A World champion was crowned, another is right on the doorstep of a World title and another won his third GP in his career after a four-year wait. Read what all the leading riders thought of their weekend.

Tim Gajser: “It is just an amazing feeling to have won this third world championship. To fight back after two really tough years and to even overcome a difficult round earlier in the year, it is just really, really great to have become champion. A big thanks to all of Team HRC, both here at the races and back in Japan who have supported me throughout this period, during the good and the bad. It is a real family I have under this awning and I am truly thankful to be riding with them for so long. We have all worked extremely hard this year to improve myself and the Honda CRF450RW but it has worked amazingly well. We have had great starts, zero issues, and I just feel really comfortable each time I get on the track, whatever the conditions. I am struggling to say much more but it really has been an incredible experience and I’m so glad that a lot of fans from Slovenia could come out and witness this moment too. My previous wins have been in the USA, but now to have so much support here at Imola, and just throughout this year is something I am really appreciative of. Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this journey, fans team members, everyone, it means so much to me.”

Glenn Coldenhoff: “It is amazing. I won a moto and the overall in 2015, but now going 1-1 here it is amazing and thanks to the team. We had a tough time and a lot of negatives, but now my boss is happy. I won my first GP with him and also my third today. It means a lot and its been a while. I never got 1-1 in the MXGP class and thanks to everyone for helping me out.”

Jorge Prado: “The track was a bit easier and more flowing yesterday and it was harder to find the perfect rhythm today. It was tough. I was quickly into first in both motos and it was a case of good starts, good riding and moving forwards. Sweden [Uddevalla] is a track I really like and I won a moto there and took a podium in my first season in 2017. Hopefully we’ll do a nice race there next weekend and it will be doubly nice to get the title.”

Jeremy Seewer: “First of all I want to congratulate Tim Gajser on winning the championship. And for myself, I am happy with how the weekend went. I put in two consistent rides, and made another small step, but it is the consistency that I am most happy about. I am looking forward to the next few GP’s where I will continue to take it race by race and keep the consistency going.”

Thomas Kjer Olsen: “It feels amazing to be back on the podium, Lommel was a really tough race for me so to be able to come back here for second is great. We made some changes to the bike for the race here and they really seem to have worked out well. The team have done a great job to get me feeling comfortable on the bike and I think it shows today, even on such a demanding track like this one. I gave it my all out there today, had some great battles and I’m happy to finish on the podium.”

Maxime Renaux: “It is really special, a rough time and a tough time these last couple of years and I hope for me in the rest of the season keep improving, and also next year.”

Jago Geerts: “On the one hand, I’m a bit disappointed not being on the podium. On the other hand, I’m happy that I reclaimed the third position in the championship. Without that small crash – I got cross-rutted – in the second race I could have been on the box. I tried everything to pass Reanaux at the end, but the track was very sketchy and I didn’t want to take too many risks. I rode two solid races and I’m third in the championship. It’s my goal to defend that position till the end. Not an easy job. Things can change quickly as you have seen the last couple of races.”

Gautier Paulin: “I am happy. I changed my training program after Lommel and it has paid off. I am really enjoying riding. In the first moto, I took the lead and was really happy to finish third. I am really happy with my entire crew at Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha. The way they worked on my bike this weekend made the difference with this track being really sketchy and square edged. The track is also very tight, so to handle the 450cc bike in these conditions is tough, so the bike has to be good. I felt good, but came up short of the podium. But that is how it is, I didn’t have enough today. I would just like to congratulate Tim Gajser on winning the championship. Well earned.”

Pauls Jonass: “Overall the weekend went well for me, I’m happy with fifth but felt we could have gone a little better. I got good starts in both races so that is really positive and then I was able to run near the front too. We were able to identify a few places where I was losing a little time and I know I still need to work on my strength for riding the 450, especially on a technical surface like today. The track was heavy going and quite slippery in places, like on the take-off to the jumps – a lot of the time you had to fire out the corners really hard to clear them and that was pretty tricky. We had good pace today and a good set up – just need to work on bringing it all together and keeping smooth for the whole race. It’s Sweden next, which is one of my favorite circuits, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Henry Jacobi: “It was a tough weekend for me as I had too much wheelspin at the start of the first race and then crashed twice so I had to work hard to come back to thirteenth. In the second race I got a better start but I stalled the bike and lost two positions; I was quickly back to sixth but then I couldn’t push further up the leaderboard as I had used so much energy in the first moto.”

