Team HRC got off to a great start in the 2020 world motocross championship as Tim Gajser fought back from an eighth in race one to win the second moto by over 20 seconds. Team-mate Mitch Evans, also produced two excellent displays of riding to go three-seven for fifth overall at the MXGP of Great Britain.
After storms hit the track on Friday night, the Saturday schedule was shortened in order to limit the damage but Sunday was a completely different story as the Matterley Basin circuit was at its picture-perfect best for the two MXGP motos.
In race one, both of the new Honda CRF450RW riders got decent jumps out of the gate and rounded the first corner inside the top 10. Unfortunately, in the second corner, with the riders all bunched together, Gajser got bumped out of a rut and lost his balance. By the time the #243 had picked his bike up, he was at the back of the field and left with a lot of work to do. Evans managed to avoid this incident and instead found himself in third place and within striking distance of the top two. He then quickly moved into second place and then even made a move for the lead but wasn’t quite able to make it happen.
Meanwhile, Gajser was working his way quickly through the field, getting inside the top 10 by lap four. However, each pass was getting more difficult and he eventually got to eighth, five places behind Evans who crossed the line in his maiden MXGP moto in an impressive third.
For race two, it was Gajser’s turn to take control and he swept into the lead right after the holeshot line. The Slovenian rider had a point to prove and he put on a display that was one of the most impressive of his career, winning by over 20 seconds and posting a laptime more than one second quicker than his nearest rival. The victory gave him a total of 38 points, which was good enough for second overall and a solid beginning to the defence of his MXGP crown.
Unfortunately, Evans wasn’t able to repeat his moto one start and was down the field as they rounded the first few corners. By the time they crossed the line for the first time, the Australian was in 15th place and charging hard, and within two more laps, he was inside the top 10. Despite this being his first MXGP on a 450cc machine, he continued to overtake much more experienced competitors and eventually finished in seventh place, giving him an excellent fifth overall.
The team now head straight to the Netherlands in order to prepare for the second round of the MXGP championship, which will be held at the sandy Valkenswaard track on March 7-8.
Tim Gajser 243
I’m happy with how this first round of the season went. Just I had a couple of crashes in the first moto, with one right at the beginning of the race which meant I started from dead last. I worked my way through the field to finish eighth, after the second crash right at the end dropping me one spot. In the second race I was hoping to get a good start and show my riding a bit better and that’s what happened. With the low sun and the ruts, the track was really quite tricky but I felt good and the moto felt comfortable. Second overall isn’t too bad after my first moto so now we move onto Valkenswaard for a new challenge.
Mitch Evans 43
It was a good weekend, excluding the start of that second moto. Everything else went really well. In the first moto I had a good start, avoiding some of the early race carnage and made my way into second for a little bit. Unfortunately, I struggled with my breathing a bit because of my chest infection and finished third. I felt a lot better in the second moto although I had to push throughout the race because of the bad start. I used a lot of energy to get around guys as fast as I could and I hit a bit of a wall with eight minutes to go. Overall it was a good weekend though, I’m happy with my MXGP debut and now I get ready for Valkenswaard next weekend.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
The team is very happy with how the racing went today. Of course we would have loved to have taken the overall victory, but Tim’s performance in race two was amazing. He looked really smooth and comfortable on the new Honda CRF450RW and showed great speed to win by 23 seconds, and it probably could have been an even bigger gap. We were also very happy with how Mitch started his MXGP career. A third in race one was great and the way he rode in race two, coming through the field, really showed what a strong rider he is. It is a long season, but we have started well and that is important.