The ninth round of the 2019 MXGP world championships takes place this weekend in Kegums, Latvia, where Team HRC’s Tim Gajser will be displaying the red plate on his Honda CRF450RW. The Slovenian rider has won the last three overalls, reeling off six consecutive race wins and now holds a 13 point lead as the series heads to the midway point of the season. Teammate Brian Bogers will also head into the weekend hoping that the sandy Kegums track will give him a chance to show his best form.

For Gajser, the red plate is just reward for this tremendous run of form that has seen a 53 point swing in the championship battle after coming back from a 40 point deficit following the MXGP of Lombardia. After those muddy conditions, the sun has been shining and Gajser has shown his best form since his Championship-winning season in 2016. The hard-pack tracks have suited Gajser’s smooth style and he’ll now be hoping that the large amount of sand training he did over the winter will help him maintain the lead in what should be another glorious weekend of racing.

After growing up near Valkenswaard in the Netherlands, Bogers is very comfortable in the sand and this ninth round in Latvia is a perfect chance for him to put in a solid performance and work towards his goal of two top 10 finishes. In a class that is filled with GP race winners, this year has been challenging for Bogers to jump into, after missing almost all of the 2018 season through injury but this weekend represents a great opportunity to put in a similar result, like he achieved in Mantova when he got a second place in the second moto.

While his recovery is going well from the operation to clean up the infection in his right ankle, Calvin Vlaanderen will unfortunately once again be missing from the MX2 class at the weekend. After consulting with the doctor it was deemed best to give Vlaanderen as much recovery time as possible to reduce the chances of re-infecting the area. This is disappointing news to everyone who wants to see the #10 CRF250RW out on the track, but everyone is confident that when he does return he will be 100% healthy and properly prepared to race in this highly competitive MX2 division.

In round nine of their series’ this weekend, the MXGP and MX2 riders are joined by the EMX250 and EMX2t classes with the first Team HRC bike hitting the track at 13:00 local time on Saturday 15th June for MXGP free practice. The first gate drop for the main races then happens at 14:15 on Sunday 16th June.

Tim Gajser  243

It was a tough trip back from Russia with the flights, but when you come back with the red plate, everything is okay! However it is definitely almost unbelievable to have gone one-one again this weekend. The track was pretty sketchy to ride on because it was very fast and not a lot of ruts formed, which meant it was quite slippery in the corners. Still, it was really good to get two starts and I am feeling really confident heading to Kegums. It is of course a lot sandier than these past few rounds but I feel like I am riding really well and I know I have done a lot of sand training this off-season. I just can’t wait to get back to the race track again and meet up with the team. We are working so well right now and I enjoy every weekend!

Brian Bogers  189

I like Kegums a lot more than the track in Russia because it is more sandy. It also means I can stay in Holland for a couple of days for training because the tracks here are quite similar to the surface in Kegums. I’m looking forward to it though and I’m really hoping I can show my potential and get myself into the top 10 in both races.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

Wow. What another great weekend for Tim, and for the team to see him leave Russia with the red plate. Knowing how important it was to get good starts in both races, it was so impressive to see Tim storm off the line, especially in the second race. With the way he is riding, if he can start anywhere near the front we know he can challenge for the wins and that’s exactly what he has proved the past few rounds. Obviously Latvia will be a different challenge but confidence is high within the team and we can’t wait for Tim to line up there with the red plate on his bike. It should also be a good place for Brian to show us again what he is capable of. He hasn’t quite reached the levels we expected recently but the sandy Kegums track should be good for him.
It would have also been a good track for Calvin too but unfortunately he still needs a bit more time for the wound to heal properly and get back to being bike fit. We don’t want him to rush him right back until he is completely ready and that means that he won’t be on the gate this weekend.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 GAJSER Tim 243 SLO 351 Team HRC – MXGP
2 CAIROLI Antonio 222 ITA 338 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
3 PAULIN Gautier 21 FRA 231 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
4 SEEWER Jeremy 91 SWI 220 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
5 JASIKONIS Arminas 27 LTU 212 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
6 DESALLE Clement 25 BEL 208 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
7 TONUS Arnaud 4 SWI 206 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
8 LIEBER Julien 33 BEL 172 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
9 VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy 89 BEL 170 Honda SR Motoblouz
10 COLDENHOFF Glenn 259 NDL 168 Standing Construct KTM
11 JONASS Pauls 41 LAT 167 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
12 SIMPSON Shaun 24 GBR 129 RFX KTM Racing
13 FEBVRE Romain 461 FRA 117 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
14 LUPINO Alessandro 77 ITA 103 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
15 MONTICELLI Ivo 128 ITA 100 iFly JK Racing
16 ANSTIE Max 99 GBR 97 Standing Construct KTM
17 SEARLE Tommy 100 GBR 86 Bike It DRT Kawasaki
18 BOGERS Brian 189 NDL 70 Team HRC – MXGP
19 LEOK Tanel 7 EST 69 A1M Husqvarna
20 PATUREL Benoit 6 FRA 65 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
21 TIXIER Jordi 911 FRA 56 Team VHR KTM Racing
22 STRIJBOS Kevin 22 BEL 41 JWR Yamaha Racing
23 BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod 18 RUS 33 JWR Yamaha Racing
24 HERLINGS Jeffrey 84 NDL 32 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
25 BUTRON Jose 17 SPA 18 JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team
26 PETROV Petar 152 BUL 18 Team Honda Red Moto
27 BERNARDINI Samuele 321 ITA 14 Ghidinelli Racing Team
28 GOLE Anton 297 SWE 14 iFly JK Racing
29 KULLAS Harri 151 FIN 10 Wildcard Rider
30 VAN DER MIERDEN Sven 94 NDL 8 Wildcard Rider

Photos: Honda Racing Corporation