Gajser recovers to seventh as Evans battles hard in Portugal qualification
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Mitch Evans will line-up with seventh and 15th gate-pick respectively for tomorrow’s motos in the MXGP of Portugal, after what was an extremely hard-fought qualification race for the Honda CRF450R duo.
The Agueda track, with the distinctive orange dirt, was providing a challenge all day to the riders as the wide, slippery surface meant that grip was at a premium. This made putting in a fast-lap in the timed practice session a pretty tricky affair, with mistakes on hot-laps costing both riders a few tenths here and there.
Eventually Gajser was able to nail down an extremely quick time, just 0.18 seconds off the lead in second place, giving him a really good chance in the qualification race later that afternoon. And the #243 made full use of that gate-pick, rocketing off to another holeshot as he led the opening part of the race. However, a racing incident with another rider midway round lap one caused the Slovenian to drop his bike and by the time he had remounted, he was way down in 23rd position. From there, the hard work began as he began passing as many riders as he could in order to get a good gate-pick for the points-paying motos tomorrow. On almost every lap, Gajser moved forward and by the time the chequered flag came out, he was in seventh place, an incredible effort in the 20 minutes plus two.
Evans had given himself 10th gate pick after the timed practice session and he was right around that mark in the qualification race after a couple of laps. However, a small mistake on lap four lost him eight places so he had to regroup and follow his teammate through the field. Like Gajser, he also picked off a number of riders and was once again near the top 10, only to have a small tip-over on the final lap, dropping him back to 15th.
Although it was a tough way to finish the day, both riders know that they are performing at a much higher level and will head into Sunday’s races (14:15 and 17:10) looking to score good points and continue a start to this 2022 campaign that has seen Gajser win the first three rounds, and Evans improve each time the gate has dropped.
Tim Gajser 243
Obviously, it’s a little disappointing to only have seventh gate pick for tomorrow’s motos after feeling good all day. I got a really good start in the qualification race, another holeshot, and was leading the first few corners and looking forward to having a good result. Unfortunately, I had coming together with another rider halfway around the first lap and we both went down, meaning I had to pick my bike up right at the back of the field. I tried not to let it affect me too much though and knew I had the whole race to make as many passes as possible. Every lap I tried to pick off a rider and gradually I worked my way towards the top 10. In the end I was seventh, which is okay, and I know I can make some passes now, so hopefully I can get more good starts tomorrow and challenge for the GP overall.
Mitch Evans 43
I feel like I was riding a lot better than my 15th place in qualification suggests. Just a couple of small mistakes in the timed practice, and then the qualification race meant I dropped down the field at the wrong times, but it is much better to do them today, than tomorrow, so I’m still feeling positive that the motos can go well. My speed was good, and I made some passes in the race so I just need to keep flowing for the whole 35 minutes plus two, and if I do that, I’m sure I can maintain my recent results progression.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
We were very happy to see Tim get such a good start once again, after his holeshot in Argentina last time out. This is such an important aspect of MXGP racing right now so it is great to see the Honda CRF450R leading the way. Unfortunately, the small incident on the first lap left Tim way down the field, but he fought hard to get back to seventh and that still gives him a good chance of another holeshot tomorrow.
Mitch also fought hard in the qualification race and although a last lap mistake cost him a couple of positions, we are confident he can put it together for the races tomorrow, on what is turning out to be a pretty tricky track. Overall though, Team HRC are expecting better fortune tomorrow and to be fighting it out at the front of the field.
|1||Coldenhoff Glenn||259||NDL||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||25:25.899|
|2||Prado Garcia Jorge||61||SPA||Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing||GasGas||0:02.095|
|3||Bogers Brian||189||NDL||Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing Team||Husqvarna||0:04.531|
|5||Seewer Jeremy||91||SWI||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||0:14.104|
|6||Vlaanderen Calvin||10||NDL||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||0:23.569|
|7||Gajser Tim||243||SLO||Team HRC - MXGP||Honda||0:25.995|
|8||Jacobi Henry||29||GER||JM Honda Racing||Honda||0:29.633|
|9||Beaton Jed||14||AUS||F&H Racing Team||Kawasaki||0:30.338|
|10||Renaux Maxime||959||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||0:35.536|
|11||van Doninck Brent||32||BEL||Riley Racing||Yamaha||0:36.376|
|12||Watson Ben||919||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP||Kawasaki||0:38.234|
|13||Östlund Alvin||161||SWE||JK Racing Yamaha Active||Yamaha||0:41.958|
|14||Tixier Jordi||911||FRA||JT911 KTM Racing Team||KTM||0:44.931|
|15||Evans Mitch||43||AUS||Team HRC - MXGP||Honda||0:50.025|
|16||Forato Alberto||303||ITA||SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery||GasGas||0:52.674|
|17||Koch Tom||226||GER||KTM Kozak Team||KTM||0:55.300|
|20||Roosiorg Hardi||75||EST||Sahkar KTM Racing||KTM||1:09.458|
|1||Gajser Tim||243||SLO||141||Team HRC - MXGP||Honda|
|2||Renaux Maxime||959||FRA||124||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha|
|3||Prado Garcia Jorge||61||SPA||118||Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing||GasGas|
|4||Seewer Jeremy||91||SWI||94||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha|
|5||Van Horebeek Jeremy||89||BEL||76||Beta SDM Corse MX Team||Beta|
|6||Fernandez Ruben||70||SPA||74||Honda 114 Motorsports||Honda|
|7||Kjer Olsen Thomas||19||DEN||73||Team Diga-Procross||KTM|
|8||Coldenhoff Glenn||259||NDL||71||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha|
|9||Beaton Jed||14||AUS||58||F&H Racing Team||Kawasaki|
|10||Forato Alberto||303||ITA||58||SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery||GasGas|
|11||Bogers Brian||189||NDL||57||Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing Team||Husqvarna|
|12||Watson Ben||919||GBR||51||Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP||Kawasaki|
|13||Tixier Jordi||911||FRA||47||JT911 KTM Racing Team||KTM|
|14||Jacobi Henry||29||GER||45||JM Honda Racing||Honda|
|16||Evans Mitch||43||AUS||42||Team HRC - MXGP||Honda|
|17||Vlaanderen Calvin||10||NDL||32||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha|
|18||van Doninck Brent||32||BEL||28||Riley Racing||Yamaha|
|19||Östlund Alvin||161||SWE||13||JK Racing Yamaha Active||Yamaha|
|20||Koch Tom||226||GER||12||KTM Kozak Team||KTM|
|21||Lupino Alessandro||77||ITA||11||Beta SDM Corse MX Team||Beta|
|22||Rolando Nicolas||144||URU||10||Wildcard Rider||Suzuki|
|23||Guillod Valentin||92||SWI||10||iXS MXGP Team||Yamaha|
|28||Trossero Marcos Gabriel||ARG||4|
|30||Galletta Pablo||117||ARG||3||Wildcard Rider||Yamaha|
|31||Jasikonis Arminas||27||LTU||3||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha|
|32||Roosiorg Hardi||75||EST||2||Sahkar KTM Racing||KTM|
|33||Zonta Filippo||200||ITA||1||Wildcard Rider||GasGas|
|34||Cabarcos Francisco||112||ARG||1||Wildcard Rider||Suzuki|