Team HRC is looking forward to racing in front of its home crowd this weekend as the 2018 Motocross World Championship heads back to Italy for the third of three back-to-back rounds before the two-event, flyaway trip to Indonesia. At Ottobiano, the team will be back at full capacity with Australia’s Todd Waters re-joining team mates Tim Gajser and Calvin Vlaanderen after a three-round absence due to injury – following his debut in Latvia a month ago.
The MXGP of Lombardia is around the corner in every way: the team’s headquarters in Gorla Minore, Varese, are in fact only 80km away from the Ottobiano motorsport complex, which joined the MXGP calendar only last year.
Tim Gajser heads to Italy with another podium under his belt after the third place scored in France last weekend. The two-time world champion has been racing consistently within the top-five as of late aboard his Honda CRF450RW machine, while getting closer and closer to the type of performance he is known to be capable of.
Calvin Vlaanderen and Todd Waters have performed a successful two-day test in the Netherlands – a very useful one for both riders – which drew to a close yesterday. The young South African rider managed to further improve his feeling with his Honda CRF250RW machine, while Waters got some more track-time ahead of his official return to action, after getting back on the bike for the first time only last week. With no pain or discomfort in his collarbone, the Australian rider is now ready for some MXGP action.
The MXGP of Lombardia will begin this Saturday at 11:30 local time (GMT +2) with the free practice session for the MX2 class, which will be followed at noon by the MXGP one.
Tim Gajser 243
I’m looking forward to racing in Italy again this weekend after the podium finish we had in France. We have been working very well lately and our performance has benefitted from it, although I feel we still need to make one more step forward to finally get back to challenging for the win. It will be important to get two good results at Ottobiano before the trip to Indonesia and that’s exactly our goal for the weekend, so I can’t wait to get started!
Calvin Vlaanderen 10
I’m excited to be back in the sand of Ottobiano. I was not there last year because of an injury but I’ve been there a few times to train and I like the track. It will be a tough weekend for our bodies with the temperature so warm and the track so rough but I’m ready for the challenge! I will give my best on Sunday and hope to be fighting for a spot on the podium.
Todd Waters 42
I’m feeling good heading into the weekend. I’ve had a good couple of days of testing with the team, we made some big improvements with the bike and that brought some fresh confidence. Also, I’m getting more confident every lap after the injury: it’s only a month after the operation so it’s still very fresh, but it’s in the past now so I’m ready for some action this weekend. I love going to Italy: I’ve heard it’s going to be hot so I’m going to enjoy that side as well. Overall I’m pretty excited after missing the last few rounds so I can’t wait to get back racing the GPs.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
We are heading to Ottobiano with a full-rider line-up and great motivation. We are happy to welcome Todd back after his shortened debut in Latvia: last week he jumped back on his Honda bike for the first time and since then he has ridden almost every day, showing no discomfort or pain. We did a test with him in the last two days and it all went well, so he’s ready to go. Calvin was there too, and we did a lot of work with him in order to improve his feeling with the bike, which is already very good; the track is a sandy one, so should suit his style well. Tim has been on good form lately, so we expect him to aim at the podium again, if not more. Overall we are confident of our chances to do well and hopefully it won’t be as hot as last year!
Words: HRC Honda
Pic: Shot by Bavo