Team HRC are entering into the new motocross world championships with three riders on-board their Honda machinery as Tim Gajser and Ruben Fernandez are joined by young Italian, Ferruccio Zanchi, for what is a return to the MX2 class for this prestigious manufacturer.
Five-time world champion Gajser needs no introduction, as the Slovenian looks to add to his trophy-haul after an injury-hit 2023 campaign. The #243 did return later in the year and ended up winning two of the final three rounds, but his eyes have been firmly set on this year for some time and he will be looking to continue his winning ways, on what is a brand-new Honda CRF450R.
Both him, and teammate Fernandez have been strenuously testing the new machine over this winter period, making sure it is ready for all the challenges that a 20-round MXGP season can throw at it, and after considerable riding time, both are extremely happy with the results and are excited for the first gate-drop on March 9-10.
Fernandez is especially looking forward to heading down to Argentina again, and the fabulous facility in Villa La Angostura, as the #70 was victorious there last year, in what was his first-ever MXGP win. It was an important moment and one that really boosted the Spaniard’s confidence for the rest of the season, and now he’s once again feeling good as this season looks to get underway in the South American country.
It was a big step for Team HRC to be re-joining the MX2 class, but also a crucial one for the brand to be racing competitively on the smaller 250cc machines, and Zanchi was seen as the perfect prospect to lead this new venture for 2024. The Italian already has a couple of wildcard MX2 rounds under his belt, and was successful in the EMX250 class last year, and will now step-up full time in what is a completely blank slate for him and the bike. Both parties know that it won’t be easy to come in and challenge straight away, but both have put in a lot of work over this off-season to be ready for what awaits. This is seen as a long-term project to try and get back to the level that saw Gajser win the MX2 title in 2015, but everyone involved knows there is a lot of potential, and with the expertise and winning-mentality that Team HRC possesses, it will only be a matter of time before they are back where they belong.
So with two new bikes and one new rider, 2024 is shaping-up to be a very exciting season for everyone involved, but before the world championships get underway, there are two warm-up races in Riola Sardo and Mantova for trio to put their respective machines through their first competitive paces and make sure everything is ready for Argentina in just over one month’s time.
Tim Gajser 243
"I can’t wait for this season to get underway. I found my form at the end of last year and since then we’ve had a new bike which is great to ride and I’m looking forward to going out there and showing it. The off-season has been good, with a lot of extra stuff but I’ve been able to get in the riding I’ve needed to do and basing myself in Sardinia for a month or so has worked out well so that I can really train how I need to. The team have been working hard alongside me to help get everything to where it needs to be, and now we are just looking to get to that first gate drop and getting this 2024 season started."
Ruben Fernandez 70
"I’ve been really impressed with this new bike and it’s been fun getting it setup how I want it and working how I want it for the season ahead. Obviously, I started off 2023 by winning in Argentina and it would be great to start 2024 off with a bang as well, but the goal is to have more strong moments, and be consistently challenging up the front. The fact we have two Spanish GPs now, with one close to my home is great for me and I’m really looking forward to the new round in Galicia, and there are actually a lot of races I believe I can do well at."
Ferruccio Zanchi 73
"This is such a great moment for me. It is what every young rider wants to achieve when they first get on a motocross bike – to ride for Team HRC. However, this moment is just the start, and I know that the real work starts now. It is a great honour to be the person they chose to lead the renewal of this CRF250R programme, but I know that I need to give it 100% effort to make sure that this year, and the coming years will be successful for both myself and the machine. I want to thank all the people close to me who helped make this possible and I’d also like to say hello to all the Honda fans around the world who I’ll now be representing on the track. I look forward to meeting you and hopefully I can do you proud in the races."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas HRC General Manager - MXGP
"It has been a lot of work this off season, getting everything ready as we have a new CRF450R, and we are back working with the CRF250R again, plus we have a new rider with Ferruccio, so everyone has been very busy making sure we are as prepared as possible for this upcoming campaign. A big thanks to the team in Japan and everyone here who has been making it all happen and a big thanks to all our sponsors for working alongside us to help us with this project. I really can’t wait to see all three riders on the track, because they are all at different, but exciting points in their careers and it has the potential to be a great year for Team HRC."