Tim Gajser began his quest for a third world championship with a second place in the first GP of the season on his CRF450RW in the most competitive MXGP class for the last few years.

Both Gajser and teammate Evgeny Bobryshev looked off the pace in Timed Practice but came out swinging in the Qualifying Race with Gajser grabbing pole and Bobryshev finishing in the top five.

Gajser, who had been fighting off an illness all weekend, found he had a battle on his hands in the first moto as he fought for the podium between Bobryshev and Clement Desalle. Gajser eventually battled to third and Bobryshev followed in fourth.


It was the second race where Gajser looked more comfortable and was able to take an early lead within the first few corners, pulling a gap between himself and Cairoli. But in the last lap of the race, the illness took its toll and Gajser sensibly surrendered his first-place finish to Cairoli.

Bobryshev struggled with a poor start in moto two and had to fight his way through the pack to finish seventh.

With a full season ahead, this is a positive start to the reigning world champions’ season. “Yeah I am actually really happy overall with the weekend,” Gajser said. “It didn’t start the best as I have been really sick all weekend but I was able to achieve two good races despite this.

“The first race I didn’t have the best start and I had to battle with Bobryshev and Desalle all race. It was tough to pass because there was only actually one fast line and the other lines were not the same speed. In the second race, I had a better start, I was leading and I pulled a gap between myself and Cairoli. Then, in the last two laps, I was destroyed and I couldn’t give anymore but I am happy to start the season with second overall this weekend.”

Commenting on the weekend Bobryshev said: “Today was positive for my overall result in the championship but looking at the races I didn’t feel I did as well as I could have. In the first race, I made a mistake and dropped the bike in the corner before the start as I didn’t feel comfortable with my riding. In the second race, I had a really bad start and I struggled with the track but I know I had good speed as we changed a little bit on the bike for the second race. The changes were much better for my riding style in these conditions and I knew I was faster in the second section of the track.

“The track was really tough to pass – I feel that last year it was much better prepared. I was trying to change my line and I just couldn’t gain anything by doing this.”

HRC General Manager – MXGP, Roger Harvey commented: “This is a solid start to the season with both riders having a pretty strong day considering some of the circumstances. Bobryshev especially had a good race in the first one. Tim has been suffering this week with feeling under the weather and quite honestly we questioned whether he would even race but he did and coming away with this race with this position is quite a bonus for us. Now we just have to build on this in Indonesia next week which is new for all of us.”