MXGP Race 2
MXGP 2021
Round 17

A challenging day for Team HRC and Tim Gajser in Italy

it Mantova

The FIM World Motocross Championship entered the penultimate race of the season today, this time at the arena-style sandy circuit of Mantova, Lombardia, Italy - 160km east of Milan.

A challenging day for Team HRC and Tim Gajser in Italy

Unprecedented in recent years, at the start of the weekend the top three riders in the MXGP class were separated by just three points with Team HRC’s Tim Gajser just one point away from the championship lead.

Gajser qualified in sixth place today, which gave him a mediocre choice on the start-gate. On occasions not having the best start gate choice doesn’t have major consequences, but Mantova’s notorious first (left) turn usually favours the very inside line as riders sweep from inside to out, cutting across left to right on the exit of the turn.  

In an eerily similar incident to the recent Motocross of Nations episode involving one of Team Italy’s riders, Gajser was slammed off the track in turn one. Unable to safely rejoin the track in the same place Gajser reacted swiftly to rejoined at turn two in sixth position and quickly made his way up to third place. He then secured second place on lap five.

Towards the end of the race lapped traffic played a role in bunching up the top four and in the melee Gajser lost a position and brought his CRF450RW home in third place, only to be docked five race positions following the first turn incident and subsequent rejoining of the race. This decision was a big disappointment to both the team and to Tim as it hampered their hard-earned position in the championship. 

Honda 114 Motorsports’ Ruben Fernandez had a fantastic first outing in the MXGP class as the likeable Spaniard battled for half of the race in fourth position and eventually brought it home in fifth. Fernandez was elevated to fourth place following Gajser’s relegation.

MXGP race two was another challenge for Gajser with the Slovenian buried in seventh position on lap one. Gajser worked very hard to bring his CRF450RW to fourth place by the mid race point and soon moved into third where he finished the race.

MXGP class rookie, Ruben Fernandez had another very encouraging outing in race two. The Spaniard completed his first full lap in ninth position and pushed ahead into seventh place on lap five where he finished the race. Fernandez finished the day in sixth overall looking fast and confident in the premier class of World Championship motocross.

In the MX2 class Honda’s entry was reduced due to the recent shoulder injury of Honda Racing Assomotor’s Stephen Rubini who will miss the Mantova races and Fernandez racing in the MXGP class. Fernandez’s team-mate Roel Rizzi managed a 20th place finish in both races to give him 20th overall and Honda Racing Assomotor’s Filippo Zonta took his CRF250R to 19th overall with two 18th place finishes.

Saturday’s EMX250 class saw Honda Racing Assomotor’s Emil Weckman finish in ninth overall going 11-9 in the races respectively. Weckman now sits in ninth place in the championship after missing three rounds due to a back injury he picked up in Holland. 

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
I am very disappointed with how today turned out. In race one, I got hit by another rider and that caused me to go out of the track and because of the way the track is designed, the safest place to get back on is where I went. I believed I was just outside the top five when I went out, and tried to re-join in the similar position, so as not to gain an advantage, but when I finished the race in third, I was told that I had a five-position penalty. It is not nice to have to try and come back from that when the championship points are so tight but I tried my best to regroup for race two and in the end, I came through to third again. There is still one round left so I won’t give up, as anything can happen, and I would like to thank all the team and the fans who came to support me this weekend.

Rubén Fernández
Rubén Fernández 70
Honda 114 Motorsports
We didn’t have too much time to prepare the bike last week because the weather was very bad, but overall I’m very happy with my results today. I have the same points as fifth place overall and just one point away from fourth, so I’m very happy.

I think I’m quite a big rider for a 250cc bike so it was very nice to have some more power from the 450cc engine. Sometimes it felt like too much so I had to take care and control the bike with the throttle, but I think I did well in my first MXGP race and hope to improve at the next races on Wednesday.   

Gordon Crockard
Gordon Crockard
Honda Motor Co. Ltd
Today has left me with such a mix of emotions. 

Very happy for the great 450 riding and results of Ruben Fernandez in his debut races having only a couple of days to prepare for his upshift from MX2 to the premier MXGP class.
And then frustration and sad of the outcome of Tim Gajser's day.

I feel the turn one incident of race one was a very unfair circumstance and hard to agree with the penalty issued.
Tim's riding and overall performance was excellent and not reflected in his results.

Poor starts and a turn two hold up crash cost Dylan Wright the opportunity to feature higher in the standings, but watching him claw through the pack shows me he has the speed to be comfortable inside the top 10. I hope we get to witness this on Wednesday when we go again for the final time in 2021.

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