Tim Gajser has narrowly missed out on a podium finish after crossing the line in second place at the end of MXGP’s second race at Ottobiano. With a sixth position in the opening moto, the two-time world champion was fourth in the overall classification of the MXGP of Lombardia. Team HRC returning rider Todd Waters scored his first championship point in the first encounter of the day, before a retirement put an early end to an otherwise encouraging performance for the Australian in race two.
The start of race one was not ideal for Gajser, who found himself in 14th place after a few turns but was able to quickly make it back into the top-ten and up to seventh. From then on, the 21-year-old did not manage to make up some more ground to the podium position, but a move on Nagl on the last lap helped him claim sixth at the finish line. Waters’ performance was compromised at the very beginning as he went down at turn one after a coming together with a rival. The 28-year-old Australian managed to get back on the bike and with a 20th final position, he claimed his first point of the year in what was his maiden Sunday moto of the 2018 edition of MXGP.
Gajser had a good jump out of the gate in the second moto and was fifth towards the opening lap and was fifth towards the end of the opening lap but soon moved up to third by overtaking Coldenhoff and Desalle and, when Cairoli crashed out of the lead, he did not hesitate and stormed past Strijbos to get the lead. The battle for the front reignited soon enough when Cairoli got back near the leader and passed him during lap six. Gajser did his utmost to stay with the reigning champion and while he could not re-enter the battle for first place, his pace made sure no one else could get near his second place. After a solid start, Waters ran as high as twelfth before retiring during the fifth lap due to crash.
MXGP will return to action in Indonesia on 7 July for the first of two back-to-back events in the transcontinental sovereign state located between Southeast Asia and Oceania.
Tim Gajser 243
I’M QUITE HAPPY WITH THE SPEED I SHOWED TODAY. I THINK THE DAMAGE WAS DONE YESTERDAY IN QUALIFYING RACE BECAUSE IT WAS HARD TO GET A GOOD START WITH SUCH A POOR GATE PICK – AS I ENDED UP BEING FAR ON THE OUTSIDE. MY JUMP OUT OF THE GATE IN RACE ONE WAS ACTUALLY HORRIBLE, BUT I MANAGED TO COME THROUGH THE PACK AND FINISH SIXTH – WHICH WAS OK, BUT SURELY NOT WHAT WE WERE AIMING AT. I TOOK A BETTER START IN RACE TWO AND MAKE SOME QUICK PASSES AT THE BEGINNING, LED A COUPLE OF LAPS WHICH FELT AWESOME AND THEN FINISHED SECOND. SURELY I’M A BIT DISAPPOINTED THAT WE DIDN’T GET A PODIUM THIS TIME, BUT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO INDONESIA NOW. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE TEAM BECAUSE THE BIKE WAS REALLY FUN TO RIDE THIS WEEKEND.
Todd Waters 42
I FELL OFF THE BACK OF THE BIKE THROUGH THE ROLLERS IN RACE TWO AND CAUGHT THE BIKE ON THE INSIDE OF MY LEG. I PICKED THE BIKE UP AND EVERYONE WENT PAST, SO I TRIED TO CONTINUE BUT I COULDN’T RIDE THE WAY I WANTED AND THE PAIN WAS THERE AND INCREASING, AND SINCE I WASN’T FAST ENOUGH TO COME THROUGH THE PACK I OPTED FOR AN EARLY RETIREMENT – INSTEAD OF RISKING ANOTHER CRASH. UNTIL THEN IT WASN’T TOO BAD, I FELT GOOD ON THE BIKE AND I WAS RIDING MUCH BETTER, I JUST CRASHED. I LOST A LOT OF STRENGTH IN MY UPPER BODY DUE TO THE INJURY AND THAT MADE ME STRUGGLE THROUGHOUT THE RACES – AND GENERALLY SPEAKING I’M NOWHERE AS FIT AS THE OTHER RIDERS, WHO HAVE DONE WINTER TESTING AND HALF A SEASON MORE THAN ME. BUT WE’LL USE THE TIME FROM HERE TO INDONESIA TO GET AS FIT AS WE CAN, THEN DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
WE’RE OBVIOUSLY A BIT DISAPPOINTED WITH THE FACT THAT WE WERE NOT ON THE PODIUM TODAY, ESPECIALLY AFTER FINISHING RACE TWO IN SECOND PLACE. WE WERE HAPPY, HOWEVER, TO SEE A HONDA BACK IN THE RACE LEAD, EVEN FOR JUST A FEW LAPS – SOMETHING WE REALLY WANT TO GET USED TO AGAIN. TIM RODE WELL DESPITE THE POOR GATE PICK, WHICH AT THIS TRACK MADE A LOT OF DIFFERENCE. WE BAGGED SOME IMPORTANT POINTS AND RACED UNDER EXTREME TEMPERATURES, TWO VERY IMPORTANT THINGS AHEAD OF THE TWO ROUNDS IN INDONESIA. IT WAS NICE TO HAVE TODD BACK EVEN IF WE KNEW HE WAS NOWHERE NEAR 100% FIT, BUT HE WORKED HARD AND RODE WELL UNTIL THE CRASH IN RACE TWO, SO WE’RE HAPPY AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING SOME MORE OUT OF HIM SOON!