Nested beneath the looming shadow of Mount Tambora The FIM World Motocross Championship visited the volcanic Indonesian island of Sumbawa this weekend.
Traditionally, the island is known as the source of sappanwood, as well as honey and sandalwood; and for witnessing the largest volcanic eruption in recorded human history, but it was Team HRC’s Tim Gajser who blew the roof off the MXGP class today with a double-win, adding a further 50 points to his 2022 GP tally.
Gajser holeshot race one and simply didn’t look back, winning comfortably by almost five seconds whist looking smooth and in control aboard his immaculately prepared CRF450R.
Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández also had a relatively comfortable race, rounding lap one in third position and staying there for the whole race. The Spaniard looked confident and fast throughout the race as he matures as a regular MXGP contender.
Although Mitch Evans struggled the whole weekend with severe stomach pain the Team HRC rider had a good outing in race one, pushing hard throughout the moto to recover from eighth position on lap one to sixth at the finish. Mitch’s return to MXGP racing after almost two years away with injury continues to see improvements race by race.
In the MX2 class the single Honda entry was carried by Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Stephen Rubini. Although the Frenchman featured in Saturday’s free and timed qualifying sessions, Stephen had picked up a stomach illness and had to miss Saturday’s qualifying race and take the challenging last gate-pick for Sunday's races.
In race one Rubini rounded lap one in ninth place but worked hard in the 32 degree heat to reach seventh by the mid-race point and finish the race in sixth.
MXGP race two saw Gajser battle in the early laps; initially in third and then briefly drop to fourth. Knowing he had the speed and stamina to win, the Slovenian took his time to work his way to the front; and by lap three ‘Tiga’ rode his CRF450R smoothly around the leader to head the race and take the win by almost four seconds and the MXGP overall win. Gajser now leads the World Championship by 125 points with seven rounds to go.
Gajser’s teammate Mitch Evans had a bettor start in race two and set-about a quick attack to push into sixth by lap two. The Australian kept up the pressure on his competitors and pushed into fifth place on lap five where he finished the race. Evans finished the day in sixth overall.
Rubén Fernández had a similar second race in Indonesia, but struggled a little to quite find the same flow as race one. He rounded lap one in fourth place and stayed in this position for the duration of the race, but his speed and consistency paid off with a third place overall finish and a well-earned podium.
For the final MX2 race of the day Stephen Rubini suffered from a poor start and struggled to make progress. An intermittent electrical problem left him with inconsistent power and opted for the safer option of avoiding jumping the larger jumps and taking the available championship points, albeit further down the field than he’d hoped.
Rubini sits in a comfortable eighth place in the MX2 Championship with seven rounds remaining.
MXGP racing returns to Europe for Round 13 in the Czech Republic in three week’s time.