HRC showed its strength as Tim Gajser won the MX1 class at the Internazionali d’Italia in Riola Sardo, Sardinia with a dominating one-one performance, and then in what was his debut for the team, Ferruccio Zanchi rode extremely impressively to win the MX2 class after taking the second moto victory. Ruben Fernandez ended up sixth overall in MX1 after a pair of fifth places finishes.
Both Gajser and Fernandez got off to good starts in race one with Gajser pressuring the leader and Fernandez not too far behind him. On lap two #243 made his move and took over first position with the hope of pulling away. However, in what is his first race of the year, Gajser got some arm-pump and instead had to hold off a charging Romain Febvre for the entire moto before taking the chequered flag.
In race two, once again Gajser was in a good position early on, and once again he quickly passed for the lead within a few laps. But this time, the Honda CRF450R rider was able to pull well clear of the chasing pack and took the victory by almost 30 seconds.
Part of that pack in both races was Fernandez, who was involved in battles for practically the whole of both races as he was either looking to pass or hold off riders around him. In the end he had to settle for a pair of fifth place finishes, which is still a good result at a track that hasn’t always been kind to him in the past.
1. Tim Gajser – Team HRC – 1-1 – 50pts
2. Maxime Renaux – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory – 3-2 – 42pts
3. Romain Febvre – Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP – 2-4 – 40pts
4. Glenn Coldenhoff – Fantic Factory Racing MXGP – 6-3 – 35pts
5. Jago Geerts – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory – 4-6 – 33pts
6. Ruben Fernandez – Team HRC – 5-5 – 32pts
In the first MX2 race, having qualifyed fourth, Zanchi was down in 29th as they rounded the first lap after having trouble after the opening few corners. Still, that didn’t deter the youngster from putting his head down and working his way through the field at speed. Despite being in traffic, the Team HRC rider was the fastest guy on track for numerous laps and after putting in his best lap near the end of the race, he was able to make the move into fourth place. It was a great recovery and it still gave him a shot at a solid result if he could do the same again in race two.
This time, the first lap went much better and the #73 was quickly into third place. From there, he stalked the two riders in front, eventually picking off second place before setting his sights on the leader. Knowing that victory in the race would also give him the overall, he kept charging and with a few laps to go, he made his move and swept into the lead. It was a great moment for the 17-year-old on his debut with Team HRC to not only take the moto win, but also the overall and the perfect way to start this renewed CRF250R programme.
1. Ferruccio Zanchi – Team HRC – 4-1 – 43pts
2. Simon Langenfelder – Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing – 1-4 – 43pts
3. Oriol Oliver – WZ Racing KTM – 3-2 – 42pts
4. Quentin Prugnieres – F&H Racing Team – 5-3 – 36pts
5. Hakon Fredriksen – WZ Racing KTM – 6-5 – 31pts
Tim Gajser 243
"The first race was a real battle with Romain, especially as I got arm pump, but I was able to hold on for the win. Race two was a lot easier after I passed Glenn for the lead, and I was able to run some nice consistent laps and pull away for the win. It is always nice to get the overall and it was awesome to see Ferruccio take the win as well. A good start but of course I know there is the MXGP championship ahead of us, so the aim is to prepare for that."
Ruben Fernandez 70
"Riding here is always a tough day, but it is good to come here and get a couple of gate-drops and just to get that race feeling back. I had some good battles and I think I’ve improved in these conditions so that is the main thing and something I can build from, for when the real season begins in March. Mantova next weekend should also be another good test and hopefully I’ll be able to challenge a bit nearer the front. A huge congratulations to Ferro for winning this race! He rode amazingly well to take that win and I know he’s been working hard in the off-season and I’m excited to see what he can do in the MX2 class in the GPs."
Ferruccio Zanchi 73
"It is amazing to get the win here today. It wasn’t easy, crashing on that first lap in race one and picking up in last place, but I just kept pushing and pushing and was really happy to get up to fourth. I knew I had good speed and once I found myself in that position in race two, needing to win for the overall, I tried my hardest and made it happen! A big thank you to the whole of Team HRC for all the work and all the support. This is a great first race, but there is more to come!"
Marcus Pereira de Freitas HRC General Manager - MXGP
"A great day for everyone in Team HRC. Tim winning was great to see and shows he’s coming into this year really prepared and ready to start off the season strongly. And then for Ferruccio to win his first overall in his first attempt was amazing. When he came around the first lap in 29th position, we were just hoping he could ride well and weren’t focused on the result too much but he made it all the way up to fourth! Then in race two, knowing that a win would give him the overall, he rode so well and just kept it consistent and the other guys couldn’t match him. The perfect way to start 2024 off."