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.
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.