The third in the trio of FIM World Motocross Championship races took place today at the tight and twisty Mantova (Italy) circuit; and early-on we were greeted with blue skies and an autumn chill in the air.
In the MXGP class HRC’s Tim Gajser was hoping to increase his championship lead and retain the coveted leader’s red plate, whist Tim’s Australian team-mate Mitch Evans was focused on further improving his races results – a good start being critical in Mantova to avoid battling through a competitive field.
Riding the CRF450R, JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh was also hoping to improve on his Wednesday race two 11th place – his best MXGP race and overall result so far for Dylan.
As the gate dropped in the MXGP class race one it was JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh who took the holeshot and a superb early lead riding the production Honda CRF450R. The fast Kiwi rider set about putting down some stylish and consistent laps – chased hard by HRC’s Tim Gajser and Mitch Evans in second and third.
Gajser found a way past on lap four, soon followed by Mitch Evans. ‘Tiga’ went on to win the race with Mitch in fourth, whilst Walsh only managed six laps before ‘cooking’ his clutch, which put him out of the race.
Team SR Honda Motoblouz rider Jeremy Van Horebeek had a torrid race in mid-pack, battling eventually to 14th at the finish.
Gajser fired his HRC CRF450RW into an early lead in race two and looked smooth and in-control until a small mistake on lap three dropped the Slovenian to second – and although he battled hard to regain the lead, he finished the race in second place, taking the overall Grand Prix win by six points to extended his lead in the championship.
Mitch Evans had a good day, adding 31 points to his 2020 GP tally with fourth and eighth places and hopes to continue his improvement in the MXGP class.
JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh had a tough second race but managed to progress through the field from 19th on lap one to 15th at the finish – and six more points to his 2020 GP account.
In the MX2 class, Stefan Rubini’s Wednesday’s qualifying position showed great promise, but he struggled with poor starts and small crashes that spoilt his chances to score better points in the races. Today’s timed qualifying session once again saw Rubini in fourth position – another very promising start to the day.
Race one of the MX2 class was full of promise for Honda Racing Assomotor’s Stephen Rubini – his fourth place qualifying setting the team alight with high expectations. Sadly, the high hopes turned to disappointment as Rubini rounded lap one in 11th place and pulled out of the race after suffering an impact to his engine casing from another rider crashing into him, forcing him out of the race.
Stephen’s team-mate Alvin Östlund had another poor start and battled for most of the race in a non-points scoring position. Similar luck befell Honda 114 Motorsport’s Bailey Malkovich a poor start and 12th at the finish – his teammate Nathan Crawford not starting the race today due to a knee injury that requires rest and recuperation.
MX2 race two saw mid-pack starts from the CRF250Rs giving the riders a hard task to push forward. Australian Bailey Malkiewicz once again headed the Hondas home driving through the pack from 20th on lap one to finish 14th at the flag – his finish position disguising his performance and effort.
Honda Racing Assomotor’s Alvin Östlund progressed from 23rd to 16th at the finish, whilst Stephen Rubini suffered a second misfortune in race two with another DNF.