heads to the midway point of the season. Teammate Brian Bogers will also head into the weekend hoping that the sandy Kegums track will give him a chance to show his best form.
For Gajser, the red plate is just reward for this tremendous run of form that has seen a 53 point swing in the championship battle after coming back from a 40 point deficit following the MXGP of Lombardia. After those muddy conditions, the sun has been shining and Gajser has shown his best form since his championship winning season in 2016. The hard-pack tracks have suited Gajser’s smooth style and he’ll now be hoping that the large amount of sand training he did over the winter will help him maintain the lead in what should be another glorious weekend of racing.
After growing up near Valkenswaard in the Netherlands, Bogers is very comfortable in the sand and this ninth round in Latvia is a perfect chance for him to put in a solid performance and work towards his goal of two top 10 finishes. In a class that is filled with GP race winners, this year has been challenging for Bogers to jump into, after missing almost all of the 2018 season through injury but this weekend represents a great opportunity to put in a similar result, like he achieved in Mantova when he got a second place in the second moto.
While his recovery is going well from the operation to clean up the infection in his right ankle, Calvin Vlaanderen will unfortunately once again be missing from the MX2 class at the weekend. After consulting with the doctor it was deemed best to give Vlaanderen as much recovery time as possible to reduce the chances of re-infecting the area. This is disappointing news to everyone who wants to see the #10 CRF250RW out on the track, but everyone is confident that when he does return he will be 100% healthy and properly prepared to race in this highly competitive MX2 division.
In round nine of their series’ this weekend, the MXGP and MX2 riders are joined by the EMX250 and EMX2t classes with the first Team HRC bike hitting the track at 13:00 local time on Saturday 15th June for MXGP free practice. The first gate drop for the main races then happens at 14:15 on Sunday 16th June.
Tim Gajser 243
It was a tough trip back from Russia with the flights, but when you come back with the red plate, everything is okay! However it is definitely almost unbelievable to have gone one-one again this weekend. The track was pretty sketchy to ride on because it was very fast and not a lot of ruts formed, which meant it was quite slippery in the corners. Still, it was really good to get two starts and I am feeling really confident heading to Kegums. It is of course a lot sandier than these past few rounds but I feel like I am riding really well and I know I have done a lot of sand training this off-season. I just can’t wait to get back to the race track again and meet up with the team. We are working so well right now and I enjoy every weekend!
Brian Bogers 189
I like Kegums a lot more than the track in Russia because it is more sandy. It also means I can stay in Holland for a couple of days for training because the tracks here are quite similar to the surface in Kegums. I’m looking forward to it though and I’m really hoping I can show my potential and get myself into the top 10 in both races.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
Wow. What another great weekend for Tim, and for the team to see him leave Russia with the red plate. Knowing how important it was to get good starts in both races, it was so impressive to see Tim storm off the line, especially in the second race. With the way he is riding, if he can start anywhere near the front we know he can challenge for the wins and that’s exactly what he has proved the past few rounds. Obviously Latvia will be a different challenge but confidence is high within the team and we can’t wait for Tim to line up there with the red plate on his bike. It should also be a good place for Brian to show us again what he is capable of. He hasn’t quite reached the levels we expected recently but the sandy Kegums track should be good for him.
It would have also been a good track for Calvin too but unfortunately he still needs a bit more time for the wound to heal properly and get back to being bike fit. We don’t want him to rush him right back until he is completely ready and that means that he won’t be on the gate this weekend.
Words: HRC Honda
Pic: Shot by Bavo