MXGP Race 2
MXGP 2022
Round 4

Gajser and Team HRC extend their championship lead in Portugal

pt Agueda

The scenic Portuguese circuit of Agueda hosted today’s FIM World Motocross Championship, the fourth round of the 2022 season.

Gajser and Team HRC extend their championship lead in Portugal

In the MXGP class it was Team HRC’s Tim Gajser who took his Honda CRF450R to a podium finish in race one after recovering from an average start. Gajser took time to build his speed in the moto and towards the race end he posted the fastest sector and lap times, bringing down a seemingly unassailable deficit in the early laps to just 2.5 seconds at the finish. The Slovenian finished the moto in third place, adding valuable points to his championship lead.

Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández had a brave ride in race one, completing lap one in tenth place and pushing hard throughout the moto to earn the Spaniard sixth at the finish. 

In race two Gajser took a better start and dropped immediately into second place. The 25-year-old showed patience and maturity on the challenging Portuguese circuit and close to the halfway point in the race easily took the lead, going not win by a comfortable five seconds. Gajser has now extended his MXGP lead to 21 points and the championship leader’s red plate stays on Team HRC’s #243 CRF450R for another GP. 

Rubén Fernández had a tougher outing in race two. Although he had a slightly better start, he struggled to settle into a rhythm and was suffering with pain after Saturday's crashes. He eventually finished the race in ninth after holding onto eighth for a number of laps.

Team HRC’s Mitch Evans finished the day in 12th overall after some luckless early laps in both motos making it hard work to cut through the disorder and roost further down the field. The likeable Australian went 15-12 in the races respectively as he continues his recovery from a 2020 wrist injury forcing him out of the entire 2021 season. 

In the MX2 class frenchman Stephen Rubini took his Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz Honda CRF250R to a great result in race one. He started in sixth place and pushed up to fifth by lap two, eventually finishing the race in sixth. 

In race two Rubini was tangled up in an early incident and started the race from last place. Within a lap he’d pushed up to 19th place and continued to pick off positions to eventually finish in 13th. A disappointment for the overall result, but showing good speed and potential to break into the top five as he looks for future podium results.

Round five of the 2022 FIM World Motocross Championship will take place at another beautiful location high in the mountains of Trentino, northern Italy next weekend.  All Honda riders will reset and regroup as the gate drops again on another Grand Prix and an opportunity for Honda teams to showcase their race-winning motorcycles at the highest level of motocross competition. 

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
I had a really good day today winning that second race and just really enjoying my riding on what was a difficult track. It wasn’t quite enough to take the overall but I am still very happy with how it went and how I was able to come out and perform in the second moto. The first gate-drop didn’t go so well and it took me a bit of time to get my rhythm and make the passes I needed and finishing third I knew it would be difficult to take the overall. Still, it was a good day, with a lot of fans cheering me on and it was nice to be back in Agueda because I really enjoy riding here. Next up is Trentino, which I’ve heard will be a different layout so that should be interesting for everyone. A big thanks to the team for all their work so far this season and let’s keep this momentum going!

Mitch Evans
Mitch Evans 43
Team HRC
Today definitely didn’t go to plan as both races were pretty much ruined after the first turn. I wasn’t able to come through it cleanly and that meant I had a lot of work to do in the rest of the race to even get to challenge the top guys. In race one I was 23rd after one lap and in race two I was 22nd so that tells the story of how my motos started. However, I didn’t give up in either race, keeping a good pace and trying to pass as many guys as possible. This resulted in 15-12 results for 12th overall, which aren’t where I want to be, but it still gives me a bit of satisfaction because of where I started. Hopefully next week in Trentino I can get better starts and show my speed nearer the front of the field, because that’s where I feel I belong.

Rubén Fernández
Rubén Fernández 70
Honda 114 Motorsports
On Saturday I felt very fast and comfortable with the track and really enjoying my riding. In the Qualifying Race I unfortunately crashed early on and then had another crash later on which was quite a hard impact and it took some time to get up on my feet. I also hurt my right thumb which was quite swollen and painful.

The Qualifying Race result meant that I had the last choice on the start-gate, but after all the setbacks I’m quite happy with my overall performance. I finished sixth in race one and ninth in race two to give me eighth overall. I felt some reduced body-power in the races and was in some pain and it showed in my results.      

I’m happy, but there is disappointment because I think I could have been fighting for a podium result this weekend if everything was right.  

Stephen Rubini
Stephen Rubini 38
Apart from the second moto overall I had good weekend. For the second weekend in a row I was in the top ten for the whole weekend and was feeling good and had a great feeling on the bike. 

I was a bit sick this weekend though and was struggling with my breathing quite a lot. It was quite painful in my chest to race at this level of physical output.  

I had a really good Qualifying Race to finish in sixth, then in the Warm Up Practice this morning I posted a good lap to give me second place so I was motivated for the races. The track was a lot more rutted and bumpy which I enjoyed a lot.

I pushed hard in Race One, but they watered the track so much that I ran out of tear-offs and had to start wiping my goggles and trying to avoid getting too close to the rider in-front because I couldn’t see so well anymore.    

Unfortunately I crashed early in the second race and started from last. It was so tough to make passes but I still managed to get back up to 13th. 

I was more aggressive on the track this weekend and more aggressive in the early laps and this worked well. We’ve also worked hard on setting up my CRF250R’s suspension to suit my riding style and the engine is also really nice and I’m very happy. It’s a very good bike and very competitive. 

I just have to build my confidence now. Each weekend I’m getting better and I think my place now belongs in the top five. I’m going to continue working towards this goal. 

Gordon Crockard
Gordon Crockard
Honda Motor Co. Ltd
Round four saw the welcome return of two of our injured riders in the MXGP class, still early in their recovery but good to see Ivo Monticelli and Benoit Paturel back on track.

The flip side of that was seeing both Ruben and Hakon getting injured at this round, however they both showed true strength to battle on through the pain and score points as well as their body permitted.
Stephen Rubini in MX2 made a tremendous Race One performance, even teasing me with the chance of taking third place at moments of the race. MX2 Race Two is where Hakon Fredriksen literally raced to 10th with the use of only his left leg, showing his Scandinavian hard mentality.

Ruben was amazingly fast this weekend. P1 in both practice and timed practice sessions, then unfortunately being a victim of physics and crashing out together with Tim on lap one of the qualifying race. Both riders in the lead at the time of unintentional contact. Ruben injured his hand and did not finish the race, meaning he was disadvantaged even further with last gate pick for Sunday's motos on top of the injury. His off bike behaviour indicated to me that he would not be able to start nor finish the races, but with some pain relief meds and a ton of grit and ambition, he rode as hard as he would being fully fit, scoring hard earned points and still being fast. It would have been extremely interesting to see how Ruben would have finished without the Saturday Qualifying Race incident and consequent injury. 

Kudos must go to Mitch Evans for his Race Two performance, battling to be comfortable with multiple months away from racing and still suffering with a dodgy wrist with reduced strength and pain during riding. He was on the floor in turn two on lap one and started dead last, getting to 12th at the flag is creditable.
Tim delivered another champion worthy performance, just a poor position at the end of lap one in Race One denied him another overall win in my opinion. He is riding very well and managing himself with great self control. On to the next one. 

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