Gajser gives himself winning opportunity for Flanders GP

2022-08-02 09:13
A strong second place in the MXGP of Flanders qualification race sets Team HRC’s Tim Gajser up nicely for a chance to win his fourth GP here in the deep sand of Lommel, known as the toughest track on the calendar. Unfortunately, teammate Mitch Evans had a crash whilst running in an impressive third place and remounted well down the field.

After a free practice session where the #243 was over a second ahead of his nearest rival, he then backed it up with a second place in timed practice. However, that could have quite easily been a first if yellow flags hadn’t temporarily slowed him down whilst posting his fastest laptime. With second gate-pick in qualification, the Honda CRF450R rounded the first turn inside the top five and quickly set about moving up the field. Within a lap, he was in second, but despite numerous quick sectors, he was unable to put in a move for the lead and will once again have second gate-pick for tomorrow’s point scoring motos. And with the cancellation of the MXGP of Oman, his 125-point lead in the championship is now even more secure as there are now only five rounds remaining, starting tomorrow.

Given that this was Evans’ first GP in Lommel, the Australian showed that he can easily adapt to any condition, as he improved throughout the day and showed he is one of the best sand riders in the world. A free practice time just under three seconds behind the leader was an inauspicious start, but he quickly made some changes and in timed practice the gap to leader was just 0.5 seconds in third place. With a good gate-pick he was able to follow Gajser through into third place on lap one and despite not having any race experience here, he was able to maintain a pace just behind his Team HRC teammate and looked comfortable in the process. As the race was coming to an end, a mistake on the big triple cost the Australian his third place, and by the time he remounted, he was right at the back of the field as he crossed for the chequered flag. It was a disappointing end, but an otherwise great performance for his first time out, and he’ll be hoping to do the same in the races tomorrow, when conditions should be even hotter and even tougher.

Tim Gajser 243

Lommel is always a tough day, but overall it went okay, with me second in both timed practice and the qualification race. The track was pretty flat early on today, but by the time our race came around, it was technical and typical Lommel conditions. The hot temperatures didn’t make it any easier and it should be even hotter tomorrow so I just kept a good pace and tried not to expend any unnecessary energy. I think my speed and fitness is good, so if I can grab two good starts, I believe I can add to my three overalls here and give all my fans a lot to cheer about.

Tim Gajser

Mitch Evans 43

I am pretty disappointed to crash out from the qualification race when I was in third, and I was riding so well. I just hit the jump in a bad position and I had to bail from the bike and that was all I could do. I did end up finishing the race but down in 27th position so that was disappointing, because before that I was riding a good speed and just hammering out consistent laptimes. Considering it was my first race here, I feel like I put in a very good showing.

Mitch Evans

Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager - MXGP

It was great to see our two Team HRC riders running second and third and showing the speed of the Honda CRF450R in these difficult conditions. Tim did all he needed to do, giving himself second gate-pick for tomorrow’s motos and if he gets out the gate well, he could easily win this event, given the form he is in. Unfortunately, Mitch had a crash with just a couple of laps remaining, whilst running in third and took a long time to get going. He was riding so well before that though and made such an improvement from the first free practice to this race that we were very excited to see how he would do tomorrow.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

Qualification Race
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 Seewer Jeremy 91 SWI Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team 25:22.933
2 Gajser Tim 243 SLO Team HRC - MXGP 0:05.405
3 Prado Garcia Jorge 61 SPA Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing 0:20.582
4 Vlaanderen Calvin 10 NDL Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing 0:21.627

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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