Team HRC’s Tim Gajser put his stamp on the 2023 World Motocross Championship by taking a thoroughly impressive one-one GP victory at the final round of the season, at the always amazing Matterley Basin circuit in Great Britain.
Ruben Fernandez also finished the season with a great third place in the second moto, as Team HRC’s Honda CRF450Rs went one and three, further proving the strength and speed that this duo possesses when they are both fit and healthy. A finish which also bodes well for the 2024 campaign, which the pair will now prepare for – after the Motocross of Nations – filled with confidence that they will be challenging right at the sharp end of this highly competitive MXGP class next year.
In race one, both riders rounded the first bend well-placed, with Gajser in third and Fernandez a couple of places behind. They were able to maintain those positions for the early part of the race, before Gajser swooped through into second after a mistake by the rider in front. He then began pressuring the leader for the next 15 minutes, trying everything to make a move, before finally getting the job done just before the two-lap board came out. Unfortunately, a couple of mistakes dropped Fernandez to sixth, but it was still a good ride and he knew he had more to give in race two.
Much like race one, the Team HRC duo swept around the first corner in the top five, ready to try and finish this season on a high. The #243 was especially in no mood to hang around, taking only a couple of laps to move into the lead, and quickly pulling out an unassailable gap, as he put in laptimes over a second faster than anyone else. Gajser eventually took the win by almost six seconds, producing his customary whip as he received the chequered flag.
Behind him, Fernandez was involved in a big dogfight for the other podium spots, and on the final lap, he made his move to get third, and fifth overall. Although he wasn’t on the box, it was still a great display of riding and after his third place in Maggiora last week, he can still be extremely proud of how he finished out the year.
Fernandez ended up in fifth place in the championship with one overall victory at the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina and four visits to the podium, while Gajser made it two GP wins, and three moto first places after his return from injury with eight rounds left of the series.
The pair now have a week off before heading to Ernee in France, for the Motocross of Nations where they will both be hoping to another successful weekend as they represent Spain and Slovenia in the MXGP class at this prestigious event.
Tim Gajser 243
"It’s great to finish this season with a victory. It is a massive confidence boost heading into the off-season and also for 2024 so I’m very happy to win and to go one-one and just have fun riding out there. The track was difficult in that second moto, but I enjoyed it once I got out front, got a good gap and could see where the riders behind were behind me. I’d like to thank all my team for all their hard work and all their support when I wasn’t at the races, this victory is down to all of them as well and it is really nice just to leave the last round of the championship with the win."
Ruben Fernandez 70
"I’m very happy to get third in that final moto. I kept with the riders in front and just put in consistent laps, trying to keep the tow and not make any mistakes myself. It was difficult early on the race, but to comeback to third, just a second behind second place was proof to myself that I deserved to be there and I’m on the right track to really be amongst the podium spots all the time. I must also say congrats to Tim for winning the GP and to the whole of Team HRC for a great year. We won the first GP and the last GP and had a lot of good moments in between and I really enjoyed working with everyone. The Nations is up next and I’m heading there full of confidence."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"Tim proved once again that when he’s riding to his best, absolutely no one can match him. The way he gapped the field in that second moto, when the track was at its hardest was amazing to watch and the one-one is the perfect way to head into this off-season. Also, a big congrats to Ruben for his third in race two and fifth overall, and fifth place in the championship. He has had an impressive year and has a really bright future ahead of him. We are proud of both riders and can’t wait for 2024 to begin. I am also proud of all the work put in by the team, both here and in Japan. It hasn’t always been easy but the entire crew works hard and put in 100% effort every day to make sure the riders are able to win, and that shows as we won the first and last GPs."