Tim Gajser: That may just have been the best performance of Tim Gajser’s career. Three times he beat Cairoli in Italy over two days and he didn’t make a single mistake under immense pressure. This was Gajser at his brilliant best, and even when Cairoli passed him he had the maturity to sit and watch Cairoli’s lines, make the necessary adjustments and then attack again.
This was a huge win for Gajser mentally, his first GP win in two years and beating Cairoli straight up in Italy in front of a frenzied crowd will give the HRC Honda man the most confidence he has had since he was world champion. It was an electrifying performance.
There aren’t many riders who can push Cairoli to the ragged edge like Gajser did on Sunday, maybe only Herlings has done that to AC in his career. Now Gajser has another 14 rounds of having to ride at that level in order to win his third world title such is Cairoli’s fighting spirt – but he looks ready for the challenge!
Gajser commented: “It is unbelievable. It’s my first win in over a year and it’s just such a great feeling. To do it here at Arco di Trento is especially special because of all the Slovenian fans that made the trip to come and support me. I had two great battles today, we were both riding so fast but I think the fans gave me that extra boost I needed to take this victory. Every lap I could hear them and it was amazing to win in front of them, just to repay them for their energy that they gave me.”
Tony Cairoli: He might not have won the GP but the superstar of World motocross gave absolutely everything and even more than he wanted too! Cairoli, urged on by thousands of his home fans, admitted he actually took too many risks with a crash the result just as he had taken the lead off Gajser.
It just shows the passion Cairoli still rides with and just how much the atmosphere spurred him on to beat his title rival on one of Gajser’s best tracks. At 33 years old Cairoli seems to be able to find speed to answer the the next generation and pushes them all the way. Cairoli wants it badly this year and Gajser knows he’s going to have to ride at his best every lap to beat the nine time world champ for this title.
“It is a positive weekend overall but I’m not happy with my second moto because I took a risk and crashed when I should have had the GP. A crash is always possible in motocross but we should take care not to get injured and it was close today. I’m disappointed by that but I’m happy to make the podium again: that’s four this season with three wins and a second place so it is difficult to be negative about how it has gone,” reflected Cairoli.
Arnaud Tonus: After a full year of injury Arnaud Tonus is already back in the top five, the number four going 4-4 at round four for fourth overall! Tonus has amazing natural talent and technical skill on the motorcycle and he has shown great determination to get back to this level.
You feel if he can just stay injury free and get more confidence, the Swiss can be even better but it’s great to see him back at the sharp end and showing what he can do.
Wilvo Yamaha must be grinning like Cheshire cats this week with their riders going 3-4 and beating the factory Yamaha of Seewer. Gautier Paulin continued his impressive form with another third place to cement his position as closest challenger to Gajser and Cairoli.
Arminas Jasikonis: Ice One Husqvarna have made another shrewed signing with this guy and he has quietly worked his way up to fourth in the world championship. Jasikonis still isn’t getting the starts he wants but he he is riding fast and smart to make the most of every situation, impressive for a 20 year old who is only in his fourth GP with a new team and a new bike.
This kid has so much more potential and it will be interesting what he can do if he gets away at the front, especially in the sand to learn the speed of Cairoli and Gajser.
Jasikonis said: “To come away from this GP sixth overall and now also up to fourth in the championship is great. It’s certainly not one of my favourite tracks, being so slippery and hard to pass makes it really difficult, so I’m really happy with my results, and also my riding this weekend. In the first race it was just difficult for me to make passes. I managed to improve a few places during the early laps, my riding was ok, but once I got into ninth I couldn’t get any further ahead. Not the best result but also not a disaster. The second race was better. I was further ahead from the start but again it was tough to make passes. But it was a good way to finish the GP. So far things have been very positive – I’ve finished inside the top 10 in all motos we’ve had. Some results have been better than others, but the consistency has been there, which is good. There’s still a long way to go but fourth in the championship is very positive.”
The fans: The atmosphere was simply incredible as the Italians urged on Cairoli with everything they had but Gajser’s large travelling fan base were doing the same, creating an amazing contrast and rivalry off the track as well as on it!
And with every race being so close, everyone was on edge and fully emotionally involved in the every every lap of every moto and it surely gave both riders extra energy and adrenaline as they gave everything they had to come out on top.