MXGP 2024
Round 1

Gajser victorious in Argentina qualification as Zanchi comes back for a point

ar Villa La Angostura

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser started 2024 exactly as he wanted, by winning the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina qualification races and taking the maximum 10 points available to him.

Gajser victorious in Argentina qualification as Zanchi comes back for a point

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser started 2024 exactly as he wanted, by winning the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina qualification races and taking the maximum 10 points available to him. Unfortunately, teammate Ruben Fernandez was involved in an incident on the first corner and pulled out of the race, but after being assessed by the medical team, he will try to line-up tomorrow.

The opening day of the 2024 championship started off well for the pair with Fernandez second and Gajser fourth in the free practice session. Then it was Gajser in third and Fernandez just behind him for the timed practice, which gave them the gate-picks for the afternoon’s qualification race. As in 2023, these races score championship points, with 10 for the winner, down to one point for 10th, although these aren’t included in the tally for the GP overall.

Both riders are on-board the new Honda CRF450R which has performed really well in the preseason races, and the #243 continued that by blasting out the blocks and sweeping into the lead around the first turn. And from there, he didn’t look back, gradually building out a comfortable lead and taking the chequered flag for the first time this year. After winning the final GP of 2023, it was great to see he has maintained that momentum and is back to the sort of form that has seen him win a field-leading four MXGP world titles.

Behind him around the first turn was Fernandez but the Spaniard didn’t make it any further as he was involved in a coming-together with another rider that forced him off the track. As a precaution he then rode to the medical unit for a check-up and after receiving their verdict, he will see how he is feeling tomorrow before making the decision on lining-up. It is a big disappointment for the #70 who is a fan-favourite here, and who won the 2023 round last year, and came here really excited to try and do it again. Instead, it will more a damage-limitation exercise, but Fernandez is highly motivated and will be sure to try everything in order to be on the line.

Before the two motos, they have a morning warm-up session to see how the track is shaping up and then the first GP points-scoring race of 2024 will take place at 13:15 local time. The second 25-point race will then take place at 16:10 which will determine the GP overall, with the qualification points added to it to decide who will have the championship red-plate.

Ferruccio Zanchi made his debut for Team HRC, with a come-from-behind ride through the field to come from 18th all the way up to 10th by the time the chequered flag came out. It was great to see the young Italian passing a lot of riders on his way and that should give him a lot of confidence that he can do the same in the two motos tomorrow.

The #73 started off the day with a 13th in free practice but improved significantly in the timed practice with an impressive sixth. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to use that gate-pick to his advantage but the one-point is still a solid beginning and one that he can definitely upon when the motos start tomorrow.

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
It was great to start of the season in this way. Winning is always a good feeling but this is only the first race of many this year, so while I’m happy, I’m also aware that I need to try and keep this level for tomorrow and for the rest of the season. The track was sketchy with the rain making it tricky with holes and ruts on the take-offs of the jumps but it was the same for everyone. Hopefully they can fix it a little bit and I can try and get an overall win tomorrow.

Rubén Fernández
Rubén Fernández 70
Team HRC
I was feeling good all day, posting good laptimes in free and timed practice. I had fourth gate-pick for the qualification race but as I rounded the first corner I came together with another rider and went off the track. As I tried to pick up the bike, I put weight on my foot and immediately felt pain so I lay down and waited for the medics. Eventually I felt OK and rode back to the pits and had it checked out. I will now see how it feels when I get to the track tomorrow, but I definitely want to try and ride and salvage some points.

Ferruccio Zanchi
Ferruccio Zanchi 73
Team HRC
It was a tough, but fun day. Obviously, this was my first GP as a full-time MX2 rider for Team HRC so I wanted to do well without putting too much pressure on myself. I was able to do well in the practice sessions but didn’t get the best start and I think at one point I was down in 18th place after a couple of early mistakes. However, I knew I could move up and soon found a good rhythm and began picking off riders every lap. As I moved forward, I was hoping to get into that top 10 and get a point and with a couple of laps I made the pass. Of course I want more, but that was still a good comeback and I’m excited for the longer GP points-scoring motos tomorrow.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
Team HRC
It was a mixed day, with Tim winning but Ruben pulling off after that incident in the first corner. Obviously we are delighted for Tim to go out there and show everyone what he is capable of, and that he is once again one of the riders to beat this year. At the moment Ruben has said he wants to ride tomorrow so we will try our best to make that happen and give him all the help he needs. He looked good in the previous sessions and I know he really wants to go out there and impress in front of this Spanish-speaking crowd so we hope he is able to do that. And then Zanchi overcame a bad first couple of laps to come through and get 10th place. We’ve seen him do it in the preseason races, but it was impressive to see him pass much more experienced riders in this moto and get himself a point. We are confident he can do even better tomorrow.

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