There seemed little doubt that Team HRC’s Tim Gajser would stand on the podium at the Grand Prix of Patagonia Argentina. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Gajser were the two favorites for the GP win and as it turned out, they finished first and second. Gajser couldn’t wait to get to Argentina after a strong pre-season but his wait was well rewarded.
“I was really looking forward to going to Argentina,” Gajser said. “The start of the season was finally here after a long winter break, it was great to be heading down to that beautiful area. The preseason races went well, and I was happy with how everything else has gone in preparation for this year. I’m feeling ready and I love this track, with the big jumps and the fast speed, I can’t wait to start the 2019 season.”
After the Saturday qualification race started well, it turned a bit of a mess as Gajser finished eighth after crashing while in the battle for the win. He had shown constant speed in the timed practice, and the 2015 and 2016 MX2 and MXGP World champion was confident of a good result on Sunday.
“The Saturday was okay. I was feeling good on the bike and I was fast on the track. The qualification race was going well until I crashed as I took the holeshot and I was riding well. When Febvre closed up I started riding a little tight and made some little mistakes. I had a small crash, and then in the same lap I changed my line in the wave section, caught a square edge and had quite big get-off. Thankfully I was able to continue without any pain and ended up finishing in ninth place.”
Sunday dawned and while Gajser would have liked a GP victory to start his season, his second-place finish showed that he will be a serious contender in 2019, and should be able to win a GP or two.
“I was really happy to start the season strongly with a podium, and to feel really good on the track. In the first race I didn’t get the best of starts and it took me a couple of laps to find a good rhythm and to find the nice lines but once I did that, I passed a lot of the guys in front of me and finished in second. That was a great way to start the season off. Then in second race, it was even better as I almost took the holeshot and I led for a lap, but I was riding tight and not enjoying my riding so Romain (Febvre) and Toni (Cairoli) passed me. After this, I found my rhythm and found the flow around the track and was able to move into second and just start enjoying riding again. Two second places is a good start to the season and I’m really looking forward to the next races.”
And so, onto Matterley Basin and round two of the MXGP Championship in a little over a week as the former World Champion goes to one of his favorite tracks on the calendar. Second place in the MXGP points and a self-confidence he hasn’t had for some time now, don’t be surprised to see Gajser put on a masterclass in Great Britain.
Photo Copyright:Bavo SwijgersAuthor: Geoff Meyer