Round 16 of the FIM MXGP World Championship visited the southern Finland circuit of Hyvinkää this weekend where Team HRC’s Tim Gajser became World Champion for the fifth time riding the Honda CRF.
Located in the Uusimaa region, approximately 50 kilometres north of the capital Helsinki the fast and sandy circuit of Hyvinkää produced some spectacular racing in all classes with a partisan crowd keen to see some of the world’s best motocross racers battle for victory.
Although Honda’s MXGP riders had a good showing in Saturday’s timed qualification session the qualifying race didn’t go as smoothly; and with average starts Team HRC’s Tim, Gajser and Mitch Evans struggled to make passes and came home in sixth and seventh respectively. Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández was 11th, still recovering from a hard crash at the Czech GP one month ago.
In MXGP race one Gajser got off to a good start and rounded lap one in second place. Rubén Fernández was down in seventh place whilst Team JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi was in 11th. An early crash dropped Australian Mitch Evans out of a points-scoring position as he remounted and rejoined the race.
Gajser rode a sensible moto to come home in sixth - focused hard on protecting his overall championship position. Evans made his way up to 14th place at the flag showing good speed and flow, but Fernández struggled in the unpredictable sand, eventually finishing in 16th.
Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Stephen Rubini had a tough GP in Finland. The Frenchman was the sole Honda in the MX2 class this weekend and was still struggling with soreness from a big crash just one week before in Sweden. Rubini started race one in 18th place and managed to progress four positions to eventually finish in 14th. A slightly better start in race two allowed Rubini to flow a little better in the race and produce better lap times to finish in 12th.
The final MXGP race of the day brought high hopes and anticipation for Tim Gajser and Team HRC. The Slovenian needed to finish in eighth place or higher in the final race of the day to be crowned 2022 MXGP World Champion and as the gate dropped and the parade of riders hit lap one, Gajser had given himself some work to do. He passed the timing beam in 10th place on lap one and stayed there for five laps. Meanwhile, German fast-starter Henry Jacobi had launched his CRF450R into second place on lap one and looked comfortable. Fernández was in fifth. On lap six Jacobi began to drop back a little to eventually come home in ninth and Fernández retired on lap 10 having dropped down to 24th. Evans crashed again in race two and come home in 20th.
Gajser eventually calmed and regrouped on lap six to improve his lap times, which quickly showed in his race positions. As the end of the moto neared the soon-to-be champion moved into seventh place, which was enough to crown ‘Tiga’ MXGP World Champion - his fifth title riding the Honda CRF with Team HRC.
The World Championship now heads to St Jean D’Angely, France next weekend, for the penultimate round of the 2022 series,