The Pietramurata circuit is one of the most beautiful on the calendar, nestled in the Dolomites Mountain range, and for the first time in its history, they reversed the layout to give the riders a new challenge for what is the seventh race here in just three years. That change didn’t seem to affect the Team HRC duo though, as on the Saturday, the pair finished one-three, with teammate Mitch Evans showing his improvement by leading a good portion of that qualification race, after a holeshot, before ending up with third gate-pick.
That form continued onto race-day with Gajser ripping around turn one in second position, with Evans just behind in fifth. The pair maintained those positions for the first half of the race, with Gajser stalking the leader and looking for any opening, before gradually turning up the pressure and making his move on lap 10. From there, the #243 put in a couple of hot laps to break free and control the race until the chequered flag. Evans, meanwhile was under intense pressure from this competitive MXGP class, and ended up 10th.
In race two, Gajser was third around the first bend but midway around the opening lap he had made the necessary moves to get into the lead and from then on, he once again put down a pace than none of the field could match to take his a well-deserved one-one, much to the delight of thousands of Slovenian fans who had made the trip over the border. Unfortunately, Evans hadn’t made such a good start and was down in 13th at the end of lap one. However, he was determined to once again break into the top 10 and achieved that goal with a finishing place of ninth, for an eventual ninth overall.
Gajser’s fourth overall victory in five rounds, including six race wins, moves the Honda CRF450R rider 33 points clear, as his early stranglehold on the MXGP championship continues. Up next for Team HRC is Kegums, Latvia where the sandy surface always provides a stern challenge, but one that Gajser has mastered in 2016, 2019 and 2021. This year’s event takes place on April 23-24, giving Gajser and Evans a weekend off to get in some good training sessions as they hope to keep up these strong performances for another round.
Tim Gajser #243
"It was a great weekend. I was enjoying the whole event, especially after two years of a ‘quiet Arco’, this year was different, it was nice. I got two good starts, riding was good in both races, after half the race I was leading them and controlling them so it was a good feeling. A big thank you to all the fans who travelled here today, they are amazing. I’m feeling really good at the moment, I’m really looking forward to going to Kegums, I really like that track. I’m just going to train hard and be there in two weeks. Can't wait!"
Mitch Evans #43
"While perhaps the end results weren’t as good as I hoped, I am still very positive about how things went this weekend. I showed in the qualification race, and in moto one today that I have the speed to run with the guys up the front so now I have to put myself in the position to do that regularly. I also have to extend that speed for the full 35 minutes, but I don’t think I’m too far away from that and I’m excited to get to Latvia after another week of work. Thanks to the team for all their help and for helping me make these steps every race."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager - MXGP
"The first one-one for Tim and it was a perfect day of racing for him, in front of a lot of very passionate Slovenian fans who made the trip to watch him. He took his time in the first race, finding the right spot to move into the lead and just controlled the race, and then moto two was very comfortable as he led all the laps and took a convincing win. He now leads the championship by 33 points and is looking confident at every gate drop.
Mitch also made some big steps this weekend and it was great to see both guys up front in the qualification race yesterday. He also showed good speed in race one and while he’s not quite ready to do it the whole moto just yet, he is doing the work necessary to do it in the near future.
A great weekend for Team HRC and everyone is looking forward to getting to Latvia already!"