Team HRC’s Tim Gajser increased his lead in the 2022 MXGP championship by seven-points after a strong, charging performance at the Ernee circuit in northwest France. The weather on Sunday was much better than Saturday and that allowed the Honda CRF450R to sweep through the field and match the points-tally of the third-placed rider.
After Saturday’s qualification, Gajser was given 22nd gate-pick and although the Ernee start is a bit more wide-open than other tracks, he still wasn’t able to overcome that disadvantage and get through the first corner cleanly. Instead, he had to remount in 16th place after being collected up in a multi-rider pile-up. Putting his head down, he was soon inside the top 10 and moving forward almost every lap. With a quarter of the race left, he was closing in on the top three and given the speed he was carrying, he would have made those passes. Unfortunately, a small tip-over cost him valuable time and he instead had to settle for fifth.
Race two was a little better as he stayed upright but he was still in around 15th place as they rounded the first corner. However, on lap one, he was able to make a lot of passes and crossed the line in eighth place. Once again, he moved his way through the field, posting the fastest laptime of the race in the process and was soon challenging again for the podium spots, only to make a similar tip-over which cost him time and the chance of a race and overall podium spot. Instead, he finished with 34-points, joint-third but losing out on the second moto tie-breaker. However, it was still seven more than his nearest championship rival so his lead has gone back up to 73.
In what is becoming a frustrating pattern, Mitch Evan’s results aren’t matching the speed and effort that he is putting into the races. Like Gajser, he was starting from way outside and was involved in the same pile-up, but unfortunately with more severe consequences. The Australian almost crashed through the fence around the edge of the first bend, taking him some time to even get back to his bike and remount. This left him in last place and little chance to make any impact in the race, however he was able to salvage some pride, by sticking with the leaders after they came through to lap him. For the last quarter of the race, he stayed right behind positions one and two, matching laptimes and showing the huge French crowd his speed was as good as anyone’s.
The second moto started off a lot better, but then he was involved in a crash at the end of lap two, dropping him down to 16th. He fought back to 10th place but it still isn’t a fair reflection of just what the #43 is capable of onboard his Honda CRF450R.
Next week on June 11-12 is the familiar track of Teutschenthal, Germany in what is the third race in three weeks before the trip to Indonesia. Gajser won the overall there last year, so he is excited to get back to winning ways once again in 2022 and keep extending his MXGP championship lead.
Tim Gajser 243
"I’m a bit disappointed with those late moto crashes in each of the motos, which cost me a couple of places, but overall, it was a good weekend after the difficult decision on Saturday and starting from the outside. My championship lead is back up to 73-points and I finally felt that my speed was at the level it was before Sardinia. I know that my starts really hurt my overall chances, and then to crash in the first turn made things really difficult but I came through well and made a lot of passes today so that felt good. Next up is Germany which is a track I enjoy riding so I am looking forward to heading there and getting back on the podium."
Mitch Evans 43
"Once again it is a case that my results didn’t reflect my overall speed. I was involved in the first turn crash in race one and by the time I was able to remount, I was right at the back of the field. Midway through the race I saw the blue flags, so I let the leaders go by and slotted in behind the front two. From then on, I kept right behind them, matching their laptimes and feeling really comfortable while doing so. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get me into the points but it gave me a confidence boost that I was able to run at the front. In race two, I was again involved in a crash on the first lap and had to make my way up from 16th place. By the time I received the chequered flag, I was in the top 10 so that was a good comeback but I still know I’m capable of getting a much better points total."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"It was a difficult weekend to negotiate with the weather and the track conditions on Saturday, but I’m proud of both Tim and Mitch for focusing on their racing and trying to get the job done when it really mattered. We knew that it’d be a struggle for them to get round the first turn in good position after having the outside gate picks, but it was really unfortunate for them to both be involved in the first turn pile-up. Still, Tim and Mitch showed good speed and rode well in their situations. Race two was better for both and we know that it could have been even better, but overall, it was a strong weekend for Tim as he picked up seven valuable points in the championship battle. Mitch just needs a bit of luck and I’m sure we’ll see both of them up front very soon."