Hot weather and deep sand provided a real challenge for the Team HRC duo of Tim Gajser and Ruben Fernandez, with both riders giving everything at this MXGP of the Netherlands.
This was the first time that Arnhem has featured on the world motocross calendar, and with a packed crowd cheering the riders on, it made for an epic occasion, with the sunshine helping the atmosphere. For Gajser, his focus was on trying to get nearer to the podium, which he believes is getting closer and closer, and with speed in the timed practice, he headed into today wanted to make that podium happen today. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get ahead of any of his major rivals off the line and while his speed was good, he was too far back in the first moto to challenge higher up once he got into fifth halfway through the race. In the second moto, a better start saw him up in sixth after the first lap, with him moving into fifth a few laps later. However, despite multiple attempts to pass the rider in fourth, he wasn’t quite able to make it happen and instead had to settle for another fifth place. This gave him 32 points and fifth overall, which is his best results since returning from his broken femur and further proof that he is moving in the right direction.
Coming into the weekend, Fernandez was still not where he wanted to be, after not being able to train properly since Finland. And things definitely didn’t get better in the first moto when he was caught up in the crash on the start straight. Picking up near the back of the field, he was then dead last after coming into switch his goggles, which were a casualty of the incident. But from 32nd position, he went on a charge, posting really good laptimes to move all the way into 17th place by the end of the race.
Race two went a lot better as he was in seventh place around the first lap, but with the tough sandy conditions, combined with the hot weather and his bumps and bruises, he was only able to finish in eighth place, rather than put in his usual charge through the pack. Still, it was a good result all things considered and with a weekend off to recover before Turkey, the Spaniard will be looking to finish the season as he started by pushing for those podium spots.
The Afyon track will provide a much different challenge for the pair when they next mount their Honda CRF450Rs, with the flat, hard-pack terrain meaning a totally different setup than they’ve been able to run in the last few weeks. However, both riders have had some good motos in Turkey in previous years and that’ll be their target when they return on September 2nd.
Ruben Fernandez 70
"It’s been a tough few weeks for me and today didn’t go to plan, with the crash on the first moto start straight. Picking up the bike in last certainly wasn’t ideal, and then coming into change goggles delayed me even further but my riding after that was good and I showed some good speed to make my way all the way back up to 17th. The second race went better and I was inside the top 10 off the start, but having used up a lot of energy in the first moto, I couldn’t push forward like I wanted to and ended up eighth. I’m glad to get through it though and I’m glad for another weekend off to recover from this event and hopefully by the time we reach Turkey I’ll be much closer to 100%."
Tim Gajser 243
"Overall, even though it is my best points haul since I returned from injury, I wanted higher and to challenge with the podium guys so I’m not 100% happy to only finish fifth. My riding was good today and we improved a lot and worked on some things that will definitely help in the future so it was positive and really, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I felt I could have got a couple of extra points in the second moto and came close to the pass for fourth, but couldn’t quite make it happen. It is another step up though and for that I am looking forward to Turkey which is a track I’ve done well on before and should be good after a weekend off."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"Tim is showing some much more consistent form and while he hasn’t quite been able to challenge for the podium spots just yet, he is definitely trending in the right direction and that excites us for Turkey and the last few rounds because he definitely likes those tracks. Ruben had a much tougher day, with that crash off the start really making things difficult for him, but he never gave up and really rode well. Our plan for him is to just make sure he comes into Turkey feeling as good as possible and finish this season off strongly."