Max Nagl takes another race victory in Mexican season finale
Max Nagl rounded out the season-ending South American double header standing on the podium again today for Team HRC, taking a race victory and finishing second overall in Leon, Mexico. It marks a fantastic run for the German, who has scored two qualifying race wins, three race wins, an overall victory and now a second overall in the last two weekends.
Aboard his CRF450RW, he took his best victory of the season in the opening race because it was his hardest fought. Unlike his previous clean sweep in Brazil, and indeed his qualifying race win yesterday, this time he didn’t get the holeshot and was fifth into the first corner.
His aggression in the first two laps was what won it for him as he attacked like no one else. On the first full lap he was two seconds faster than the rest of the field as he surged through to quickly take the lead.
After that it was still not an easy ride for the German as Kevin Strijbos followed him in second position, often the pair matching each other’s laptimes to the tenth of a second. Handling the pressure beautifully, and without putting a wheel wrong, Max’s relentless pace saw him eke ahead and cross the line 1.2seconds clear for his fifth race win of the season.
In race two, Max again took an early lead which he maintained for much of the race, but coming under increasing pressure from the trio of Gautier Paulin, Antonio Cairoli and again Strijbos, this time he was unable to match their pace. Despite a last-lap effort to re-pass Strijbos, which would have promoted Max to the overall win, the German took second overall; his fourth podium of the year. In doing so, he also moved up to sixth position in the World Championship.
With the 2014 MXGP season now having reached its conclusion, the one remaining event on the calendar for Max Nagl and his Honda counterparts is the Motocross of Nations in Latvia on 28 September.
Max Nagl 12
“I’m really happy with the second place today – it’s just been a fantastic day and with the win in Brazil a fantastic way to end the season.
I’m really proud with myself for the first race win today because in Brazil and yesterday in qualifying I had the holeshot and I could ride at my speed from the beginning and pull away. Usually if I don’t have the perfect start I’m struggling. Today as soon as the gate dropped I knew it was not going to be the best start, and I was fifth. Then I was so aggressive and on the limit in the first laps and pushing so hard. I tried to pass immediately, to show to myself that I can also win if I don’t have the holeshot. Everybody thinks that if Max gets the holeshot then he goes but if he has a bad start then he can do nothing. Now I could really show also to myself that even with a not so good start I could push and go away for the win.
In the second race I was struggling a bit with the track so from my point it was really hard. I was still pushing really hard when Kevin made the pass on me. On the last lap I was trying to push again to get back past him, but I just couldn’t do it. But as I said, I’m really happy with second today and to have finished the season here and in Brazil so strongly.”
“With Max finishing second in the final race of the season it was another good weekend for us. In qualifying, race one and the first half of race two, Max was perfect and very dominating again. Only in the second half did he lose the lead, but then he managed his race very well to take second. The whole team has been working so hard all year, and these last two weekends we can see great progress so I’d like to really thank everyone involved. I’d also like to thank the Honda and motocross fans all over the world for your support of us – I’m sure you share our enjoyment at seeing Honda and HRC back at the top again!”
“It’s been a tremendous way to end the season with the results here and in Brazil last weekend – two qualifying race wins, three race wins, an overall victory and a second place today in Mexico. I’d like to say big congratulations to all of the team and HRC who’ve all been working so hard and doing a great job all season in getting Honda back to where it should be.
Max’s first race win today was better than his two race wins in Brazil. For me, that was the best race I’ve seen Max have for many years. He rode really strongly and when the pressure came he had a bit left to manage that very well. He got a lot of pressure from Strijbos in the last two laps, and again they were fighting in race two, but they’re big mates so you know it’s always going to be clean between them.
Especially finishing the season in this way, everybody is even more motivated than before for next season to build on this momentum, and it’s really good to see Honda at the top again. We can’t wait for next season when there’s even more to come.”
Results Session 1
Results Session 2