Team HRC’s Tim Gajser kept hold of the championship-leading red plate after his sixth podium of the season at the Mantova sand track in Northern Italy. With passing at a premium, starts were the critical element and the Honda CRF450RW showed its power once again by propelling the Slovenian towards the front of the field in both races. Teammate Mitch Evans also benefitted from two good starts as he scored decent points in both races.
Coming into this second Mantova round with a five-point lead, Gajser now heads into Sunday with an unchanged points gap after scoring a solid 36 points in the two motos. Five-three moto finishes don’t tell the whole story though as he wasn’t able to translate his speed into points on a track that was extremely difficult to pass on. Qualifying fastest once again meant the #243 had first gate pick and he rounded the first turn high up the field in both races. However, in the first race, the positions of the top six riders didn’t change after lap one, showing just how competitive this MXGP class is. And then, despite his best efforts to make moves for the lead, it was a similar story in race two as he had to settle for third in another hard-fought encounter.
Evans was at the end of the high-paced train in the first moto, scoring a nice sixth place and giving him a potential podium if he could just get out ahead of his rivals in race two. He got a good jump out of the gate but the tight second corner proved harder to negotiate and instead he was down in eighth by the time they crossed the line for the first time. Just like in race one, passing was extremely hard and although Evans moved up one spot, he ended up going six-seven for eighth overall.
Both riders know that on this Mantova track, the first 100 metres are the most important and they now have a couple of days to perfect their starting technique before the third round of this latest triple header at this sandy Italian circuit on Sunday 4th October.Share to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to PinterestShare to LinkedInShare to More1
Tim Gajser 243
It wasn’t a bad day as I was still able to finish on the podium but still, I wasn’t completely happy with my riding today. I didn’t have the best start in race one and in the first lap I made a couple of passes but then I was just following Antonio and it was difficult to make any passes. We were all riding the same speed and I ended up fifth. In the second moto I got a better start, in second place behind Romain and I was pushing hard trying to pass him. I had a couple of spots where I was faster but I couldn’t make a pass and then I made a mistake which dropped me to third. I tried to regain second place but ran out of tear-offs when I was pushing for the pass with a couple of laps left and instead had to settle for third, ending up third overall. Still, I have the red plate and that is important after every round.
Mitch Evans 43
A better day today which started off with a 10th in qualifying. I didn’t feel the greatest but I knew it was more down to the starts, than the laptimes and in race one I got out of the blocks well. Unfortunately, it was very hard to pass and everyone was just following the leader the whole race and I came away with sixth, which was okay. In the second race I got caught up in the first two turns and lost a couple of positions and played ‘follow the leader’ once again. I stayed in seventh until the chequered flag which made it a much better day than last Sunday and I’ll hope to keep improving for the third round here this Sunday.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
The starts were all important here once again and although both Tim and Mitch both had decent jumps out of the gate, they weren’t quite able to come out at the front and that really hindered any chance of winning motos. Passing was very difficult and although Tim looked faster, he just couldn’t move through the field and get to the front. We are glad that he was able to keep the red plate though and keep the gap at the top, because there are still a lot of races left with a lot of points to play for. We’re also pleased to see Mitch move closer and closer to the top 10 in the championship and we’re sure he can do better for the final round here.