The World Champ heads to Sweden
After sealing the 2019 MXGP world championship at Imola last weekend, Team HRC now head to Sweden looking for more success at the beautiful Uddevalla facility, located an hour north of Gothenburg.
Tim Gajser wrapped up his title three rounds early but he can still set more records and put a bigger stamp of authority on a season that has already been the best of his distinguished career. The Slovenian rider is already the youngest three-time Honda world champion and holds the record for the longest individual winning streak with seven victories earlier this year. Were he win in Sweden this weekend and then in both Turkey and China, he would join Andre Malherbe as the rider with the most wins on a Honda in world championship history, on 27.
First up is Uddevalla though, with the stony hillside track a venue that should hold good memories for the Honda CRF450RW rider, having won here in 2015 on his way to his first world title success in the MX2 class. Despite his five-two results in Imola when the championship was the bigger goal, Gajser is still in very good form and continually posting fastest laps in practice sessions and races, and now with the main goal achieved, he can focus back on winning races.
In a week where MX2 rider Calvin Vlaanderen was named in the preliminary Netherlands team for the Motocross of Nations, the #10 CRF250RW rider will be hoping to put in a good performance in Sweden and show the selectors he is the best choice for the position by putting himself back on the podium. He finished fifth overall in Imola but since his return from the ankle injury, he has been on the podium twice and been one of the top three guys in most of the timed sessions. Provided he is able to avoid other riders’ mistakes in the opening laps, he has proved he has the speed to run with the best of this 250cc class.
Action on the track gets underway at 12:30 (GMT+1) on Saturday 24th August for the MX2 class with their 25 minute free practice, closely followed by the MXGP riders. They then have a timed practice session before qualifying races that begin at 16:55 (MX2) and 17:40 (MXGP). Gate drops for the points scoring races are then on Sunday at 13:15 and 16:10 (MX2) and 14:15 and 17:10 (MXGP).
Tim Gajser 243
Last weekend was just a really amazing experience for me and everyone. To win the championship in Italy worked out really well because so many people from Slovenia were able to come and see it happen and join in the celebrations. It means so much to me to get all that support and I just can’t thank them all enough for following my career. This week I’ve tried to relax a bit, have a bit of a break but it’s been tough as there have been quite a few media commitments. However it’s a nice problem to have and it is still nice that motocross is covered on a national level in Slovenia. Of course I am looking forward to racing in Sweden, it is a cool track and a beautiful country and I always enjoy racing there.
Calvin Vlaanderen 10
This week the initial Netherlands team for the 2019 Motocross of Nations was announced and I was included in that squad so that’s obviously a very proud moment for me. It is an important event and while I am not 100% in the team right now, I am still excited to potentially lining up for the Dutch team in Assen, where we will have a lot of support. It’s a bit of a quick week for me with that happening and then flying to Sweden already on Thursday, so I’ll only have one day on the bike. I really like the Uddevalla track though, it’s one of my favourite venues with really good fans so I’m looking forward to the weekend where I’ll be back fighting for a podium spot.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
I am so happy for Tim and for everyone in the team that we were able to celebrate the championship success in Imola last weekend. So many fans attended the race and it is just such a great atmosphere around Team HRC with all the Slovenian people there supporting Tim. He is so great with them all and I am proud of how he acts both on and off the track.
Now though, we must move our focus to Sweden which is another important race for everyone. Tim wants to get back to winning ways, while Calvin wants to be challenging for podium spots so we need to make sure both of them are as prepared as possible for the Uddevalla track. Brian is still recovering from the shoulder injury that he received in the second moto at Imola and at this stage we aren’t sure if he’ll be lining up yet. Of course we hope he is able to make so that Team HRC can have a full complement of riders on the grid.
Words: HRC Honda
Pic: Shot by Bavo