HRC / Honda factory rider Tim Gajser came from a surprise victory in the 2015 MX2 World Championship, added the 2016 MXGP World Championship and then won his second MXGP championship last year. Now with three World titles and 24 Grand Prix victories, the Slovenian is already considered among the best ever.
The statistics from the HRC rider are impressive. From 72 GP’s raced in the MXGP class, Gajser has finished on the podium 46 times and has 19 GP wins on the 450.
In the all-time GP winners list, Gajser is already 19th and moving closer to the top ten with every race. If he has another season like 2019, then he can easily become as big a legend as names like Heikki Mikkola, Harry Everts or Torsten Hallman.
The MXGP champion spoke to us about his 2019 season, his off-season and his preparation for 2020.
You had a great season in 2019, how did it feel with all those race wins and your third World championship?
2019 was an amazing season. Already coming into the season, I was already feeling good, the bike was really great. I was hoping for a great season, and I was struggling a bit early in the season, making too many mistakes in the first races, but then after Valkenswaard we went to Arco and then everything started going in the right direction and I started winning races, Grand Prix’s and eventually the title.
Could you appreciate it while it was happening?
Every GP I won, or I rode well, I was definitely happy, but this year I appreciated everything more. Because I learned from the past—from 2015 and 2016—I didn’t really appreciate winning, so 2019 was special. I enjoyed it so much. I am thankful to win that third one.
You won the Grand Prix at Lommel, and you won the MXGP class at the MXoN at Assen. Can you tell me about your improvement in the sand?
Basically that was my goal: to get better in the sand. In the winter we put hard work in and I was training a lot in the sand and at the races we could see that my speed and technique was better in the sand. It is completely different in sand compared to hardpack.
You went to the Monster Cup in Vegas after the season. Were you at all concerned it might ruin your season, or were you just going to have another fun race? Tell me about that?
I was super excited to go there. It was my second time there. I also went there in 2017, and I kind of knew what to expect. I went there earlier, rode on some supercross tracks and tested more. Still, I did just five days of riding, but I had a great time. The racing was good, and I was satisfied to go there, and I hope I go again.
After the MEC, what was your off-season like?
It was very busy. I didn’t have a lot of time off and had a lot to do. I am thankful I could spend a couple of days at home in my own bed, and then beginning of December I started preparation for 2020.
Will you do it the same as last year or change some things?
Last year I changed many things and I was super happy with that. Basically, we try and stay with the same program, but you can always improve. I tried to improve some things and we try and do that every year. That is the goal.
Always improving, how important is that in this class because in the MXGP class, everyone is really working hard and making progress?
I mean, every year, some riders from MX2 come to MXGP and it makes it bigger and more good riders. Already we have the great names, but this year even more good guys. The motivation you need to improve. I always say it could be better. Even winning the races and the titles, I always feel I can do better.
You have a new teammate in Mitch Evans. What is it like working with Mitch?
Mitch is a funny guy and he is a good teammate. We spent a couple of days in November together and we stay a couple of weeks in Sardinia and riding and having some meals together. He is a good guy, fast, young.
Is it weird that you are the older guy now. the older teammate?
I mean, the years are flying and I am getting older but it is nice having Mitch beside me. He is younger and hungry, and he wants to show he is fast.
How do you think Mitch will do moving up?
I think for Mitch—in fact, all the MX2 guys coming to MXGP—first you have to change the bike, but also the competition. There are so many good riders, but I think the 450 suits Mitch better because he is taller. I think he will be good.
Defending your championship is obviously the goal for 2020?
That is definitely the goal. But, of course, I want to have fun, enjoy the races and stay healthy. I just want to enjoy and if I am having fun riding my dirt bike, I can go really fast. A happy team is a fast team, so I hope we have good races this year.
What about the new bike? What can you tell us about that?
Also, for this year we have the new bike, and I am super excited because as soon as I sat on the bike, I felt really good and comfortable. Everything goes in a good way and we can have great races with that bike and a great season. I never try to stop progressing and Honda are the same. They always come with new things and together we can do big things.
Bavo Swijgers images