Round eight of the FIM World Motocross Championship visited the Italian island of Sardinia this weekend and the raging heat and deep sand of the Riola Sardo circuit proved to be an epic challenge for riders and machines.
In the MXGP class it was a harsh day for all Honda riders. Championship leader Tim Gajser came into the weekend with sickness and was very weak whilst trying to stay hydrated and salvage as much as possible from a difficult situation.
In race one Gajser took a good start and quickly moved into the lead. Dispute his illness and physical condition the Slovenian looked smooth and in control, easily leading the race until lap 16. Gajser cruised home in second place opting to take the safe points rather than risk pushing to win a moto that he didn’t need to.
Gajser’s teammate Mitch Evans had a good start to the day in race one, rounding the first lap in eighth place. By the mid-race point he found a good flow and began to pick-off riders and worked his way into fifth by lap eleven. His physical efforts though began to show and the heat bit hard towards the end of the race, dropping the friendly Australian out of a points scoring position.
JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi had a good start in race one and rounded the first lap in a solid fifth place. The German eventually finished the race in 13th position, finding the going very tough.
Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández also had a tough moto with an early crash and could only make his way back to 16th at the finish.
In race two Fernández had better luck and started lap one in fourth place, followed by Gajser in sixth. Fernández dropped to fifth but regained fourth and held onto this position until the mid-race point, eventually coming home in seventh.
Gajser suffered in race two with a crash on lap sixth putting the Slovenian down in 12th where he finished the race.
Mitch Evans’ bad luck continued with an early crash in race two which damaged his bike’s front brake lever and forced a retirement from the race.
It was also a tough day for Honda riders in the MX2 class as the combination of heat and energy-sapping deep sand took its toll.
In race one Norwegian rider Håkon Fredriksen battled hard, maintaining a top-ten positing until moving up to eighth on lap 10. He eventually finished the race in eighth place which was a solid result for #427.
Also riding the CRF250R Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Stephen Rubini struggled to make progress after a poor start. The Frenchman finished the race in 13th.
Rubini had another challenging start in race two rounding lap one in 13th place. He pushed his way up to 11th on lap two, but could only manage 12th at the finish.
Round nine of the championship visits Circuito Internacional Comunidad de Madrid, intu Xanadú-Arroyomolinos in two weeks time.