Interview: Tim Gajser – motivated for 2022!

After a great season in 2021 that didn’t quite see Tim Gajser lift the world title, even if the determined Gajser did take it until the last moto despite a broken collarbone, the HRC Honda rider seems ready to go again and be even better in 2022.

Tim spoke to the media at a special Honda press conference ahead of the new season and this is what a very motivated four time world champion had to say.

2021 was an intense season for everyone 8 GPs in six weeks. How do you reflect on that season?

Gajser: It was an interesting season, so many good riders and everyone was fit, and I was pretty happy with the start of the season the first half of the season, but then I picked up an injury just after Turkey and I was struggling, and I was riding with pain and things like that after the injuries. I got back into shape quickly, but mentally I wasn’t there. I finished third and couldn’t defend my title. That gives me more motivation for this year, and we are now in Sardinia and preparing for 2022 and I am looking forward to the first Grand Prix, which is pretty soon, February 20 in the UK. With a good start we can try and get it back.

This article continues below

Germany was a stand-out for you, and coming back from your injury, you won the Grand Prix. How was that moment for you?

Gajser: It was surprising to win. It was three weeks after the injury, and we had a week off between Riola and Germany and I didn’t expect to fight for the GP win. It was a good moment, but since then it didn’t go in the right way and the troubles started and I didn’t feel good from that moment until the end. It was nice winning Germany and the last GP I won.

It was a great championship; how did it feel to be part of that incredible story?

Gajser: Yes, it was an incredible season, and we were all there, battling and the speed was very similar between the top ten and starts were important, more important than ever. If you didn’t get good starts, it was hard to come through. It went down to the final moto, and we didn’t know who would win. I hope we have another season like that.

You seemed very motivated already after the last moto in Mantova and you usually improve something every off-season, so what type of improvements do you want to make coming into 2022?

Gajser: We are in off season so in the preparation and I am super motivated, because I lost the title, and I will give my best to get it back. Everything is going well, and we need to work on the starts, because it is so crucial now. It has always been important, but now we have so many fast guys and you don’t need to pass these guys. That is what we are working on, but also a lot of other things. Everything can be better, with fitness, on the bike, getting smoother. I have been known as an aggressive rider (using the clutch a lot), and I am working on being smoother.

It will be different without Antonio Cairoli; will you miss him?

Gajser: Tony, we will miss him, everyone will miss him. He will still be involved, so we will see him, but no more at the races, or maybe he will do a couple of GPs, but not the full season. We will miss him; we had some nice battles and nice races for the titles. I have said it many times I wish him good luck and he did a lot of the sport. He is a legend and big respect.

This article continues below

What about the number one? Jeffrey Herlings has decided to race with number one in 2022, have you ever thought about running the number one if you win another championship?

Gajser: I have had the chance and I never decided, but I won’t use number one. My number means a lot to me and the people around me and 243 has a big meaning for me in my life. I let’s say proud I can ride with that number, and it represents it to the World in motocross.

2019 you started in the USA with the Monster Energy Cup, and now USA hasn’t been a topic for you, but do you still have ambition to race in the US in the future?

Gajser: I would say yes. My dream was to go to the US and race there, but the relationship with HRC in Europe is so good and I did do races in America in 2017 and 2019, I did the Monster Cup and I enjoyed racing in the stadium with the supercross guys. At my age to go to the US full-time with my age, it is difficult, but maybe with Monster Cup coming back if it comes back to normal, I will do that again and maybe some supercross races and outdoors races in USA.

Images: Honda