Darian Sanayei: “This weekend was pretty good, going fourth in timed practice and again fourth in the Qualifying race. Today I got a really good start in the first race; I was third, immediately passed into the lead and could stay there for a couple of laps. Unfortunately my rear brake was damaged on the third lap; after that I was just trying to do my best but then the rear wheel broke with two laps to go. My second start was not as good, around twelfth, but I gradually worked forward to finish eighth.”

Arminas Jasikonis: “It’s been a tough meeting for me, I had some issues in practice and qualifying didn’t go too well, but I knew I had a good pace for today’s races. In race one I didn’t get the best start but was able to push and fought my way through to Pauls. We had a good battle but he got me right before the end. Race two was the same from the start, I was lying inside the top 10 for most of the race but began to get really tired towards the end. I made a mistake over one of the jumps and had to loop around off track to get back on – I lost a few places there. Overall I’m happy but need to work on a few things before Sweden.”

Romain Febvre: “I had an up and down weekend. I struggled on the track to find the flow. It kept getting better, I felt much better today than yesterday. I didn’t get the best start in the first race but I came back to third, but I had a big crash downhill and hurt my neck. I felt stiff in the second race, but I could pass some guys, but I touched the radiator and I could not turn really well. My results weren’t where I want them to be, but it is what is. On to the next GP.”

Tom Vialle: “A strange weekend. I was really good in practice on Saturday and I liked the track. I was fastest in Free Practice and had a good sensation on the bike. I still don’t understand how I crashed in the first moto and in the second I was in sixth-seventh when I collided with another rider just before the pitlane. I wasn’t feeling too good and couldn’t continue. Disappointed not to score any points today but I’m not injured and will look forward to next weekend.”

Rene Hofer: “I’m very happy. My starts weren’t the best but I had a really good flow in the first moto and my physical condition was also really good so I could push until the end. In the second moto I unfortunately had a crash at the start and also slid-out with the rear at the end but still managed 11th. Anyway, I’m totally fine. It was hot work today but I’m satisfied and will now do my best to try and get another podium in the final EMX250 race in Sweden.”

Arnaud Tonus: “The weekend was ok for me until the last race. I felt good in most of my sessions. I felt like I suited the track. I had a great start in the first race but I was t-boned by Gajser and lost some positions. I managed to fight back to fourth, and then the second one I made a mistake and lost my rhythm completely. I couldn’t come back from the mistake. I am disappointed with how that race went, but it is behind us now. Three rounds remain in the championship and I will do my best.”

Calvin Vlaanderen: “It wasn’t my best day today. I got a decent start in the first moto but got stuck behind a crashed rider in the second turn and that put me outside the top 20. I think I came from around 22nd to 8th which took a lot of effort on this hot day and I was quite tired after the race with all the energy I expended passing those guys. The second race went a lot better and I was around fourth, quickly passed into third and then I rode there the rest of the race. Unfortunately I crashed in the last two last laps but I was still able to finish third. So I went eight-three for fifth overall which is solid, but not what I’m after as I hope to be on the podium.”

Tommy Searle: “I didn’t feel really good in myself on Saturday with my hand and my rib. The practice time was not so good but out of the gate the bike is so good that I made a good start and then my race was a lot easier. I missed some speed at the beginning but I found a good rhythm later in the race. It was not an amazing race but I feel satisfied with my speed once I settled. Sunday was even better and I’m really happy with sixth place as the past eight weeks have been really difficult for me; I’ve been really downcast, being unable to practice due to my injuries when I got this opportunity to ride the factory bike. It’s been difficult and I had no expectations coming into this race; I just wanted to do my job as best I could and give the team a presence. Once I get into the rhythm I don’t feel too much pain but I miss the intensity of racing at this level as I can’t train between the races. The bike made it easy for me; it is so good and makes a big difference.”

Mitch Evans: “The main goal of this weekend was to not crash at all, but I came together with someone on the first lap of both motos. That did not help me. Since Russia I have not been able to train, because of injuries and travel, so the plan for this weekend was to finish the races and get used to racing again, then in Turkey and China we will go for some decent results.”

Zach Pichon: “It was good to be back racing. I was feeling good on the bike in both practices, but I made a mistake in the qualifying race that put me in a bad place on the gate. Starts were good all weekend and I finished sixteenth in the first moto. Unfortunately, on the second start a guy crashed in front of me. I crashed too and one guy hit me really hard. I was knocked out again, but happy to walk away.”

Ray Archer image


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