MXGP Race 2
MXGP 2021
Round 8

Gajser retains MXGP Championship lead in Turkey

tr Afyonkarahisar

Following a three-week summer break the 2021 FIM World Motocross Championship restarted today in the western Turkish city of Afyon, 260km south-west of the country’s capital city, Ankara.

Gajser retains MXGP Championship lead in Turkey

Known for it’s high altitude, mountainous landscapes and hard-pack soil, the 1,021m (above sea-level) Afyon Motor Sports Circuit always presents an oxygen-starved challenge for teams, riders and bikes alike with its hot, dry, thin air.

Current MXGP World Champion and red-plate holder Team HRC’s Tim Gajser lined up on the race one start-gate in seventh position after struggling to find a clear lap in Timed Qualification. Although a good start-gate pick is important in Turkey, Gajser still managed to hit lap one in fifth position and set about an early battle with his rivals. Gajser worked hard throughout the race, but struggled with arm-pump and eventually finished the moto in sixth.

Riding the CRF450R JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi had a strong first moto today hitting lap one in ninth position and dropping one place on lap two, only to recover to ninth on lap 10 to finish the race in a well-earned ninth place.

In race two Gajser made amends and rode a masterful World Champion’s race making a pass to take the lead on lap eight and take the race win by 4.654 seconds. Team HRC’s four-time World Champion was third overall today and still leads the MXGP World Championship after eight rounds. 

Henry Jacobi struggled to find the same form in race two today, starting lap one in 12th position and finishing the race in 14th giving the German 11th overall and 19 championship points.

Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Ruben Fernandez also battled hard in the MX2 class today. 

In race one the Spaniard took an average start in ninth, but by lap four had pushed into fifth place and set-about a hard back-and-forth fray to eventually finish the race in sixth position.        

Still recovering from vertebrae and nerve damage in the shoulder, Team Honda Racing Assomotor’s Stephen Rubini worked hard in race one, starting the moto in 15th place, but pushing hard to finish in 12th.

Race two once again saw Fernandez push up to fifth place in the early stages of the race, only  dropping one position to sixth for the majority of the moto. A freak last lap crash though robbed the 22 year old of a points scoring position, dropping him to 13th overall, but still fifth in the MX2 World Championship standings. 

Frenchman Stephen Rubini took his CRF250R to 12th overall today backing up his first race 12th with a 13th in race two. 

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
That was definitely two completely different races today, but I’m glad to have finished on a high note with that victory. 

In the first race I just got stuck behind another rider for too long and couldn’t find a rhythm. When I did get past, the front guys were too far in front so I couldn’t catch them. 

In race two, I got a better start and was in third early on. I quickly moved into second and then a few laps later I moved into first. Once I was there, I was able to pull away a bit and control the race until the chequered flag. 

Overall, it was good and I’m excited to come back on Wednesday and try and get the win here.

Henry Jacobi
Henry Jacobi 29
JM Honda Racing
I didn’t manage a good Timed Qualifying time today, but I could still manage some good starts in the races. 

In race one I was fourth or fifth into the first turn, but chose a few poor lines early in the race and was pushed back some positions. I tried to push back towards the front and made some good passes. 

In the second race I spun-up a little off the start-gate but still managed to get to the first run in around 10th place. I then took a stone to my groin which hurt a lot and I struggled to breathe for one or two laps, so I had to let some riders by as I struggled to find my rhythm. 

Still not quite in the top ten at the end of the day, but I hope for a better Timed Qualification on Wednesday and then I can get even better starts. 

Rubén Fernández
Rubén Fernández 70
Honda 114 Motorsports
The day was going solid for me with sixth position in Timed Qualification, then sixth in the first moto. I was also holding onto sixth position in the second moto until I crashed on the last lap. 

I feel very disappointed with myself, crashing after working so hard. I was off-balance when I landed and the tyre lost traction and spun me around, so I went off the side of the track and damaged the bike so I couldn’t restart the race. 

The temperature was hot today, but not such a problem. The altitude though is a problem for the body and the bike as we all struggle for oxygen. It’s the same for everyone though and we have to race as well as we can considering the circumstances. 

Gordon Crockard
Gordon Crockard
Honda Motor Co. Ltd
Today here in Turkey we were missing a lot of our riders due to injuries they suffered in recent weeks, and at the same time we had riders Rubini, Weckman and Paturel return to racing at Turkey from time off recovering from injuries.

Tim Gajser winning the second Moto was my highlight, largely because he displayed the spirit of his best self.

Jacobi taking a superb ninth in moto one is really encouraging. This is very good to see.

The MX2 boys fought their best as always. Nice to see Rubini back in the mix and getting positive points on his comeback to better form.

I was so disappointed when Ruben crashed out of sixth on the last lap of the second moto. I’m pleased he is not injured and can focus to Wednesday’s race next.

I think all our guys who raced today have arrived back to the series restart well. Today will have provided important feedback to help be even better for Wednesday’s race.

The wait over the next couple of days will pass quickly and I look forward to Wednesday’s race day.

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