After an impressive display in yesterday’s qualification race on dry terrain in Uddevalla, Sweden, when Tim Gajser was able to finish second, the rain hit the track overnight and throughout the day, making things very difficult for both Gajser and teammate Ruben Fernandez as they finished just inside the top 10.
The rain created a very one-lined track, which meant passing was at a premium and also increased the importance of getting a good jump out of the gate. Unfortunately, Gajser wasn’t able to capitalise on his second gate-pick and instead had to make as many passes in the first few chaotic corners to give himself a chance of a decent points tally. In race one, that meant getting up to eighth, before an uncharacteristic mistake dropped him down to 13th. Stuck behind riders he’d normally have no problem passing, he was only able to make it up to 10th by the chequered flag in a frustrating race for the Slovenian.
Race two was a similar pattern, without the mistake, as Gajser was able to get up to fifth by the end of the first lap. However, with no further passes happening inside the top eight for the duration of the moto, it was another race that left the #243 feeling like he left some points on the table.
For Fernandez, the main goal coming into the weekend was to survive as best he could, given he spent his time since Finland recovering from the incident that saw him not line up for the second moto. A seventh place yesterday gave him a lot of confidence and he carried that through with two really impressive motos, as he went six-eight for eighth overall, strengthening his fifth place in the 2023 MXGP Championship standings.
Next up for the riders will be Arnhem in the Netherlands, which is a new track for the series, but one which will be a typical Dutch sand facility that a lot of riders have practiced at over the years. Apparently there have been changes made to bring it up to GP standards, so it will be interesting to see how all the riders adapt, where thankfully the weather is meant to be a lot nicer for this upcoming weekend.
Ruben Fernandez 70
"Honestly, I’m glad to get this GP done, and still score some good points. I didn’t have too many expectations coming into the weekend, but to have two races inside the top 10 was good for me and gives me some confidence for next weekend that I can do better, when I’ll be feeling closer to 100%. Both races were very similar, just riding solid, consistent laps without too many passes happening on this track meant I could concentrate on my own riding and do my thing. Arnhem will be tough but I have a bit more time to get ready and hope to have a strong GP."
Tim Gajser 243
"The start was so important here, with the only passes happening due to mistakes and unfortunately I was the person that made the mistake in race one. I didn’t get the best start in either race and tried to recover the situation as best I could but the mistake on the third lap really cost me. I fought back to 10th and that was as good as it could get. Race two was similar but I was able to make a lot of passes on lap one to get up to fifth, however once there, that was it for the rest of the race. There was nowhere to pass so I finished fifth. Not a great day, especially after my second place yesterday, but that was all that we could do."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager MXGP
"I don’t think the results were a fair reflection of the speed and effort that everyone in Team HRC put into the weekend. Ruben and Tim both rode really well, but this track didn’t allow many passes so it was difficult to show the speed that they had. The starts were 90% of the result and that is never good for the riders or the fans, but sometimes it happens and now we need to focus on Arnhem, which will be a completely different challenge but one we are looking forward to as it is a new track on the MXGP calendar."