The MXGP World Motocross Championship visited the popular and celebrated Italian circuit of Maggiora today. Situated 80km northwest of Milan, Maggiora’s super-steep hills and brutal descents provided a spectacular backdrop for a great day’s racing.
In the MXGP class it was once again Team HRC’s Tim Gajser riding the CRF450R who took maximum points from the day and retained the championship leader’s red-plate.
In race one the Slovenian took a good start, but had to work hard - making his way to the front around the mid-race stage showing patience and a Champion’s wisdom. Once in the lead Tim immediately opened up up a comfortable gap using the Honda’s power to great effect on the tricky hillside circuit.
Tim’s teammate Mitch Evans struck bad-luck on lap one getting tangled with other riders and had to battle his way back from the back of the pack to finish the race in 13th. Meanwhile Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández had a relatively routine race in seventh place for the entire moto, but still a great race result for the MXGP rookie.
Tim Gajser rounded lap one of race two and in third place once again, but this time the 25-year-old pushed into the lead on lap four, going onto win the race by over 20 seconds.
Rubén Fernández had a better outing in race two, rounding the first lap in seventh place and pushing up to sixth on lap six. Fernández eventually finished the race in fifth and also finished the day in fifth overall. He now sits in sixth in the championship, only a handful of points away from a top five place.
The friendly Australian Mitch Evans had a better showing in race two, pushing hard to make his way back from a mid-pack start to finish the race in sixth, giving Evans ninth overall.
Hats-off though to Tim Gajser this weekend. His 50-point haul from today’s win puts ‘Tiga’ 81 points ahead of the MXGP World Championship with just seven of the 20 races run. Today’s win was Tim’s 39th career GP victory.
Honda’s success in Italy continued into the MX2 class where Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz racer Stephen Rubini took his CRF250R to third place overall; his career best result and his first podium in the MX2 class.
Although the Frenchman struggled in the qualifying race, he got a great start in race one and rounded lap one in second place. Although at some moments a challenge for the lead looked possible, Rubini rode a sensible race a came home in a very comfortable second place, almost 13 seconds ahead of the third placed rider.
In race two Rubini had some work to do after rounding lap one in 10th. By the mid race point he was up to sixth, but lost two positions on lap 11 and regained those places by the finish. This was enough to gift the likeable Rubini with his first MX2 podium and a career best GP finish.
Round eight of the championship visits the deep sand of Riola Sardo in Sardinia next weekend.