MXGP of Pietramurata – Round 17
The 2020 MXGP of Pietramurata in Italy proved to be a day of champions as Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle claimed the MXGP and MX2 World titles, both in the opening races of the GP and with a round to spare.
Tim Gajser 2020 MXGP Champion
For Gajser, the 2020 season came with ups and downs. The Slovenian looked strong in the first two rounds in Matterley Basin and Valkenswaard, where he finished second both times. But then we saw him struggle in Latvia, as the season resumed, before he turned things around for the MXGP of Lombardia where he finally got his hands on the red plate. He then got his first overall victory two rounds later during the MXGP of Europe in Mantova, before following that up with a string of podiums and race wins.
The Slovenian turned the red plate gold, as he claimed his fourth world title with a fourth overall Grand Prix victory of the season, along with a 14th heat win in race two. The stats for Gajser are pretty impressive in 2020, he has 13 podiums to his name, has led a total of 205 laps along with eight pole positions this season, more than any other rider in the category.
Trentino is a circuit that Gajser knows how to win at, as he secured his first ever Grand Prix victory in Pietramurata back in 2015, the same year he asserted his first world title in MX2 and then followed it up with an MXGP world title in Charlotte, USA, during his rookie season in the 450cc class. Title number three came last season in Imola, as he wrapped things up three rounds early and now his fourth at the MXGP of Pietramurata during the penultimate round of the year.
Tim Gajser – 2020 MXGP Champion
“It feels unbelievable to be world champion for a fourth time. Winning one time is amazing, but four times, I’m just speechless. It was a weird season with the COVID-19 and then the break between the rounds two and three, but in the end, everything came together and we won another title! Racing today was very nice, in the first race, I didn’t have the best start but I was still able to come through the field and finish second and that meant that if I could win race two, I would take the overall. In the second moto I grabbed the holeshot and then had a really good battle with Romain all the way to the chequered flag. We were pushing the whole time so I’m super happy to win this title and the overall on the same day. A big thanks to the whole of Team HRC, there are a lot of people who are involved who couldn’t be here today so a big thank you to all of them and to everyone who has supported me all year long. It is a privilege to ride for this team and I appreciate every single person who has helped me. Thank you!”
MX2 crowns Tom Vialle Champion a round early
Meanwhile in MX2, Vialle had a close battle with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts all season long. Geerts was the early championship leader, though by the second round Vialle was able to take over the spot and retain that position, as he swapped the red plate for a gold one. He confirmed his first world title with a confident race win, which saw him take the Fox Holeshot from the outside. This was his 13th heat win of the season and while the Frenchman missed out on a spot on the podium, the only thing that mattered was the championship.
Last year, Vialle joined the Red Bull KTM Factory squad and was already a key player in the championship. His first podium in MX2 came in Uddevalla during the MXGP of Sweden, last season and he ended the season fourth, just 5 points down on Geerts. This season, the Frenchman entered as the leading factory KTM rider and he took on the role with confidence as he racked up a total of seven GP wins, his first at the MXGP of the Netherlands, 13 podiums and led a total of 309 laps. He is also this year’s winner of the Fox Holeshot Awards with a total of 20 points, with one round remaining.
Tom Vialle – 2020 MX2 Champion
“I’m so happy but there have been a lot of emotions today. I was a bit angry with the verdict this morning but to make the holeshot and lead the first moto was fantastic. I was almost crying on the last lap. There was so much emotion. It was really special. Crazy. In the second moto I was around sixth position and someone hit me and bent the gear shifter under the bike. I was stuck in second gear. I tried hard to get the bike into third but it was not possible, so I had to come into the pits. I still finished the moto. It was a bit of a shame because I was feeling so good today. Sometimes bad luck happens though. The important thing is that we achieved our goal. I want to say a big thanks to the whole team and everybody who worked together to make this happen. It was tiring to have a lot of races so close together and also keep the concentration through the training. I think we did it pretty good.”
Jed Beaton claimed third overall in MX2, with a second-place finish in race one followed up with a solid fourth in moto two, earning the Australian a well-deserved place on the final step of the podium, just one-point away from the eventual GP winner Jago Geerts who cemented his MX2 championship runner up position, and tied on points with Ben Watson. Beaton currently sits 13-points off Maxime Renaux in the standings, a gap he’ll need to close in the final round this weekend to end the season on the overall podium in third.
“I gave everything I had in that second moto. I knew the overall was there and I just rode as hard as I could, but it wasn’t to be. It’s disappointing that I couldn’t get it done but at the same time I’m happy to be back on the podium. It’s great for the team too. They’ve been working really hard and it’s nice to pay them back with a solid result. One more round to go so I’m looking to end the season with another podium.”
