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.
|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|
|4||Jonass Pauls||41||LAT||Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team||GasGas||0:10.801|
|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|
|18||Lapucci Nicholas||211||ITA||Steels - Dr. Jack Racing||KTM||1:02.869|
|19||Paturel Benoit||16||FRA||Honda SR Motoblouz||Honda||1:07.742|
|20||Roosiorg Hardi||75||EST||Sahkar KTM Racing||KTM||1:09.458|