Echoing Team HRC’s success last year in Qatar, Tim Gajser and Evgeny Bobryshev proved they are here to fight for the title.
Reigning world champion Tim Gajser took his first qualifying win of the season on the Honda CRF450RW with team-mate Evgeny Bobryshev fighting his way to fourth. The riders set a precedent for the race early on, with both riders setting fastest times within different sections of the track.
Feeling under the weather today and seemingly struggling in timed practice earlier in the day there was uncertainty as to whether Gajser would be on top form. The Slovenian quickly squashed that in qualifying by pulling a holeshot and opening a four second gap between himself and Cairoli in second, for the majority of the race.
“Today was actually a really good race, I had a good start and I was able to find some good lines,” the MXGP champion offered. “I was happy with my speed, just a couple of laps before the end I made a few mistakes. I have been feeling under the weather today and first practice was really tough but I have felt better as the day has gone on. I am glad I have won so that I have a pole for tomorrow and it’s a good start to the season. The track is in really good shape, it’s a little bit harder this year it hasn’t ripped so deep as last year but for tomorrow it will be even better as we have made some ruts already.”
Bobryshev didn’t have such a good start from the gate but quickly went from eleventh place to fourth within a few corners after some clever passes. His strength was his speed within the second section of the track where he was consistently fast.
“I am happy with my qualifying results from today,” said the Russian. “Timed practice didn’t go so well as I worked too hard and made too many mistakes to put in a good lap. In the first corner, I was mid-pack and then I made some good moves in the corner and I moved quickly up to sixth. I got into fourth but need to find the rhythm and the flow. I know I have the speed but for me it was a problem to pass Gautier as the track only had one good line. I stuck behind him and unfortunately lost my tear offs in the last 10 minutes. I need a good start and to get more confidence to head into the race tomorrow. The track is a lot softer than last year, there has been quite a bit of rain here and there are a few dodgy places especially on some of the take offs so we have to be careful and ride safe as when you are battling it could easily kick you out. The start is really important for tomorrow.”
HRC General Manager – MXGP, Roger Harvey, commented: “Considering the condition that Tim was in today the result was quite amazing. He had a good start and fought on the first few corners to establish his lead. He backed off to conserve some energy at the end of the race but overall he rode really well. Bobby had a good start and it was a strong, solid performance from him which is his style of riding nowadays and with a bit more confidence I am looking forward to seeing him improve on this tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing if both riders can deliver these results tomorrow.”