Today the FIM World Motocross Championship once again visited Mantova – the World Heritage Site and Italian Capital of Culture and for the second time we were lucky to enjoy clear skies and dry track conditions for both MXGP and MX2 – producing close and exciting racing.
The MXGP class delivered the usual high-speed and highly competitive racing with HRC’s Tim Gajser once again topping Honda’s CRF450 results.
Despite easily qualifying in pole position by over half a second, the three-time World Champion found it hard in race one to progress from sixth on lap one to just one place higher at the finish. The likeable Slovenia pushed hard in race two and quickly slotted into second place in the early laps. We expected to see #243 in the lead soon, but at the mid-race point a small crash lost ‘Tiga’ one position and he had to settle for third in the race and third overall. The good news for Team HRC is Tim retains the championship leader’s red-plate and leads the World Championship going into round 11 next Sunday.
Team HRC’s Mitch Evans had a good start to the day with a well-defended sixth place in race one and backed it up with a credible seventh in race to two giving the Australian eight overall and 29 GP points.
Team SR Honda Motoblouz rider Jeremy Van Horebeek finished the day with a brace of eighth places which gave him ninth overall on the CR450R. Meanwhile JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh had another good second race in Italy – this time improving on his round nine race two result with 11th in race two today – his best MXGP race and overall result so far.
In the MX2 class Honda Racing Assomotor’s Stephen Rubini qualified very well in fourth place, but struggled to capitalise on his speed in race one with a poor start plus a crash and a hard battle through from 26th on lap one to 14th at the finish. The Frenchman was also unlucky in race two with another crash early on which damaged the bike’s radiator and forcing a DNF.
Stephen’s teammate Alvin Östlund had a day he’d rather forget with poor starts and crashes giving him an unassailable mountain to climb for an overall position he is capable of.
Honda 114 Motorsport’s Bailey Malkiewicz had a good day overall with an exciting seventh place in race two – his career best race finish. A better overall place was hampered by his crash in race one and his battle back from dead-last to 19th at the finishing. The MX2 rookie Australian finished the day in 13th overall and he’s looking to break the top ten at the next race.