MXGP Race 2
MXGP 2022
Round 15

Gajser podiums in Sweden as Mitch Evans returns to form

se Uddevalla

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.

Gajser podiums in Sweden as Mitch Evans returns to form

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.

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
To come away with second overall is a solid result, but it was a little frustrating because the track was just so difficult to pass on. In both races, there wasn’t a pass in the top five after the first lap, so when I didn’t get the best start in race one, it really hurt my chances to win my ninth overall of the season. However, it is another race down and I’m still in a really strong position in the championship so I just need to keep the level high and aim for the win in Finland next weekend.

Mitch Evans
Mitch Evans 43
Team HRC
After winning yesterday’s qualification race, I really felt like I could have been on the podium today, but unfortunately I made a small mistake on the first lap of race one and that cost me. I fought back from near the back of the field, and worked my way up to 10th, which on this track wasn’t easy, so that was a good recovery, but I really hoped for more. Still, in race two, I made up for that with a strong fourth place finish, my best moto result of the season so that felt really good and gives me confidence that I can battle for the podium spots in these last three GPs of the season.

Stephen Rubini
Stephen Rubini 38
After Saturday’s crash I was in so much pain that I was unsure if I would ride on Sunday. It was such along weekend for me. My neck and shoulders hurt so much. In fact my whole upper body hurts. The worse thing was trying to race like this, but I knew there could be some good points so I tried my best and came away with 11th overall. It was a tough, long and painful weekend and I’m not sure so many riders would race with how I felt, but I did it and I’m proud of myself for getting through the weekend. I will try to get some physiotherapy and try my best in Finland.  

Gordon Crockard
Gordon Crockard
Honda Motor Co. Ltd
In general the performance of all our Honda riders has been good this weekend with some riders returning from injury and  putting themselves straight back into the top positions.  
Tim Gajser delivered a very mature set of races and takes himself closer to the World Championship victory that we feel he deserves so much. 
Mitch Evans came back from his injury from the previous round and really performed above what was expected, showing great form and great strength in his riding. 
Rubén Fernández was still suffering with some discomfort and pain from his crash at the recent Czech Grand Prix, however today was necessary as part of the rebuilding process back to his best.
Henry Jacobi suffered unfair DNFs - race one was from a collision with another rider that destroyed his exhaust pipe and he could not continue. Then in race two he had a crash which also ended his race.
In MX2 Stefan Rubini showed fantastic form on Saturday but had a crash in the qualification race leaving him with neck pain and great discomfort. Stephen showed his determination by fighting through the pain to score a top 10 result at this Grand Prix.

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