Team HRC returns to Italy for the fifth round of the 2019 motocross world championships with Tim Gajser, Brian Bogers, and Calvin Vlaanderen all raring to go after what has been an extended break in the series. With the last round on the hard-packed Trentino circuit in Italy, five weeks ago, the schedule now heads to Mantova in the Lombardia for what is a sandier surface for the riders to compete on.
Like the last round, a large number of Slovenian fans are expected to cross the border and cheer on the Honda #243 and after his win in Trentino, Gajser is looking to reward that support with a win at a track that he won on previously in 2016, the last time they held a GP on this circuit. Confidence is certainly high that he can close the gap even further in the championship race and with the Trentino victory under his belt, the plan is to maintain that high level in this next series of events that sees the riders’ race six times in seven weekends.
Brian Bogers is also excited to get back to racing after this break, especially given that it will be at a Mantova track that saw him get his first ever MX2 podium back in 2016. This result, plus his top 10 finish in Trentino at the last round has meant that there is real hope that Bogers can start putting in good finishes in the MXGP class on a regular basis, something that he wasn’t able to do previously due to his injury problems of 2018.
For MX2 rider Calvin Vlaanderen, the break came at a good time as he looked to recover from his fractured fibula which he sustained in timed practice at the MXGP of Trentino. After missing that race, he got the surgery done right away and has used this break to recover as best he could, eventually getting the green light from his doctor to ride yesterday. With just a few days to get back into race shape, Mantova will be a tough assignment, but it is one that Vlaanderen is relishing as he looks to get back the points he missed out on in Trentino.
With races in Portugal and France up next after Mantova, and then Russia, Latvia and Germany following on quickly after them, this is the beginning of a tough stretch for all the riders. However, the Team HRC trio are all coming out of this break with a point to prove and are highly motivated to get their best results possible on their Honda CRF machines. Their timetable starts at 12:30 local time (MX2) and 13:00 (MXGP) on Saturday 11th May, in what seem to be changeable weather conditions in Mantova.
Tim Gajser 243
In this break, I did two Slovenian championship races just to keep me in race shape. I also kept training hard as I know this is important in order to maintain my speed and fitness. I’m just excited to get back to the MXGPs because it feels like a long time since my win in Trentino. However I like the track in Mantova because in the past, I have won the event so it’s nice to go back there and I’m really looking forward to showing what I can do there this year.
Brian Bogers 189
It was good to have a little time away from the races because it is a long and tough season but I still kept working very hard to keep building up my level of fitness and speed. After my second race in Trentino when I got my first top 10, it gave me motivation to continue with what we’ve been doing because I saw that the effort was paying off and we were heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, I had a small crash last week which meant I had to miss the Dutch Championship but everything is fine now and we are back on the bike and I’m really looking forward to racing in Mantova. It was at this track that I had my first podium in 250s so I like the track and I like riding there and I can’t wait for the gate to drop this weekend!
Calvin Vlaanderen 10
It has been a difficult period of time but I am happy to be back on a bike and riding again before this weekend. Obviously, I would have preferred to have a bit more time to get ready but I am glad to have only missed the Trentino round and I am still confident in my ability to ride well in Mantova. Before the injury, my fitness was at a good level and I did as much as I could to maintain that during the break so I just have to do my best to compete for these next few weeks. I want to thank all the members of Team HRC for the support they gave me during this break and I can’t wait to get this next part of the championship underway.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas
HRC General Manager – MXGP
I am extremely excited to get back to the MXGP races after this break. We left the action on such a high with Tim winning in Trentino, so this provided great motivation to everyone to keep that going. Brian also got his first top 10 of the season so he wanted to maintain that level. It was also good for Calvin because this gap in the races meant that he is recovered from his leg injury that he sustained at Trentino and he should be able to compete in Mantova. It’ll be hard work for him because he hasn’t ridden much but he had good fitness before the injury so we are confident he should still be able to pick up points. Of course for Tim, who has previously won here and for Brian, we have high hopes that they can continue their form, and put both Honda’s inside the top 10 and potentially on the podium.
Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation