In stark contrast to the deep sand of Lommel two weeks ago, Round 15 of the FIM World Motocross Championship visited the fast and hard-packed circuit of Uddevalla, Sweden this weekend.
Saturday’s MXGP Qualifying Race provided some exciting track action from Team HRC’s Mitch Evans and championship leader Tim Gajser. Entering lap one, Australian Evans lead the race, closely flowed by the Slovenian Gajser, both on their immaculately prepared CRF450Rs. On a strong pathway back to form, Evans lead every lap and won the race by almost 2.5 seconds. Gajser came home in second place giving Team HRC’s teammates first and second start-gate choices for Sunday’s races.
Sunday's MXGP race one saw Evans quickly ran out of luck with a tip-over and spin-around on turn three, lap one, which put him down in 27th. Gajser rounded lap one in fourth place and despite often setting the fastest sector times he didn’t manage to progress further up the field and came home in fourth, still with a considerable lead in the championship.
Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández had a poor start in race one and pushed up to 10th place, but suffered a small crash on lap 12 which pitched him down to 17 at the finish. Mitch Evans rode a hero’s race to eventually finish in 10th, running out of tear-offs with 10 laps to go - hampering his vision.
Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Stephen Rubini had a nasty crash on lap one of Saturday’s MX2 Qualifying Race. Although the Frenchman visited hospital for a checkup he made it onto Sunday’s start-line and rode a very brave moto, entering lap one in 13th position and battling his way up to ninth at the finish.
MXGP race two and Mitch Evans was keen to show his qualifying speed. Although he didn’t quite get the start he was hoping for he soon settled into a good pace and was challenging to move up the field. As the race developed Evans levelled off and eventually brought it home in fourth, having maintained this position for the whole race, such was the nature of the difficult-to-pass track.
Tim Gajser had a slightly better start in race two and quickly moved into second place. Although there were many lines on the track, often the ruts and berms came together on the exits of the turns, so passing was tough. Tim tried hard to ride smart and protect his championship lead, whilst chasing a pass to take the win. At the flag Gajser crossed the line in second place giving him second overall and a championship lead of 115 points with a maximum of 150 points remaining over the next three Grands Prix.
Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández had a difficult weekend returning from a big crash in Czech Republic. The Spaniard went 17-13 today to give him 16th overall.
MX2 race two and Stephen Rubini had another battle on his hands. Very sore from Saturday’s crash Rubini had a poor start, but still made up seven positions during the race to eventually finish in 12th, giving him 11th overall. Worth mentioning is, with eight more points he would have been fifth, such is the unpredicability of MX2 competition.
In one week’s time the MXGP tour visits Hyvinkään in Finland where Honda riders will once again do battle and strive for success. Team HRC’s Tim Gajser will be hoping to add even more pressure to his rivals as he challenges for his fifth World Champion’s title riding the ever-competitive Honda CRF machines.