Gajser sixth, as Fernandez walks away from Finland

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Ruben Fernandez leave Finland knowing that things can get better after a tough day of racing at the Vantaa circuit, near Helsinki. For Gajser, it was his highest points tally since returning from injury, but he is aiming for the level of performance which saw him dominate the 2022 MXGP World Championship and while this was a solid showing, he now has a couple of weeks to keep the upward trend and get even closer to that sort of level.

Team HRC MXGP Finland 2023 Tim Gajser

Fernandez will be using this weekend off to recover from a serious crash in moto one that thankfully saw the Spaniard avoid any serious injury, but meant that he had to watch from the sidelines as the second MXGP gate dropped. It was a shame because the #70 was third in the qualification race yesterday and was in fifth when a nasty kicker launched him over the front of the bike midway through today’s first moto. It was a big impact that saw the doctors immediately on the scene, but after a number of checks post-race, it was deemed that he was okay to leave the on-site medical centre under his own steam. Further hospital tests when he gets back home will determine his status but the hope is that he will return in Sweden.

Slovenian Gajser will also be using this break to recoup and assess his progress after three races in three weekends, on what has been a tough return to action after breaking his femur in February. The sand of Vantaa wasn’t as deep as Lommel last time out, but the tight layout, combined with the heavy rain that fell yesterday meant it was still a difficult track to negotiate, as he looks to climb back to the top of the MXGP podium.

Team HRC MXGP Finland 2023 Fernandez

The first moto saw the #243 gradually move up from eighth to sixth over the course of the 19 laps, while race two was a battle as he tried to hold onto fifth place, against riders who have won races in 2023. Eventually, he came home sixth, which gave him sixth overall and meant he left Finland knowing there is still work to be done in the remaining five rounds of this campaign. While there isn’t any pressure on specific results, the goal for the Honda CRF450R rider is always to be near the podium, and with more time on the bike, as well as more favourable circuits, that is certainly a possibility as the championship enters its final quarter.

Next up is Uddevalla in Sweden, which is a bigger layout on a harder surface, where Gajser has won twice previously in his career. Fernandez doesn’t have such a storied history there, but his main aim now will be to recover, and then once he’s on the start-line, he can focus on challenging for the podium alongside his Team HRC colleague.

HRC MXGP Ruben Fernandez 70

Ruben Fernandez 70

"Things were going well, until they weren’t. After a third in the qualification race yesterday I was feeling good about today. I had a decent start and was not too far from the podium spots and was preparing to put in some strong laps to finish off the race but when I came over the jump near the pitlane I hit a bit of a kicker and went over the handlebars. It was a big crash, but thankfully after getting checked out by the doctors, I was told there was nothing serious, just a lot of bangs and bruises. Now the plan is to rest up and have another check-up by the doctor sometime this week to make sure I’m back to 100% by the time Uddevalla comes around in a couple of weeks."

HRC MXGP Tim Gajser 243

Tim Gajser 243

"Another week and improvements were definitely made. Of course I’m not completely happy with the results but I can see progress and I can also see where things can be better, so that’s important. Now I have a weekend off so I can get some good practice in and just work on some things, so that hopefully I can be challenging further forward in Sweden, which is a track that I like."

HRC MXGP Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP

Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP

"It was such a shame to see Ruben crash out of the first moto, because he was doing well. He’d made a really impressive pass to get into fifth and then it was scary moment over that tabletop, so we’re just glad that he is okay, as his health is the most important thing. Tim also showed some good signs, putting in two consistent motos, even if he couldn’t quite match the riders in front. We know that is coming though and this weekend off will give both riders a chance to regroup and come out better in Sweden."

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