Bailey Malkiewicz had a consistent weekend with two 12th place results, to claim 11th overall for the round. He now sits 16th in the MX2 standings.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser sealed his fourth world title in style, with a 2-1 result that saw him take to the top step of the box. Following a tough start to the first race, Gajser was able to make a good recovery, passing Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Alessandro Lupino and Brent Van Doninck. The Slovenian caught up to the race leader, Jeremy Seewer of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing, who he pushed until the end, though could not manage to get around the Swiss. But a second-place finish was enough for him to secure the gold plate.
In race two (the re-run), Gajser was able to get a good jump out of the gate and grab the Fox Holeshot to then lead every lap of the race, despite immense pressure from Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, to claim his 14th race win of 2020.
There was a re-start of the second MXGP race, due to a red flag which was caused by an incident involving Gajser and Honda SR Motoblouz rider Jeremy Van Horebeek, who was taken off track, but luckily walked back to the camper in decent conditions.
Seewer finished second overall, the Swiss was looking strong all day, as he took his first pole position in time practice, then managed to grab the Fox Holeshot in race one and lead the race from gate drop to chequered flag. This was his 3rd heat win of the year. Then in the second race, the factory Yamaha rider was able to grab another good start, though was quickly passed by Febvre for P2 and eventually finished the race in 3rd, which gave him a solid overall result, to keep third position in the championship standings, just 4 points behind Cairoli.
Febvre was the last rider to claim a podium spot, as he worked hard in race one to get up to 5th and then in race two had a much better start, inside the top 5 and made some quick passes on the opening lap to get behind Gajser, where he kept him tight all race long. The Frenchman really applied the pressure onto the 4-time world champion, though in the end was forced to settle for 2nd, which put him third overall.
With Gajser crowned champion, the door is now wide open for the vice-champion position. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli had not such a bad day, though may not have been what he had expected, following an overall victory last time around. The Italian finished the first race 6th after a crash while pushing Seewer for the lead, though he did try to re-group and had some nice battles with Lupino and Febvre. While in the second race we saw the 9-time world champion battle with Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing’s Clement Desalle though he could not get around the Belgian and had to settle for 5th. This has allowed Seewer to close in, in terms of championship points, as there’s only 4 points in it, heading into the final round.
It was a good day for Alessandro Lupino who took a season best result in race one as he crossed the line in 3rd. Race two was a bit tougher for the local rider, who finished 11th which gave him 6th overall.
Tim Gajser – 2020 MXGP Champion
“It feels just unbelievable. Like I said many times, winning one is incredible but now four is just…speechless. I’m really happy. It was a weird season, but anyway in the end everything came together, and we won another title. In the first race, I was already struggling with the clutch and was riding without the clutch the whole race, finishing second. Then in the second race, I had a nice battle with Romain [Febvre] who was really pushing and I’m super happy to win the title and the overall on the same day.”
Jeremy Seewer – P2
“First pole position and then got a great start…I’ve been second many times in qualifying this year so it didn’t really matter for the start, it is just a good feeling to be on pole and then after an amazing first race, Tim [Gajser] had some technical problems, so hats off to him for riding that fast without a clutch and also congratulations on the world championship, he’s done great this year. Anyway, I’m really happy, solid results, second overall and good points for the championship, especially on this kind of track, where I kind of struggled the last few years and not got a podium here, not even in my MX2 days, so it felt great. I know it’s going to go between me and Tony [Cairoli] for the vice world championship, but honestly I hope for some more races like today. I mean my goal was to be up front and win, to be on the podium and I will hope to do the same on Sunday.”
Romain Febvre – P3
“Last Sunday, I had a really bad first race, crashed at the start so I was last and then crashed two more times after that. Anyway, today in the first race, I didn’t really get the start and came back to 5th, so I was really happy about my riding, but I knew they key was the start. We focused for the second start and I had a really good start, maybe third or something, and moved to second quick and battled with Tim [Gajser] for the whole race, congrats to him on the championship of course and today’s win, he was the best this year.”
Gajsers injured teammate, Australian Mitch Evans congratulated him on a great season.
“It has been a great season for Tim, and he thoroughly deserves to win this title. He works extremely hard and I couldn’t be happier for him and the whole team. It is a great group of people here and having now experienced the atmosphere this year, I am really happy to be here again next year. The injury is progressing really well and I’m aiming to come into 2021 just how I started this year, knowing that I’ll be riding a championship-winning bike.”