Tim Gajser interview – hungry for more!

It has been a superb season for Tim Gajser. Winning his 2nd MXGP premier class title after two years of injury followed by winning his class at the MXoN in the Assen sand and then a top five overall at the Monster Energy Cup. 

Being able to turn up and race a totally different discipline of racing that he never does and with only a couple of weeks to get ready after the Nations, it is pretty impressive stuff from the 23 year-old!

It might just be the best year of Gajser’s career but, as Tom Jacobs found out in Vegas, Gajser wants even more.  

It takes balls come here (Vegas), you have more to lose than gain! 

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Im here just to have fun, I didn’t set any real goal of where I want to be, it’s because I like supercross that’s why I’m here doing this. All the GP guys have holidays now so I am here doing my holidays! It’s nice I did it once in 2017, I like it even if I didn’t have the best races and had a big crash. I like it, that’s why I came back. 

Did you have a little bit of a supercross style track back at home? 

Not anymore, my dad did one just for this event after the nations but after 2017 we made a full motocross track, some jumps maybe more supercross with the ramps and steeper landings a little bit but not as much as before. I came here earlier and did some days riding in Corona at the Honda test track and went to Milestone as well to get a little bit more comfortable. 

Did it come quickly the feeling? 

The first day I was jumping everything so it was okay, then day by day I gained the speed and was getting faster and faster, I started scrubbing when I got a little bit more confidence. It was a big change, I went from mx to sx suspension they are much stiffer. The first time when I sat on the bike it was really weird but after the more laps I did I got more comfortable. 

Gajser Instagram

Was there funding from the Americans because there are a lot of your fans here! 

When they knew I was going to race here, they just booked the tickets, they are coming here for the race and a little bit of a holiday but it is nice to see some familiar faces. 

The way they celebrated you in your homeland, it was amazing! 

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The first one was the official one in the Maribor, a little bit of a bigger city, that was nice, many people – unbelievable. I’m super happy and thankful to Slovenia as a country, the Slovenian federation was also behind that. 

The second one was in my village where I used to live, I still have my tracks there so every day I go there to train on the bike. It was also big, many people came there as well, it was nice. 

You had some difficult seasons with injury, last year the pre-season injury in Italy, how far did that knock you back? 

Definitely it knocks you a lot. 2018 I didn’t even begin the season and I got injured, a bad injury with my jaw, but I’m the guy that never gives up. Motocross is a tough sport, injuries can come really quick, a little mistake and you can have a big crash and hurt yourself. After every injury I try to pick myself up and go forward, never give up, set the goals and then try to reach them.  

Gajser Pic: Bavo

Is there a procedure you have in mind to reset after something bad has happened? 

It’s how you mentally prepare yourself and it’s important to have the right people around you, I have my girlfriend, my brother, they are always there with you. They know me really well and know what to say at the point when I’m on the ground to pick me up, also all the team HRC crew, we are like a big family and it’s nice to be part of it.  

What was the difference between maybe winning the title unexpectedly in 2016 and now? 

It was a big difference. The second time the way I did it was different, the first time I won back to back (MX2 then MXGP) as a rookie without any pressure, I was there to have fun and then the championship came. This time was, let’s say more special because we were struggling, we came from the bottom and climbed back to the top so that was nice.  

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Can you compare in terms of riding, how have you evolved as a rider form let’s say your rookie year to now? 

I think many changes before this season from preparation to the training, also my father a little step back, he is still there giving me advice but I was going with my girlfriend and my brother to the races, he just came to a few GPs, the closest ones. It was a huge step for me because before he was always there. It was something I needed, maybe I needed a little more space. I get older, Of course he has a lot of experience and every advice is welcome from him but sometime you need a little bit of space.  

With the team we put a little but more focus on sand tracks, I think we were behind everyone there. I think we make a big step this year with winning the Lommel GP and even Kegums. I did well in all the sand races, even in Assen it was good. Im super happy with that and looking forward to getting better and better. 

Gajser Pic: Bavo

You elevated your game when you went up against Cairoli then stayed at that level when he went out and you were miles ahead. 

