After this year’s MXGP season faced months of delays, the FIM World Motocross Championship finally kicked off. This year’s opener would be on the coast of the Black Sea in Orlyonok, Russia.
Defending three-time 450 World Champion, Tim Gajser of Honda HRC would stake his claim immediately into this year’s title fight with a 1-1 result. His win featured one of the most impressive moto performances in recent memory anywhere in the world in his second race of the day. More on that and all the MXGP and MX2 action in Russia.
Red Bull KTM’s MX2 program once again touts a truly world-class stable of riders. Once again they roll with 20-year-old Frenchman and defending champion Tom Vialle. Alongside him is 19-year-old Austrian Rene Hoffer. Hoffer would start off his season with a 5-4 for fifth overall, after having his 2020 cut short due to injury. Vialle would however best his teammate, and the rest of the field for that matter, with a 1-1 for first. This was Vialle’s ninth career Grand Prix win in his third year as a professional.
Joining Vialle on the MX2 podium would be Spaniard Ruben Fernandez of Team Honda 114 Motorsports. Earning a 2-3 for second overall. This would be Fernandez’s first career MX2 podium in his fifth year in the class son congratulations to him. Rounding out the podium would be Frenchman Mathys Boisrame of F&H Kawasaki with a 4-2. Last year’s championship runner-up, Belgian Jago Geerts of Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha, dug himself into a massive hole early. He finished in 16th in Moto 1, however was able to rally to a sixth in Moto Two. This would only be good for 12th overall on the day, however.
Gajser in the opening MXGP class moto of the day would go from fourth to first in the fourth turn of the race and set sail. Absolutely blasting by title rivals Antonio Cairoli and Jorge Prado of Red Bull KTM in the process. Gajser would lead the entire Moto from this point on, facing no resistance behind him. Prado would wreck out of second on lap two on a downhill section in a bad spot. Luckily he was able to rally from 22nd to end up ninth.
Cairoli would have a late-race bobble to lose second to Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Romain Febvre, but Cairoli would hold on for third. 2018 champ Jeffery Herlings would end up in fourth, with fifth place going to Alessandro Lupino. You may recall Lupino running in the AMA Pro Motocross opener in Pala. What you possibly don’t know is that he did so on a barebone stock KTM bike. Rallying after a 36th in Moto 1 to score 16th overall with a 13th in Moto 2. Safe to say that early race time is paying off in these early goings.
As it seemed that Herlings would be bunched up at the start of Moto 2, he ended up with a holeshot. Even better for him was that Gajser was forced out way wide and was scored south of 20th across the holeshot line. Herlings’ good fortunes would not last, however, as he coughed up the lead after he slipped up in a corner. This would put Cairoli at the point, and with all of this going on, Gajser was beginning to channel his inner James Stewart. After his start outside the top 20, Gajser kept up an otherworldly pace and by the halfway point of the race was in second place.
Gajser, still on this pace would get by Cairoli for what would be the winning move, but Cairoli’s day would get a lot worse. The Italian icon would wreck on the finish jump, as about a half dozen others did, and damaged his clutch level and handlebars. What was almost certainly a second overall day would turn into a tenth for the seven-time 450 World Champion.
Herlings would end up rallying up to second in the second moto. Also in the overall standings on the day, sitting just ten points behind Gajser. Third on the day would be Febvre, who would end up sixth in Moto 2. This despite an incident with Standing Construct GasGas rider Paul Jonass early on. But for Gajser it would an extraordinary effort in his second Moto of the day. On a day where it seemed a lot of riders did not seem to gell with the track conditions, the Slovenian World Champion thrived. A picture-perfect start to Gajser’s bid for a three-peat, as the series heads to Great Britain in two weeks.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images