Over the past few years, the sandy circuit in northern Italy has hosted a lot of races, as double-headers, triple-headers and even preseason races have taken place there, with Team HRC having both good and bad memories from these events.
Most recently were the deciding rounds of the 2021 season when the #243 closely missed out on what would have been his fifth world title. Instead, he had to console himself with finishing third in the championship, with that result now providing motivation to come out swinging for these opening rounds in 2022 – which is exactly what he did at Matterley Basin last weekend.
At the MXGP of Great Britain, Gajser won the first moto, coming through the field and overtaking all of his title rivals in a great display of speed and race craft. The second moto followed a similar pattern, but an unfortunate mistake a few laps from the end, saw him slip to second, but it was still enough to win the overall and give him the red-plate for this round in Mantova, and he’ll be hoping to repeat that feat when the gate drops this Sunday.
For teammate Evans, the goals are a bit different as the Australian is still coming back from his injury nightmare, but he has won at Mantova in 2020 at the Internazionali d’Italia, so he will at least be racing a circuit he is comfortable on. With each track session, confidence grows and slowly but surely, he will get back to the form that saw him challenging for podiums and top five results.
In the 2022, the schedule has returned to the two-day format so they have a free practice, a timed practice and then qualifying race on Saturday, before a warm-up session and then the two motos on Sunday 6th March.
"Matterley Basin was a great start to the season, but we know that work still needs to be done and there are always improvements to made. Obviously last year, things didn’t go well in Mantova, however I’ve also had good moments at that track so I’m heading there with a positive frame of mind and looking to build upon the two strong races that I had in Great Britain."
"Obviously when you look at the results, they weren’t the best scores in England, but after everything I’ve gone through in the last 15-months since my last MXGP, this was a big step to have taken. Now I have a starting point, something to build from and while I know I won’t get there right away, the only way is up and that starts in Mantova this weekend. It is a track I have had good results at before so that’s what I’m focusing on, and every time I get on the track, I am just trying to get better and better."
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager - MXGP
"It was a really good way to start 2022, with Tim winning the overall in Great Britain. Everyone in Team HRC has worked hard over this winter to keep up the momentum from last year when Tim was competitive right to the very end. It was also good to see Mitch finishing both races and we want to keep up the progression each race. Mantova will be a much different test as it’s a lot tighter, and the sandy surface can make things tricky, but the weather should be good so let’s hope we can continue moving forward."