Exactly, it was a nice beginning (to the season) with Tony, we were on the same pace  we were battling all the moto, it was interesting for us and the people all around, it was nice.  

Is that something now with the celebrations behind you, you go into 2020 with more focus? 

Sure I am super-focused, although that was my third world title I am hungry for more. We had a great season and now we are in Vegas just having fun. I can’t wait to go back to Europe and start testing for next season, we have a completely new bike and I am super excited about that as well. I will then take maybe two weeks to take a little bit of rest and then we are starting again! 

How exciting is it to get onto this 2021 bike? It looks so stable! 

Yeah exactly. We made many little changes for this season and I was happy with the bike. Until the end we didn’t change much, maybe one click, so we set the base really good. For sand we have different settings and for hard-pack different settings and for both I was really happy, I can’t thank the HRC group enough, without them winning the championship would be impossible. 

Gajser Pic: Bavo

Has it changed how you work together over the years? 

Yeah, we are together for six years already, we know each other well. They are not just friends to me anymore they are family. I’m super happy when I’m going to the races and that’s how it should be because when you are happy you go fast.  

On your Instagram page, you put about believing in yourself and do it for yourself, that must be pretty hard because you came from a modest background there is a lot of expectation put into you and some family pressure I guess to make things happen? 

My father and my family put everything for me. If I was not successful in motocross I do not know where I would be now but it pays off good I would say because we can live our dreams. But it definitely didn’t come easy, we were working hard and I’m super happy that everything pays off.  

Do you have a moment of something that maybe was a failure that set you up for later on?  

Every champion, there are days when you are struggling, it’s not always sunshine. Sometimes you have storms but after everything it always comes back to sunshine and if you look at life like that then you understand everything. You can look at weather like life, it can rain, snow but in the end the sun always comes back.  

Gajser Pic: Honda

In terms of personality, are you more like your mum or your dad because your dad is a very intense guy! 

Emmm, it’s difficult to judge maybe because I’m racing that’s from my dad because he raced as well but on the personal side maybe more like mum! 

What do you still need to improve on so you can go into the season and know you are on the same level as Herlings and do this again? 

Everywhere, I did a huge step forward this year and I know what I did, and we are already planning how we are going to train so I am super excited because I already know what I have to do to get better and better. 

You ride a lot by yourself, right? 

Almost every time, I have three tracks at home in the village where I used to live. I am only 20km from there so it is quite close so when I go there, I just gear up in the garage do motos and go back home. 

How do you keep the intensity when you ride on your own? 

I think I am used to doing things on my own, because I never have someone I was always alone. Okay, when my brother was still racing then we were always together riding and everything. Now I kind of train on my own, he is always there because he is my practice mechanic, so when I go on the bike in Slovenia he is always there. Also I try to bring some young Slovenian riders to ride with me and try and help make them better. Also for me, when you can ride with someone you can compare, even if they are ten seconds slower I can giving him a head start and chase him. 

Do you think mentoring someone can help you and pass your knowledge on? 

Maybe not so much mentoring but yeah, I can show them lines stuff like that, mentoring someone, that’s different, maybe not yet. But even when you come in from a 35 minute moto you can talks about different lines in a corner, we give each other our opinion and it’s more interesting and less boring! 

Pic: Niek Kamper

They have debuted here (Vegas) the communication, it allows you to communicate with your team, is that something that could be interesting? 

If we were in the car yes, but when you are racing there are so many things going on, your focus has to be 100% and when you speak with someone else your focus goes to something else and then you could make a mistake. I don’t know, it’s tough to say, I have never tried. 

Are you one of those riders that talks a lot to yourself on the bike? 

No, I just try to be focused all 35 minutes 100%. Even with my mechanics when they show me the pit-board I don’t even watch every lap. If I am leading, I try to watch (the pit-board) to see how much gap I have then if I have two seconds I know which line I can take, if it’s 0.5 I know to cover all the insides. But if I am second or third and no-one is behind me, I don’t even look on the board and just focus on what’s ahead.