Interview: Tim Gajser on his Maggiora win, extending his championship lead and living in Slovenia

Images: Nigel McKinstry | Interview: Andy McKinstry

It was a fantastic weekend for Tim Gajser in Maggiora, it was almost the perfect weekend going 1-1-1 in very different days but a second moto tip over meant he had to settle for second in the last moto but he still took the overall win and even better, extended his MXGP championship lead.

We caught up with the friendly Slovenian after the GP to get discuss a range of topics. You can watch, listen or read below…

GateDrop: Tim, it was so hard to pass out there, two starts were very key and you were able to execute them so you must have been happy with that and you put yourself in a great position to get the job done and stand on the top step of the podium, that must feel amazing…

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Gajser: Yeah, exactly… it was good you know, first start was was okay, I was third and then make a quick pass on Jorge. That was really important you know, a bit more aggressive but like that if I don’t pass him at the beginning it’s going to be difficult after in the race. Then I went for Jeremy (Seewer) I think two laps after and then had a good race. You know until let’s say mid race when I made a couple of mistakes, my lines were maybe not the best and they started to catch me a little bit but yeah it was a good moto to win it. The second race we had a nice battle with Jeffrey, he was all the time behind me and the pace was really fast. It was a shame of that mistake but anyway I am really happy with the overall win.

GateDrop: You and Jorge have been playing a bit of ping pong with the red plate, it must actually be nice to keep it for two GP’s in a row now… obviously not the circumstances but you can’t do much about that, it must feel great to keep the red plate?

Gajser: Exactly, I mean for past four GP’s we were like one race I have it and then the next race he took it and then again I take it. These kind of races aren’t easy and they’re not good for the head, you know because you are split by just two points. But anyway I know that it is still early in the season. It’s good to have a red plate on the bike but it’s not that important like it is to have it at the end of the season. We all want to have the red plate at the end of the season but anyway yes it was kind of like a ping pong game like you said.

Image: Nigel McKinstry

GateDrop: I mean you’re five time World Champion, what’s it like being in such a close world championship I mean does that make you even more hungry, do you prefer that or would you prefer to win it easy? Not that it’s ever easy but in terms of having  a big points lead…

Gajser: I mean it’s never easy to win a World Championship but I think it’s interesting how it is this year. It’s good for the spectators and for the people that watch behind the TV. For us riders of course it’s maybe a little bit more stressful but it’s also fun. You know, we like to battle hard and yeah it’s good.

GateDrop: This season it’s been mud, mud and more mud, the story of the season and you must be sick of it but at least today was dry…

Gajser: Yeah today, yesterday was not (laughs). But actually for the qualifying race, it was not bad, it was just one lined but it wasn’t that muddy like maybe Agueda or France in the second moto. I mean we were really unlucky let’s say for the past couple of weeks with the mud and with the rain. Hopefully now the summer is going to start and when we come back from Indonesia we are going to have nice weather and also good races. Let’s see the sun out hopefully (laughs).

GateDrop: What was your thoughts on the track today, obviously with all the rain they did so well to get it dry for today and it looked rocked hard at the end there…

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Gajser: Yeah, it was rock hard but I mean at the end of the day you have to say that the crew made a good job and especially with how much water was on the track this morning. Also yesterday especially when that storm came it was quite muddy and they moved all the dirt out. Let’s say that they took the top of 20 centimetres where there was maybe some traction so that’s why maybe it was more hard pack than normal.  We were lacking traction out of the corners and the ruts were not getting that deep but at the end of the day they made a good job and we even had some dust in the second moto so it’s crazy.

Image: Nigel McKinstry

GateDrop: Yeah, it’s crazy… Are you based in Croatia, is that right?

Gajser: No, I live in Slovenia but I train in Croatia.

GateDrop: So you spend a lot of time in Croatia and Slovenia between the GP’s?

Gajser: Most of the time.

GateDrop: How is that? You obviously have your own track but apart from that are there many tracks suitable to prepare for the GP tracks in Croatia and Slovenia?

Gajser: I mean, I’m that kind of guy that likes to go back to where I came from, you know? I like to train in Slovenia and I like to be at home. It’s always quiet there, you know? Nobody is there from the let’s say the Motocross World Championship. I’m just alone there doing my own thing, nobody really knows what I’m doing so I like that. I like that and that’s why I never move somewhere else like to Belgium or somewhere. For me, I mean it’s strange to go to a practice and have like 15 GP riders there. I prefer to do my own thing always staying in Slovenia. Whenever we need to go testing or something I go to Italy to Milano where the team is based, we do some testing there and some trainings there. Most of them I do in Slovenia on my track but we have some nice tracks around. I’m not riding at one track and we also have some deep sand tracks in Croatia where I get ready for Lommel and Riola. I have everything what I need.

GateDrop: It’s clearly working! I am not sure if you’d have read them but some quotes came out from Jeffrey Herlings during the week and comments about the safety in MXGP with track prep and the medical stuff going on… Anything you would say on that?

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Gajser: I think he made the point, you know (laughs). Obviously, I mean like I know that the crew, they are trying to do everything with the tracks, you know slowing them down and trying to make them safer but there is not a lot of flow. You know and with our bikes 450cc, they are super powerful and so fast. It’s like a tricky I would say more dangerous than when you have open tracks like Matterley Basin or somewhere like that. There is safer, you have a huge jumps but you have everything under control. It’s wider and like if you go off the track you have a lot of grass. But here some tracks are sketchy, you know if you go off the track you have concrete or you have machines there. So I mean definitely they can do something better and I hope they are going to work on that.

GateDrop: We don’t know when it’s going to happen yet but Loungo and Coombs are in talks about an AMA and MXGP combo race in the future, What would your thoughts be on that, it’d be pretty cool for the sport?

Gajser: I think it’d be good. you know. But they should do two races, they should do one in America and then one here in Europe…

GateDrop: I agree…

Gajser: Because for us going there, definitely American guys they have some advantage but obviously when they came here we have some advantage, you know? The tracks are so different so if they are considering that, they should do two races.