HRC Honda gearing up for MXGP
After an extremely successful campaign last time out, where Tim Gajser became five-time world motocross champion, Team HRC welcomes Ruben Fernandez under the awning, in a move that gives them a dual-threat for wins and podiums in 2023.
Gajser’s fourth MXGP title (in addition to his one MX2 crown) came in another record-breaking year as he topped the charts in all the important statistics, including the most crucial – championship points. Wrapping up the title a couple of rounds early, the #243 had more than three times as many GP wins as his nearest rival, over double the number of race wins, and had more pole positions, led more laps and was on the podium more than anyone else. He was also the only rider to touch the red plate, leading the championship from the first round right the way through the season.
And he’ll be hoping to repeat all those feats in 2023 when he aims to make it six titles in nine years, and move him even higher up the list of all-time greats. Of course it won’t be easy, which is why Gajser continues to make small adjustments to his training, so that he is even better prepared than year’s previously and ready to take on all-comers when the gate drops for the first time in Argentina on March 12th.
Joining him on the line will be Spanish rider Fernandez, who’s rise up the ranks should be an inspiration to motocross riders everywhere. The #70 has had to fight throughout his career, overcoming setbacks early-on to finally reach the pinnacle of motocross status – riding a Team HRC CRF450R.
A previous MX2 red-plate holder, Fernandez moved full-time into the MXGP class in 2022 where he immediately made an impact. He had a third-place finish in a moto in Argentina, before standing on the podium in Latvia in just the sixth round. He then had another podium in Indonesia, and was really starting to find his momentum before a crash in Loket whilst running quickest in practice, forced him to miss a few rounds. Still, he had shown enough for Team HRC to sign him up at the end of last year, giving him plenty of time to prepare for this upcoming season.
First up for both riders are the two preseason Italian races in Ponte a Egola and Trentino, before they head to Patagonia-Argentina and the amazing track near Villa La Angostura on the weekend of March 12th. From then on, it’s a steady stream of racing, on some of the best tracks around the world, with some new additions to calendar freshening it up, before the season finale at Matterley Basin in Great Britain, where hopefully Team HRC duo will be celebrating a successful season onboard their Honda CRF450R’s.
Tim Gajser 243
Obviously last year I was champion, and that will be my goal again this year. I always say that nothing is so good, that can’t be better, so I’m trying to improve and work on the small details to give me that little edge. We’ve made a number of changes with the Honda CRF450R in the off-season and they’ve all worked out really well so I’m happy with my machine, and how my training has gone and now it’s just building towards the first gate drop. The calendar looks to be a good one, with some nice rounds and I hope to see a lot of fans throughout the year.
Ruben Fernandez 70
It’s a new team for me, but it feels familiar and that has made things a lot easier. This winter has been really good and I’m in a solid place, and I feel like I can show everyone what I can do, right at the very first round. I learnt a lot from last year and I’m always trying to improve, so I know that consistency is just as important as speed and that’s what I’ll be aiming to achieve. The Honda CRF450R is a great machine and I’m comfortable on it, having rode it last year as well and I know I couldn’t have a better team behind me, to help improve the bike and make my performances better. I really can’t wait until the season begins!
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
It’s always exciting at the beginning of a new season, seeing how the guys over the winter and where they are, compared with where they need to be. Both Tim and Ruben, had good training during the off-season and now will have a couple of warm-up races just to get some competitive gate-drops under their belts before we all head down to Argentina for round one of the 2023 MXGP World Championship.
Words: Press Release
Image: Shot by Bavo