As fans returned in huge numbers to the Lacapelle-Marival track in southern France, Tim Gajser had to fight hard for his podium spot, keeping him in contention for this highly contested 2021 MXGP World Championship.
Having not ridden here since 2010, the lack of experience of riding the tight, narrow and hard-pack circuit meant that Gajser was only able to qualify in sixth place and with starts being crucial, that proved a difficult obstacle to overcome as he tried to retain the series leading red-plate.
In the first race, he was blocked out from the riders inside and had to settle for coming round the first lap in ninth. He did make a couple of quick passes, but a small tip-over undid that hard work and he got back on his bike in 10th. Having to venture off the main racing line to make passes, he gradually worked his way through to sixth place, just seven seconds behind third, but he ran out of time and instead had to focus on doing his best for moto two.
He got off to a much better start in the second race, coming round lap one in fourth position but unfortunately he wasn’t able to get into third quickly enough to follow the front two as they pulled away. Eventually, he did make the move stick and that pass was good enough to grab third place on the podium. Despite a 35-point haul, he was unable to hold onto the red plate, and now sits just 10 points off the lead with six rounds still remaining. Next up for the series is the MXGP of Spain on Sunday 17th October, with the Intu Xanadu-Arroyomolinos venue hosting its second GP after a successful debut last year where Gajser finished second overall.
Tim Gajser 243
"I am so happy with how things went today, to come here just three weeks after surgery and get the moto win, the overall and the red plate is more than I could have hoped for coming into this weekend. A big thank you to the whole team who worked hard to get me feeling as close to 100% as possible and have supported me throughout, I couldn’t do it without them."
"It was a bit of a frustrating day here, despite ending up on the podium. I knew coming in that starts would be crucial because the track is so tight and narrow in a lot of places, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out of the gate well enough in either moto. In the first race I was around 10th place early on and it was just really difficult to make any passes, it was hard to find a good rhythm, but eventually I worked my way through to sixth, which was all I could manage. In race two, my start was a bit better but I couldn’t latch onto the top two and battle with them and so once I got into third, I was too far behind to catch them. Still, there are a lot races to come and I will now focus on next weekend when we head to Spain."
Mitch Evans 43
Out of Race - Recovering from Injury
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"It was a tough day for Tim, and I think the one-day format really was a disadvantage for us here because we just weren’t able to get the track time necessary to compete against the guys who have ridden here regularly. It was such a one-lined track and that made the motos difficult as Tim had to try and pass a lot of guys but he did his best and still came out with a podium. The positive thing is that we are still really close in the championship battle and with six rounds still remaining, there are a lot of points to race for and we are confident that Tim can bounce-back and challenge for wins once again in Spain."