【2021 End Of Season Review】Tim Gajser finishes third place in the standings

A delayed start to the 2021 World Motocross Championship meant that the series had to finish in mid-November after an intense run of races which saw the last eight rounds take place in just six weekends.

【2021 End Of Season Review】Tim Gajser finishes third place in the standings

 It was one of the closest championship run-ins in recent memory, with Team HRC’s Tim Gajser falling just short of his target of becoming a five-time world champion, finishing only 20 points off the lead for third place in the standings.

The season got off to an excellent start in Russia on June 13th (like 2020, the races would take place on a one-day format) with Gajser sweeping through the field for a dominating one-one performance, taking the championship red-plate in the process. He then won another moto at the second round in Great Britain, further extending his lead and combined with Honda 114 Motorsports rider, Ruben Fernandez’s excellent results in the MX2 class, it meant that Honda headed to the third round at the majestic Maggiora, Italy with red-plates in both classes. This was the first time this achievement had happened for a number of years and was testament to how well both the CRF450RW and the CRF250R perform at the highest level of motocross racing in 2021.

A further GP victory followed at the sandy circuit of Oss in the Netherlands in round four, a venue which was new to the series and one which proved how good Gajser and the team were working in a multitude of terrain. He maintained his lead over the next few rounds, putting in consistent results despite a few strokes of bad luck before the championship headed off to Turkey for the first double-header of the season.

Winning two of the four motos, the Honda rider had increased his lead to 28 points with half of the season left to race, but disaster struck on his return to Europe. A crash in a training session left him requiring surgery and with only seven days before the next round – at the brutally tough Riola Sardo track in Sardinia – it would require a herculean effort for Gajser to make the start line. After some invaluable physio sessions in the week, the #243 somehow made it to the gate-drop, only for a crash in the first turn of race one to get him off to the worst possible start. However, he fought his way back to 19th for two valuable points before putting in an incredible ride to finish eighth in race two, somehow managing to overtake riders despite intense pain. Amazingly, he left the Italian island just one point off the championship lead and with a couple more weeks to recover, he was still very much in the title fight.

A mid-season Motocross of Nations allowed Gajser a weekend off before heading to Teutschenthal in Germany, a favourite track of the #243, and he showed his skill in the rutted hard-pack by recording three-one results to take the overall victory and reclaim the red-plate in the process.

Unfortunately, this was the last time Gajser would be in the championship lead as small things started to go against him. The next round in France at Lacapelle-Marival had been ridden by all of his rivals but was new to the CRF450RW rider and with the one-day format giving little chance to ‘catch-up’, he was unable to match the pace and had to settle for third on the podium. An inopportune crash in Spain when trying to take second place, instead dropped him to fourth and that point swing also lost him momentum heading into the final five rounds which would be split between Trentino (three) and Mantova (two).

With four motos to decide the fate of the title, Gajser’s chances essentially ended after just one corner of the first race as he was hit off the track and forced to re-join further along the course. He was deemed to have gained an advantage, despite waiting for a number of riders to pass, and subsequently docked five positions by the FIM. This meant that he headed into the final round 15 points behind the leader and 12 points behind the rider in second place.

Despite a second overall at the final MXGP of the Cittá di Mantova, - his 13th podium in 18 rounds – Gajser had to settle for a bronze championship medal, as he was unable to repeat his 2019 and 2020 MXGP title success. But with 2022 just around the corner, ‘Tiga243’ will be doubling his efforts to get back to the top step when the season starts at the end of February.

There was good news from the final two rounds though as previous MX2 red-plate holder Ruben Fernandez made his MXGP debut, posting extremely impressive results including a fourth place in his first ever moto on the Honda CRF450R. It was a positive effort from the Spanish rider and one that should give him confidence as he heads back to MX2 for 2022.

Team HRC should have their full line-up back on track next year as Australian Mitch Evans will make his expected return to action after missing the whole 2021 season through a wrist injury. He’ll be hoping to get back to the sort of form that saw him challenge for podium positions in 2020.

  • Standings
Pos. Rider Num. チーム Constr. Pts
1 Jeffrey HERLINGS 84 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 708
2 Romain FEBVRE 3 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 703
3 Tim GAJSER 243 Team HRC Honda 688
4 Jeremy SEEWER 91 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Yamaha 566
5 Jorge PRADO 61 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 562
6 Antonio CAIROLI 222 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 545
7 Glenn COLDENHOFF 259 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Yamaha 442
8 Pauls JONASS 41 Standing Construct GASGAS Factory Racing Team GasGas 391
9 Thomas Kjer OLSEN 19 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna 332
10 Alessandro LUPINO 77 MRT Racing Team KTM KTM 319
11 Ben WATSON 919 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Yamaha 300
12 Brian BOGERS 189 Standing Construct GASGAS Factory Racing Team GasGas 290
14 Calvin VLAANDEREN 10 Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing Yamaha 203
15 Henry JACOBI 29 JM Honda Racing Honda 188
16 Brent VAN DONINCK 32 Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing Yamaha 152
17 Shaun SIMPSON 24 SS24 KTM MXGP KTM 126
18 Alberto FORATO 303 SM ACTION RACING TEAM YUASA Battery GasGas 119
19 Arnaud TONUS 4 hostettler Yamaha Racing Yamaha 119
20 Benoit PATUREL 16 Honda SR Motoblouz Honda 110
21 Kevin STRIJBOS 22 Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing Yamaha 106
22 Arminas JASIKONIS 7 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna 103
23 Tom KOCH 226 KTM Kosak Team KTM 76
24 Dylan WRIGHT 109 Honda 114 Motorsports Honda 75
25 Mathys BOISRAME 172 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 62
26 Ruben FERNANDEZ 70 Honda 114 Motorsports Honda 56
27 Ivo MONTICELLI 128 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 54
28 Alvin ÖSTLUND 161 JK Racing Yamaha Yamaha 50
29 Valentin GUILLOD 92 hostettler Yamaha Racing Yamaha 49
30 Lorenzo LOCURCIO 183 JD GUNNEX KTM Racing Team KTM 47
31 Vsevolod BRYLYAKOV 18 JWR Racing Honda 45
32 Adam STERRY 811 Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee KTM 39
33 Jordi TIXIER 911 JT911 KTM Racing Team KTM 33
34 Cyril GENOT 105 KTM Sarholz Racing Team KTM 15
35 Josh GILBERT 326 Josh Gilbert Husqvarna 11
36 Jose BUTRON 17 JD GUNNEX KTM Racing Team KTM 11
37 Evgeny BOBRYSHEV 777 PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna Husqvarna 6
38 Lars VAN BERKEL 107 Honda SR Motoblouz Honda 5
40 Nathan WATSON 991 Honda SR Motoblouz Honda 4
42 David PHILIPPAERTS 15 Yamaha Yamaha 3
43 Hardi ROOSIORG 75 KTM KTM 1
44 Anton GOLE 297 Husqvarna 1
45 Morgan LESIARDO 44 Morgan Lesiardo Honda 1
46 Todd KELLETT 998 hostettler Yamaha Racing Yamaha 1

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