Courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser won his fifth race of the season at the beautiful Faenza track, to move within striking distance, as the battle for the lead of the 2020 MXGP world championship intensifies. Teammate Mitch Evans also impressed as he finished in fourth place in the second moto, posting the fastest laptime of the race and reminding everyone just what he is capable of when he is fully fit.
In what is the seventh round of the series, and the second of this triple-header at the hillside track, Gajser started off the day well by qualifying in first position, giving himself first gate pick and setting himself up for an important two races. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to capitalise in the opening moto, just getting edged wide across the holeshot line and losing some positions in the process. As he was fighting for position, the harsh roost took its toll and he was forced to settle for fifth place.
Despite having an outside shot of the overall victory, Gajser showed up for the second moto in determined mood and when he rounded the first lap in second place, expectations were high that he would add to his four previous race wins. Within a few more laps, the Honda CRF450RW rider was in the lead, which he eventually pulled out to just under five seconds, in another great display of hard-pack riding. His five-one results meant he finished second overall, and more importantly, closed the gap at the top of the championship with plenty of racing still to go.
In what was a great moto for Team HRC, Evans came extremely close to making it a Honda one-two as the Australian fought for 35 minutes to score his best race finish since round one in Great Britain. Sitting in third at the halfway point of the moto, the #43 tried his best to follow his teammate home, even posting the fastest lap of the race, but it wasn’t quite to be as he had to settle for nine-four scores for seventh overall. It was still another encouraging step for the rider in his first season in the MXGP class as he comes back a shoulder injury sustained in round two of the series, and with a third race on Sunday before three rounds in Mantova at a track he won at in pre-season, he will be looking for even more improvement in the coming weeks.
First up though is the third of the triple-headers in Faenza, on Sunday 13th September for what should be another hot day of racing in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.
Tim Gajser 243
It was a good feeling to get back out and winning races again. I’ve had some bad luck in the last few rounds, and even again today but I’m extremely happy with how that second moto went. The first moto I wasn’t able to push as much as I wanted but I was riding well and was still able to come out in fifth. I wanted to really show everyone again just how fast I can be in race two and I think with the victory I am back to where I want to be and standing in a good position in the championship battle. Now I just need to continue this with two good starts on Sunday and if I manage that, I’m sure I will get a good result.
Mitch Evans 43
Very good day which started off well in timed practice, where I was in first position for awhile in the session. That was a cool feeling but I knew the racing was the main focus. In the first moto I got a really good start but struggled a bit with arm-pump due to probably pushing too hard at the beginning. I wasn’t riding myself and ended up in ninth which I wasn’t too happy about, but I put it behind me for moto two.
I didn’t get quite such a good start in race two but I kept pushing the whole moto and made some passes and I was battling with the front guys, which was very satisfying to be back up there and running their pace. I was really happy with how that race went, finishing fourth and now I’m looking forward to getting some more top fives when we race again on Sunday.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
In the second moto, it was great to see Team HRC riders in first and third and pushing hard. This is what we hoped for when we signed Mitch to join Tim and it is amazing to see them doing this on the new Honda CRF450RW. The riders showed determination to improve upon their first race results and we are now heading into the third race here with both riders showing speed and stamina on what is a very tricky Faenza track. The starts are important but we saw that they were able to push early-on and we’ll be looking for more wins and podiums come Sunday