Gajser and Evans on Maggiora
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser put in another display of controlled speed, on a tricky Maggiora track to win both motos of the MXGP of Italy, making it seven moto wins in a row and extending his lead at the top of the MXGP championship to 81 points.
After a dry Saturday, the overnight rain turned this iconic venue into a tricky, muddy venue for the early morning sessions. However, by the time the MXGP class dropped their gate for the first time, the surface had dried considerably and this allowed for some creative line choices from the best motocross riders on the planet.
In both races, Gajser worked his way into the top three by the time they crossed the line for the first lap and after studying the riders in front, he worked out exactly when and where to pass them in what were further examples of just how much control his has over his nearest MXGP rivals. In race one, he waited until the final third of the race to make his move, whilst in race two it took him only four laps before he took the lead. And in both cases, he was able to pull out a gap immediately, and cruise to two more moto wins. This takes the Slovenian’s tally to 10 out of a possible 14 race wins, and six overalls out of seven in what is an extremely impressive start to the 2022 season.
Mitch Evans wasn’t able to replicate Gajser’s starts, but what he lacked in lap one, he more than made up for in the rest of the motos as the Australian was able to pass a total of 15 riders across the two races on what wasn’t an easy track to make moves. He ended up going 13-6 for ninth overall, but his performance in race two was especially impressive as his laptimes were right up there with his fellow Team HRC rider at the front of the field. With better starts, the #43 is now definitely becoming a top five threat and that will be his aim when the next round of the championship takes place next weekend, at the Riola Sardo track, located on the island of Sardinia. Gajser will also be hoping to continue his winning-streak and show his speed at what is the first really difficult deep-sand track of this 2022 campaign.
Gajser:Today the conditions were a lot different than yesterday and that allowed more lines to form, which gave me more opportunity to make the passes I needed. I was able to get two good starts and move into the top three in both races early on. From there, I just had to choose the right time and the right place to make my moves and try to control the race afterwards. The track certainly wasn’t easy after the rain but I enjoyed creating my own lines and I’m just really enjoying my riding out at the moment and this win was a nice moment. A big thank you to Team HRC for all their work with the bike, and just being great people to be alongside during a race weekend. Also thank you to all the fans who come to these races, it is much better this year having a good crowd to cheer us along.
Evans: Other than my starts, I had a good couple of races, especially race two where I came from 14th on lap one, to finish in sixth place. This was my best moto result of the season and it was such a nice confidence boost to be passing guys, coming through the field and pushing right until the very end. Of course, I’d prefer to be up front to begin with, but I know that will come as I am doing all the right things off the grid, so I’m just going to keep working hard and I’m sure next weekend in Riola will be much better.
Marcus de Freitas: Tim is just going from strength to strength, showing everyone not only his speed, but his improved ability to pick the right times to make his move. He knows that if he is near the front early on, he can make the necessary passes and that’s exactly what he has been doing. Seven race wins in a row is a massive achievement and testament to how well he is riding the Honda CRF450R and obviously we hope he can keep that run going as long as possible.
For Mitch, this was another mixed weekend, because other than the first lap, he was one of the best riders on the track. He easily passed more riders than anyone else in the field and him coming through to sixth was a great effort in race two. We are going to try and help him do whatever is necessary for getting his starts right, and I’m sure in Riola it will go a lot better. With over a third of the season gone, I must thank every member of Team HRC for all their hard work and for doing such a great job, and I’m excited for how the rest of the season will go.
Words and images: Honda