Leading round the first bend of this reversed Pietramurata layout was Evans, who had third gate-pick after an impressive timed practice. The Australian has been getting better and better each time he has been on the track, and while the results haven’t always showed it, this qualification result was something that had been in the pipeline and is thoroughly deserved after having such a long injury layoff.
On the first lap, the #43 fought off the advances of another rider, to then slowly but surely open up a decent lead at the front of the field, leading round this field of highly competitive MXGP riders. For Gajser, a fifth gate-pick didn’t allow him to get the best of starts, but after a nervy first lap, he settled into a good rhythm and began picking off riders. By lap five, Team HRC was running first and second with Evans having a few seconds advantage over the Slovenian, before Gajser gradually closed up and passed his teammate on lap nine.
As the positions reversed, Gajser pulled out a comfortable gap to take the chequered flag and his second pole position start of the season. Unfortunately, Evans couldn’t quite hold on to second, but crossed the line in third place, his best result of the season and testament to how much progression he has made so far in 2022.
Both riders will now have very good gate-picks for tomorrow’s races where Gajser will look to get back to winning ways, and add to his three overall wins so far in 2022. Evans will be hoping to utilise his position to get two good starts and show what he is capable of in the points-scoring races that will take place at 14:15 and 17:10 local time tomorrow.
Tim Gajser #243
"It was a good race. I didn’t have the best start and in the beginning I was not aggressive enough and lost a couple of places on the first lap. Then I slowly started to find some good lines where I could make some passes and then I was behind Mitch. It was nice to see a one-two for Honda and then I passed him. It was only a few laps to go so I made a little gap and finished the race in first. I’m pretty happy with today and hopefully tomorrow will go the same."
Mitch Evans #43
"It feels really good to finally put it all together, leading some laps and running up front in this MXGP class. I’ve always believed that I could get back to this point, so it is such a good feeling, and such a good confidence boost to have done so in round five. Of course, it is still only qualification day so I can’t get too carried away but now I know I am capable of this result and that is what I’ll be aiming for in the races tomorrow. I know I can get out of the gate well because I will have the same gate-pick tomorrow as I had today, it is just a case of doing the same thing. A big thanks to the team for sticking by me and helping me get to this point again, and I can’t wait for tomorrow!"
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager - MXGP
"It was really great to see Team HRC riding out front, one and two and dominating the race. This is what we believed could happen with Tim and Mitch and it was good to see the riders performing so well in the qualification race. Both riders should take a lot of positives from this result because for Tim, he was able to make some good passes to move to the front of the field, and for Mitch to be able to lead a race again is a massive achievement and will hopefully boost his confidence, not just for tomorrow but for the whole season. It was a really good day for Team HRC today!"