MXGP Race 2
MXGP 2022
Round 10

Gajser extends his MXGP World Championship lead in France

fr Ernee

Nestled in the Mayenne region of north-western France, the scenic circuit of Ernée hosted round 10 of the 2022 FIM World Motocross Championship this weekend.

Gajser extends his MXGP World Championship lead in France

Although the start to the weekend witnessed blue skies and scattered cloud, reports of incoming thunderstorms and heavy rain materialised on Saturday, turning a near-perfect track into a morass.

Despite the track conditions the MX2 Qualifying Race went ahead without delay, but the MXGP class was delayed as some opted to skip racing, regarding it too risky to take part, whilst accepting their start-gate choice for Sunday’s races would be compromised. 

Team JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi and Ivo Monticelli opted to race. Jacobi lead every lap to win by over 16 seconds.    

Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Benoit Paturel raced to fifth at the finish. A great result for the Frenchman at his home GP.

Although a little drizzle appeared on Sunday morning, overall the track conditions were near-perfect for Sunday’s races. 

In the MXGP class it was drama at the first turn for Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Mitch Evans as another rider brought down a group of competitors. Gajser rounded lap one in 15th place with Evans down in 27th. Meanwhile, Team JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi (clearly enjoying the French circuit) rounded lap one in third place. Home-boy Benoit Paturel was in seventh and Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández was in eighth. 

Henry Jacobi rode a great race on his CRF450R. He stayed in third position for 14 of the 17 laps, only to concede one position at the end of the race to finish in fourth. Gajser pushed hard up into fifth place by lap 11, but a small tip-over lost him one position. He regained that position a lap later to finish the race in fifth. Rubén Fernández was seventh and Benoit Paturel was 14th after a crash on lap four dropping him from seventh at that time. Mitch Evans finished out of the points, but was fast enough to circulate with the leaders, albeit one lap down following his unlucky first turn crash. 

MXGP race two saw a cleaner start for all riders. Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández was in fifth place on lap one and Team HRC’s Tim Gajser was in eighth. Gajser made early progress in the moto and climbed up to fourth on lap seven, but a small mistake whilst battling for third lost the current red-plate holder time and he finished the race in fourth place and fourth overall, tied on points with the first podium finisher. 

Rubén Fernández battled well in the race to finish in fifth place and this gave him fifth overall. Fernández is currently sixth in the championship, with nine rounds to go. 

Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Benoit Paturel had a great start in race two, rounding lap one in third place, but an unfortunate crash put the home-rider out of the race and unable to finish. 

Team HRC’s Mitch Evens had mixed fortunes in race two. He started lap one in 14th place and pushed up to 10th by the finish to give the Australian 15th overall after a no-score in race one. 

Henry Jacobi had a disappointing race two, crashing out on lap 15 and ending his hopes for a podium result in France today. 

In the MX2 class Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s home-racer Stephen Rubini had an average start in race one, rounding the first lap in eighth place and set-about a tough push through the field into fifth place on lap eight where he finished the race.

In race two Rubini got off to a better start and came around the first lap in fifth position, but a high-speed crash at the start of lap three meant the home-rider had to retired from the race for medical check-ups, which proved to be clear. 

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
I’m a bit disappointed with those late race crashes in each of the motos, which cost me a couple of places but overall it was a good weekend after the difficult decision on Saturday and starting from the outside. My championship lead is back up to 73-points and I finally felt that my speed was at the level it was before Sardinia. I know that my starts really hurt my overall chances, and then to crash in the first turn made things really difficult but I came through well and made a lot of passes today so that felt good. Next up is Germany which is a track I enjoy riding so I am looking forward to heading there and getting back on the podium.

Mitch Evans
Mitch Evans 43
Team HRC
Once again it is a case that my results didn’t reflect my overall speed. I was involved in the first turn crash in race one and by the time I was able to remount I was right at the back of the field. Midway through the race I saw the blue flags so I let the leaders go by and slotted in behind the front two. From then on I kept right behind them matching their lap-times and feeling really comfortable whist doing so. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get me into the points but it gave me a confidence boost that I was able to run at the front. In race two I was again involved in a crash on the first lap and had to make my way up from 16th place. By the time I received the chequered flag I was in the top 10 so that was a good comeback but I still know I’m capable of getting a much better points total.

Rubén Fernández
Rubén Fernández 70
Honda 114 Motorsports
I had the last choice on the start-gate this weekend so this made my start chances quite difficult. Then in the first moto there was a big start crash which I was caught up in, but I didn’t fall. I was way back in around 20th place, but even during the first lap I managed to climb my way up into a top-ten position. From there I made some more passes and got into seventh place. It was a difficult track this weekend and hard to make passes. 
In race two I had a better start and made some good moves in the early turns. From there I just rode as consistently as I could considering the conditions. I finished the moto in fifth place and that was a better result. 

Stephen Rubini
Stephen Rubini 38
Race one was very good for me. I missed my start a little bit so had to push hard in the early laps. It was a good race though with solid lap times and I made some good passes.   
In race two I got an even better start and it was much better for me to be in this position. After about five minutes of the race I crashed just on the first turn. I lost traction at the front wheel and face-planted into the ground and twisted my body between my shoulder and neck. It was quite painful so I decided not to restart the race a get it checked out. I think I will be OK and it could have been worse. 
I’m getting mentally stronger now and believe more in myself and that my place belongs more towards the front of the race. This a big step up for me now and I'll use my confidence as a positive approach the next races.

Gordon Crockard
Gordon Crockard
Honda Motor Co. Ltd
Overall it was quite a challenging weekend, mostly brought about by the heavy rain on Saturday which changed the track from dry to very wet and muddy.
Henry Jacobi won the Qualifying Race, which showed he had a good feel for the circuit. He also managed a career best race result in race one today with a fourth place finish. Benoit Paturel also had a good Qualifying Race and finished in fifth. He backed this up in race one holding onto seventh place but was taken out and dropped to 14th at the finish.  
Gajser, Evans and Fernández were all caught up in a first turn crash in race one but Tim made a fantastic recovery to finish the race in fifth, despite two incidents that cost him time. 
Jacobi was denied a potential podium finish today with two crashes in race two. The second crash damaged his bike which lead to his retirement from the race. Paturel also crashed whilst in third place, which also spoilt his chances of a better overall finish. Gajser, Fernández and Evans had better results in race two and it was good to see Tim extend his championship lead today. 
The day started well for our MX2 boys with three CRF250Rs qualifying in the top ten.   
Stephen Rubini showed a good fighting spirit in race one and pushed hard to end the moto in fifth. He unfortunately crashed in race two and could not finish the race. It was a shame for Rubini as he was denied a potential podium finish today. 
Next weekend we’re racing in Germany where we hope to see less mistakes and points scores in both races to help our riders challenge for podium finishes. 

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