MXGP Race 2
MXGP 2022
Round 14

Team HRC's Tim Gajser leads the MXGP title chase in Belgium

be Lommel

Feared by many and adored by some, the endless sand of Belgium's Lommel circuit hosted round 14 of the FIM World Motocross Championship this weekend as the gate dropped on the MXGP of Flanders.

Team HRC's Tim Gajser leads the MXGP title chase in Belgium

With the final round of the championship in Oman postponed until 2023, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser’s hunt for his fifth World Champion’s crown grows even closer. Gajser stated the weekend with a 125 point advantage in the championship and was hoping to extend his lead in Belgium.

In race one the Slovenian got off to a good start and quickly pushed into second place on lap one, but dropped to fourth by the end of the lap and dropped further positions on lap two to fall into sixth. Struggling to find a rhythm a lap 13 crash pushed Gajser further to seventh where he finished the race.

Despite a fantastic initial showing in Saturday’s qualifying race, Whilst holding third place Tim’s teammate Mitch Evans crashed hard on lap nine and took a big hit to the body. Sore from Saturday’s crash he started race one today and progressed well from 21st on lap one to 13th on lap six, but dropped to 19th by lap nine and was forced to pull out. Mitch didn’t start race two.     

Team JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi had a good first race today. The German sat in 10th place for the first half of the race and eventually finished in 11th. A good result for CRF450R racer. 

The ever-competitive MX2 class saw some fast racing today and Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Stephen Rubini didn’t make it easy for himself in race one. The Frenchman began lap one down in 18th place and battled hard throughout the moto to eventually come home in 9th. A decent result for a rider more accustomed to hillside hard-packed tracks. 

The gate dropped for MXGP race two and Gajser was looking to improve on his race one result. He rounded lap one in fourth place, but again struggled to find his natural flow in the treacherous sand. With the championship overall at stake the pragmatic approach was to settle for a good points score and retain the championship lead. Tim finished race two in seventh and leaves Lommel with a 122 point advantage in the MXGP class with four rounds to go. 

Although Henry Jacobi started mid-pack in moto two, he pushed hard throughout the race. He occasionally dropped positions, only to regain them and eventually finished the race in ninth overall. An improvement over race one. Jacobi finished the day in 10th overall. A good result for the German. 

Stephen Rubini suffered from a poor start in race two. He rounded lap one in 12th place and struggled to settle into a rhythm. Rubini tried hard to make progress, but the punishing sand, heat and humidity tool a big toll on the Frenchman. He finished the race 14th, which gave him 10th overall and amazingly just 13 points away from a podium finish.

Round 15 of 18 visits the hard-packed and undulating Swedish circuit of Uddevalla in two week's time.

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
I never really found a good flow in either race and when the track is as rough as it was, that makes things exceedingly difficult. I tried to push as much as I could, but the rhythm wasn’t there and it was more survival than racing. Obviously, I’m a little disappointed with the overall performance as I always want to be challenging for wins, so I’m going to use this weekend off to just make sure I’m ready for these final four GPs where I want to finish the season strongly.

Mitch Evans
Mitch Evans 43
Team HRC
Unfortunately, the after-effects from the crash yesterday were too much, and I had to pull off after about 15 minutes today. I’d actually moved through the field well, coming from near the back of the pack to around 15th but it took all my energy to do that, and I didn’t have anything left to give. Rather than risk further injury on a very tough track, I decided not to line-up for race two, and hope to heal up and get myself ready for the next round in Sweden in a couple of weeks. Thanks to all the support I received this weekend, it certainly hasn’t been easy, but I’ve learnt a lot and will continue to push hard for the rest of the season.

Henry Jacobi
Henry Jacobi 29
JM Honda Racing
After Saturday’s timed practice we worked hard to find a good bike setup and it worked really well. We didn’t change too much, but the small settings changes we made with my CRF450R made a big difference for the sandy conditions.  
My first race on Sunday was OK. I had a really good start in around fifth or sixth, but didn’t take the best lines on the first lap so I dropped to 10th place where I stayed for most of the race, but then lost one place towards the end. I finished in 11th, which was not too bad.
I felt that my second race was much better. I didn’t have a good start, initially in around 17th but I was able to fight for the whole moto to finish in 9th giving me 10th overall. I happy with that and look forward to the next races in Sweden and Finland. 

Stephen Rubini
Stephen Rubini 38
Team Ship to Cycle Honda Motoblouz SR
It was a hot and humid day today and the track was really rough, which is of course normal for Lommel. 
In the first race I found it hard to find my pace and rhythm, but once I had settled into my flow I felt pretty good and could actually enjoy my riding despite the track’s challenges. So I came back to P9, which is good for me as I didn’t give up or crash and pushed until the end. 
The second moto was harder. I did some good laps and pushed as hard as I could, but eventually I have to admit that I was empty.
I’m looking forward now to Sweden, which is track that suits me well. I just hope it will be well prepared to allow us to make creative passes. 

Gordon Crockard
Gordon Crockard
Honda Motor Co. Ltd
Tough one today for our men in the brutal heat and sand of Lommel. However positives were present. Henry Jacobi and Ivo Monticelli both performed above what was expected and showcased the JM Honda team well at their home GP.
Team HRC rider Mitch Evans was having a brilliant ride in the qualifying race holding down a strong third and pushing for second past his team mate Tim. With two laps to go he had a monster crash on the biggest jump on the track leaving Mitch banged up and not in a condition well enough to finish the championship races today.
Tim preserved his championship title chase and scored in both motos without taking unnecessary risks under such challenging conditions.
In MX2 Rubini scored good points inside the top 10. For Stephen he is not so comfortable in the deep Lommel sand, so to take these points is good for his championship position.
I think the weekend break ahead will be welcome by all who were punished today in that extreme physical race.
I look forward to Sweden and the more conventional terrain of the Uddevalla circuit.

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