A big day for HRC rider Tim Gajser as he not only won the GP of Russia, but also now holds the red plate in the MXGP points. Jorge Prado from the Red Bull KTM team did what he does and went 1-1 again. Here is what a lot of the riders thought.

Tim Gajser:  “I’m feeling really good about this weekend. It wasn’t easy out there, as both motos were tough because Arnaud (Tonus) was really fast and he was always behind me pushing hard. The first race I held him off all race, and then in the second race it was the same again but with 10 minutes to go he made a mistake and that gave me the gap I needed to control the race and take the victory. The track wasn’t so bumpy but it was still tough because it was so hard and it was easy to make a mistake. Overall I’m happy, and a huge thanks to everyone at Honda, as the CRF450RW is amazing and let’s hope we can continue this run of form. Three races ago I was 40 points behind in the championship and now I have the red plate so I’m really happy about these past few weeks have gone and although it’s still early in the season and there is plenty of races ahead of us, it’s still a great feeling and I can’t wait to see the red plate on my bike in Latvia.”

Jorge Prado:  “It was a very hard weekend because in the first moto I had a good jump out of the gate but collided with a few other riders in the first corner and lost a lot of positions. I had to work my way up to the front and it took all moto! With two laps to go I made the pass for first place: I was really happy afterwards, even if it did mean I had to use a lot of energy. I knew that the holeshot would be important and concentrated so much for the second moto. It made my life much easier. I’m happy to win again. Latvia is a track I like. My first year there I almost made a podium and last year I won the Qualifying race and the second moto. I’m looking forward to it and hope to make my gap in the championship a little bigger.”

Jeffrey Herlings:  “I had a serious injury and it has been tough to get back here, mentally and physically, and with a lot of pain for a long time. I did not expect this result here today especially on this track. So to be close to the podium again feels pretty beautiful. I like the track in Latvia but I don’t have any firm expectations and I will not forget where I have come from to get to this point. Having said that we’ll always try to fight for a podium spot when we can!”

Tony Cairoli:  “A very difficult weekend and of course the crash from yesterday did not help as it meant I was totally on the outside for the gate pick. I was riding very stiff and by missing the start it is almost impossible to make a good result on this track; everybody is riding at a similar speed. We lost the red plate but the positive is that I’m not badly injured, and we saw some big crashes today. We walk away a bit banged-up but we will re-group and look to Latvia, which is a nice track, and to regain some points.”

Arnaud Tonus:  “It wasn’t easy to fight for the lead. I was happy I had some good starts so at the beginning I was already close to Tim. There were not too many opportunities to pass on this track, so I came close, and I went for it, but I ended up making a small mistake. I am happy I tried and was able to recover and still finished second. I am still super thankful to be up here on the podium three times in a row.”

Jeremy Seewer:  “It’s amazing to make it onto the MXGP podium. It feels like it is much harder to get here, much harder that even some of my MX2 wins. It is a lot of work to get here, there are a lot of fast guys and especially on a track like we had today where there are a lot of guys riding a similar speed. I feel like it takes time to move from the 250cc to the 450cc and to get comfortable on the bike, but in the past few weeks I have been feeling good. My crew on the Yamaha Factory team have done an amazing job, and I owe a big thanks to them for making it happen. It feels like we are moving in a really good direction.”

Jago Geerts:  “It was a solid weekend for me, I was able to close in on the leaders near the end of the races, but I didn’t have enough time and I finished third. I worked hard in the second race. I worked up to third and got close to Olsen. I tried really hard, but it just wasn’t enough, so I finished third for my second podium in a row. I am happy with that, and I really look forward to going to Latvia next week, it’s one of my favorite tracks.”

Romain Febvre:  “The weekend was good. Yesterday was really good to win the Qualifying Race. Last week I could not ride because I was really sick. I was lucky to feel better when I got here. In the first race I got the holeshot but I made some mistakes.  I got back to third, but I hit my ankle and felt some pain, so I just secured third. In the second race I crashed and then stalled the bike and lost a lot of positions. I came back to nine, so the speed was good, but two mistakes on this type of track, I could not do better.”

Gautier Paulin:  “I had a good Saturday fighting up front. I really felt at my best. In warm-up this morning I was feeling good on the bike, but I didn’t have a good start in the first race, but I came through really quickly until I washed the rear end on one of the jumps and had a big ‘one’. It was a really big crash, I hurt my hands a little bit. I came back in the second race, and just rode my race. I didn’t feel good, but I will be back in Latvia, healthier than I am now.”

Tom Vialle:  “A good weekend for me and I’m happy with these results here. It felt like both days went well although my starts were not perfect. I’m fifth in the championship at the moment and that feels great but I know there is still a long way to go. I have to keep trying to score as many points each weekend. We go to Latvia next and it’s my first visit there so I’ll be hoping to be good again.”

Roan van de Moosdijk:  “The start was the key today. I came out of the first turn third and took second already on the first lap; I followed Rubini all race but both of us were riding a perfect race and I saw that we had gapped the rest of the field so I knew second was good for the overall and I didn’t take any risks on the last lap. I’m really looking forward to the next round at Kegums in the sand.”

Ben Watson:  “I have to be happy with 7th place. I had a really big crash on Saturday. I injured both wrists and didn’t even know if I could ride on Sunday. Luckily, I was able to ride, but trust me: it was not an easy day. I had a terrible gate pick and had to fight the pain. I had to come back from outside the top 20 in both races. I’m really happy with my second race. I moved up from 20th to 6th place, after a lot of passes. Now, I have one week to take a little rest an recover.”

