On his 25th birthday, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser ‘lit the candles’ above the Afyonkarahisar finish line to take the second moto victory, securing second overall and more than doubling his MXGP championship points lead in the process.
In what was the second event held at the Turkish city following on from Sunday’s epic encounter, Gajser put in another immense ride to storm through his rivals and seal the victory on a track that was previously proving difficult to make any gap on.
In moto one, the Slovenian didn’t get his best start, but carved his way through the field on the first lap to quickly find himself in fourth place. Despite multiple attempts, he wasn’t able to improve his position, except for another rider crashing in front of him, and as the laps ticked down, it looked like that was how the remainder of the race would play out. However, there was drama on the last lap as the leader crashed, but as quickly as Gajser was in second, an outside line choice dropped him back to third where he frustratedly crossed the line.
Like on Sunday, this added extra motivation for the second gate drop and the Honda CRF450RW swept across the holeshot already in third place. Riding an incredible pace, the top three pulled away, with Gajser determined not to give the riders in front any breathing space. His pressure eventually paid off as on lap seven he forced his way into second, after a couple of back-and-forth corners. Knowing he had to keep pushing, he was quickly into first place within two laps and that’s when he really showed his full potential on this slightly-changed Afyon track. Dropping his laptime five laps in a row, Gajser pulled clear of his rivals, with laptimes over half-a-second quicker than anyone else, allowing him to cruise to the finish line over five seconds ahead.
His three-one results weren’t quite good enough to claim the top spot on the podium but they were enough to increase his championship lead from 13-points to 28 at what is the halfway point of the season; a well-deserved birthday present.
The series now takes a weekend off, before heading to the Italian isle of Sardinia for round 10 on Sunday 19th September. Riola Sardo is the venue which although it will be new to the MXGP calendar, it is a track that Gajser has ridden plenty of times during his winter preparation and it is one that he enjoys and gives him another opportunity to win more motos and potentially increase his points lead even further.
|1||Herlings Jeffrey||84||NDL||25||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||34:31.387|
|2||Cairoli Antonio||222||ITA||22||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||0:00.494|
|3||Gajser Tim||243||SLO||20||Team HRC - MXGP||Honda||0:02.969|
|4||Febvre Romain||3||FRA||18||Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing||Kawasaki||0:10.585|
|5||Jonass Pauls||41||LAT||16||Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team||GasGas||0:35.881|
|6||Forato Alberto||303||ITA||15||Yamaha SM Action - M.C. Migliori||Yamaha||0:40.918|
|7||Jacobi Henry||29||GER||14||JM Honda Racing||Honda||0:49.141|
|8||Coldenhoff Glenn||259||NDL||13||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||0:51.337|
|9||Lupino Alessandro||77||ITA||12||MRT Racing Team KTM||KTM||0:53.507|
|10||van Doninck Brent||32||BEL||11||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||0:54.619|
|11||Watson Ben||919||GBR||10||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||0:57.203|
|12||Kjer Olsen Thomas||19||DEN||9||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||1:01.358|
|13||Vlaanderen Calvin||10||NDL||8||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||1:03.279|
|14||Seewer Jeremy||91||SWI||7||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||1:06.409|
|15||Strijbos Kevin||22||BEL||6||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||1:07.151|
|16||Tonus Arnaud||4||SWI||5||hostettler Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||1:08.333|
|17||Bogers Brian||189||NDL||4||Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team||GasGas||1:09.796|
|18||Guillod Valentin||92||SWI||3||iXS MXGP Team||Yamaha||1:11.834|
|19||Jasikonis Arminas||27||LTU||2||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||1:14.822|
|20||Van Horebeek Jeremy||89||BEL||1||Beta SDM Corse MX Team||Beta||1:16.158|
|1||Gajser Tim||243||SLO||25||Team HRC - MXGP||Honda||34:44.781|
|2||Herlings Jeffrey||84||NDL||22||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||0:05.947|
|3||Cairoli Antonio||222||ITA||20||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||0:08.978|
|4||Prado Garcia Jorge||61||SPA||18||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||0:14.097|
|5||Febvre Romain||3||FRA||16||Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing||Kawasaki||0:31.196|
|6||Jonass Pauls||41||LAT||15||Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team||GasGas||0:32.209|
|7||Forato Alberto||303||ITA||14||Yamaha SM Action - M.C. Migliori||Yamaha||0:41.561|
|8||Lupino Alessandro||77||ITA||13||MRT Racing Team KTM||KTM||0:57.060|
|9||Kjer Olsen Thomas||19||DEN||12||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||1:00.476|
|10||Bogers Brian||189||NDL||11||Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team||GasGas||1:06.485|
|11||Jacobi Henry||29||GER||10||JM Honda Racing||Honda||1:09.752|
|12||Tonus Arnaud||4||SWI||9||hostettler Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||1:11.151|
|13||Seewer Jeremy||91||SWI||8||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||1:12.453|
|14||Locurcio Lorenzo||183||VEN||7||JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team||KTM||1:13.994|
|15||van Doninck Brent||32||BEL||6||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||1:15.032|
|16||Guillod Valentin||92||SWI||5||iXS MXGP Team||Yamaha||1:15.658|
|17||Paturel Benoit||16||FRA||4||Honda SR Motoblouz||Honda||1:18.036|
|18||Jasikonis Arminas||27||LTU||3||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing||Husqvarna||1:22.687|
|19||Coldenhoff Glenn||259||NDL||2||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||1:29.472|
|20||Östlund Alvin||161||SWE||1||JK Racing Yamaha Active||Yamaha||1:32.684|