Team HRC are entering into the new motocross world championships with three riders on-board their Honda machinery as Tim Gajser and Ruben Fernandez are joined by young Italian, Ferruccio Zanchi, for what is a return to the MX2 class for this prestigious manufacturer.
Five-time world champion Gajser needs no introduction, as the Slovenian looks to add to his trophy-haul after an injury-hit 2023 campaign. The #243 did return later in the year and ended up winning two of the final three rounds, but his eyes have been firmly set on this year for some time and he will be looking to continue his winning ways, on what is a brand-new Honda CRF450R.
Both him, and teammate Fernandez have been strenuously testing the new machine over this winter period, making sure it is ready for all the challenges that a 20-round MXGP season can throw at it, and after considerable riding time, both are extremely happy with the results and are excited for the first gate-drop on March 9-10.
Fernandez is especially looking forward to heading down to Argentina again, and the fabulous facility in Villa La Angostura, as the #70 was victorious there last year, in what was his first-ever MXGP win. It was an important moment and one that really boosted the Spaniard’s confidence for the rest of the season, and now he’s once again feeling good as this season looks to get underway in the South American country.
It was a big step for Team HRC to be re-joining the MX2 class, but also a crucial one for the brand to be racing competitively on the smaller 250cc machines, and Zanchi was seen as the perfect prospect to lead this new venture for 2024. The Italian already has a couple of wildcard MX2 rounds under his belt, and was successful in the EMX250 class last year, and will now step-up full time in what is a completely blank slate for him and the bike. Both parties know that it won’t be easy to come in and challenge straight away, but both have put in a lot of work over this off-season to be ready for what awaits. This is seen as a long-term project to try and get back to the level that saw Gajser win the MX2 title in 2015, but everyone involved knows there is a lot of potential, and with the expertise and winning-mentality that Team HRC possesses, it will only be a matter of time before they are back where they belong.
So with two new bikes and one new rider, 2024 is shaping-up to be a very exciting season for everyone involved, but before the world championships get underway, there are two warm-up races in Riola Sardo and Mantova for trio to put their respective machines through their first competitive paces and make sure everything is ready for Argentina in just over one month’s time.