Henry Jacobi:  “I’m a little frustrated as yesterday I was second in all the practice sessions so the speed was there and today too but my starts weren’t good all weekend. I was involved in a collision at the first corner of race one but I could come back from last to eighth. The second start was a little better and I finished eighth again; it was really hot but I made the best of it. I just need to find my good starts again; normally the starts have been strong but these last two GPs I’m missing that. It was very difficult to pass here as there are many high-speed sections and just two technical ones where you can find some opportunities to pass. But it is what it is; it was the same for everyone.”

Mitchell Evans:  “In the first moto I got off to a good start and just kind of rode my own race, so stayed in fifth the whole race. I tried to follow the leaders, but they just had a little bit more pace. I was struggling with the speeds on the track and just how slippery it was. In moto two I had a really bad start, around twentieth or something, and on a track that was really hard to pass on I made my way to tenth. I was really happy with my riding this weekend. My pace was a little bit off, but we know where we can improve. I have just got to focus on making my starts better. I am looking forward to Latvia.”

Zachary Pichon:  “The result is not here, but we had a lot of improvements this weekend. I had quite good speed on the track and a good qualifying day. In the first race I started around fifteenth and came back to eleventh with nine minutes left, but then I had an electrical issue. I crashed on the start in the second race and could not find the rhythm. Speed is there, but I just need to put everything together. I am really motivated for Latvia next weekend.”

Darian Sanayei:  “Today was pretty good. It was great to get the holeshot and lead the first race for nearly fifteen minutes! That was about all I could do before I ran out of energy as I still have issues with my fitness and the after-effects of the virus. After fifteen minutes I was done and hanging, but after I went back quickly to sixth I saw I had a gap to the rest so I just rode smart. I knew I had nothing left physically for the second race so I just tried to get a good start and push from the beginning of the race; I was in the top three for nearly fifteen minutes again but then I faded as expected. I’m just happy to show some speed this weekend and let everyone know I can still run up in front even if I can’t train or ride between the races.”

Julien Lieber:  “I had a good rhythm yesterday but my start wasn’t so good in the Qualifying race and I was fighting with Tonus when he hit me and I crashed. I was pushing to come back but had another crash; seventeenth behind the gate was not the best as the start is even more important here. At the first start I was completely outside; my jump out of the gate was good but in the first corner I was too wide and lost positions. My first two laps were really good so I could pass several riders and eventually I came back to sixth. My second start was better from the inside; I was fifth when I hit neutral and lost one position but then I came back to fifth again for sixth overall. I want to thanks all the team as we did a lot of testing before coming here and I feel even more confident; we’ll try to continue the good work in Latvia.”

Evgeny Bobryshev:  “This was going to be my last GP for some weeks but I guess it will be a little longer now. I have been riding in pain from my wrist injury so I went back to my doctor last week and he confirmed that I  have broken ligaments in my wrist and needed an operation but I wanted to race here for my Russian fans.”

Benoit Paturel:  “There are some positive points from this weekend; it was my best GP so far even if the result in the second race is not that good. I had a good rhythm this weekend. In the first moto I got a good start and was able to battle in the top ten; I lost two positions in the last part of the race but it was a positive one. For sure I used a lot of energy when I was fighting in the top ten and the second moto was more difficult after a bad start; the track was fast, it was very hot and I did my best but I didn’t want to take risks.”

Brian Bogers:  “It wasn’t my best performance and I’m not too happy because two races placed 17th is not what we came all the way to Russia for. In this weather, I need to work still because these temperatures and on this kind of hard pack track, I’m not where I need to be. I did feel quite good, and I do like the track and I even enjoyed riding. However the results are not good enough so I now I need to work in the week to make sure that Latvia goes well.

Thomas Kjer Olsen:  “It’s been another positive GP for me. It’s a little frustrating I didn’t have just a little more for Prado in the first moto, but generally it’s great to be on the podium again. I’ve been working on my starts and today I got out the gate well in both motos, which made a big difference. In the first moto I worked my way into the lead and felt good. The track was a little unpredictable in places, there were a few tricky slick spots, so I just tried to make sure I smooth. I don’t know how many laps I led but I just pushed hard to stay ahead, which I did until two laps to go. I gave everything to get back ahead of Prado, but I couldn’t make it happen. I got into second quickly in the second moto and just tried to me smooth and consistent. It was hot, but I felt good. Another second-place result was good.”

Jed Beaton:  “I’m really happy with the way the GPs gone. Obviously, I needed a little bit of time off following my crash in Portugal and to come back after being unable to race in France and get two solid results is great. I did three good days of riding before coming to Russia, so I was confident things would go well because I felt good and importantly was pain free. The opening moto didn’t start too well, I got a bad start so had to work really hard. I went from outside the top 20 to 12th and put in a lot of effort. I was feeling the hard work in the second moto but made some good passes. I’m really pleased with seventh. I feel like I’m where I should be and now that the Portugal crash is behind me I want to build on these results starting with the Latvian GP next weekend.”

Pauls Jonass:  “I was looking forward to coming here to Russia because I won a couple times in MX2, so I have good memories. I felt good on the track all weekend, my speed was where I wanted it to be. The track is super-fast and slick and hard to make a lot of time up, so when everyone is pushing hard it’s easy for mistakes to happen. I guess I tried to be aggressive but sensible at the start of both races. I didn’t get the best of starts, but they weren’t bad either. I made some good, quick passes and was pleased to be running in fifth for several laps in the opening moto. But I felt like the second moto was better – I kept fighting to finish sixth, which was a great way to end the GP.”

Arminas Jasikonis: “Not the GP I was hoping for at all and I wasn’t riding like I can or should have been. I don’t know why but I couldn’t find a good rhythm with the track, which meant that I was riding too hard, being too physical, in both races. Because I was riding too physically, I really felt the heat in the second moto. I gave my all but not at all what I wanted, but racing can be like this sometimes. We move on to the next GP and look to do better.”

Ray Archer image


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.