After an absence of eight years, the MXGP World Motocross Championship heads to Hyvinkaa, Finland, where Team HRC’s Tim Gajser will be looking to wrap up his fifth world title. Needing just 35 points from the two races, the Honda CRF450R rider will be hoping for more than that, as he looks to add to his 13 race wins, and eight overall GP victories on what has been another outstanding season for the Slovenian.
2014 was the last time the GPs raced the sandy Hyvinkaa surface, with only a few guys remaining from that event. Gajser was one of them as he went three-three for third in the MX2 class, but for teammate Mitch Evans, it will be another completely new experience. The young Australian was at his best last weekend in Sweden, winning the qualification race, and but for a small mistake on lap one of race one, would definitely have been challenging for the podium spots. However, his fourth in race two was his best result of the season and a definite sign that he is getting better and better as the season draws to a close. Including Finland, there are three rounds left and he’ll be hoping to get on the podium in at least one of them, to try and finish this 2022 campaign on a high.
Gajser is also looking to get back to the form that saw him win six of the first seven rounds, and if he replicates that, he’ll be crowned MXGP champion for the fourth time in his career (2016, 2019, 2020) with his total of five titles (2015 MX2), including four in the premier class, moving him into the top four greatest riders of all-time. It would be an amazing accomplishment for a rider who is only 25 years old and with plenty of time ahead of him, his place in the pantheon of greats is only going to get more-established.
First things first though, he still has a job to do this weekend and that involves getting his setup right for a track he hasn’t raced for almost 10 years. First up will be a free practice session at 11:20 on Saturday morning, to get used to the terrain and just make sure the Honda CR450R is performing as it should. Then the pair have to put down a hot-lap in timed practice, to give them a good gate-pick for the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. A good result in that will see them take to the line for the two motos (14:15 and 17:10), where both Gajser and Evans will hopefully be battling for the podium positions.