Tim Gajser back to winning ways at MXGP of Turkiye

The HRC rider crashed in the final race of the Internazionale d'Italia series in February, but returned to winning ways at the MXGP of Turkiye last weekend.

Tim Gajser & Team HRC celebrate 2023 MXGP of Turkiye victory. - Honda Racing Corporation

Tim Gajser has returned to the top step of the podium seven months after his pre-season injury back in February.

Gajser’s victory came at the MXGP of Turkiye last weekend, where he registered a 2-1 scorecard to take the overall victory over Romain Febvre, who had won six of the last seven Grands Prix before Turkiye, and who won the first moto at the Turkish GP in Afyonkarahisar.

Gajser’s second moto win, which came despite a crash when he was leading by more than five seconds, meant that even a second place for Febvre would not have been enough to deny the Slovenian victory, but Yamaha's Maxime Renaux’s out-pacing of Kawasaki's Febvre in the second moto put victory beyond doubt for Gajser.

The #243 HRC rider, who won the 2022 MXGP World Championship at a relative canter, was put out of contention earlier this year when he crashed during a preseason race in the Internazionale d’Italia at Trentino.

Since his return to Grand Prix racing at the MXGP of the Czech Republic in the middle of July, Gajser had not been able to make much impact on the battles at the front, which instead were dominated by current championship leader Jorge Prado and the aforementioned Febvre. Indeed, Gajser’s victory in Turkiye was his first Grand Prix podium since the last round of 2022, when he won the MXGP of Turkiye.

The 2023 MXGP World Championship continues next weekend (15-17 September) at the MXGP of Italy in Maggiora.

This article was originally published on 20 February 2023, an was updated with the above text on 7 September 2023. The original article can be read below.

Motocross World Champion Tim Gajser has broken his femur in a crash while racing in Italy.

Tim Gajser was preparing to defend his fifth Motocross World Championship title (fourth MXGP-class) in 2023, heading to the Internazionale d’Italia preseason championship to ‘warm-up’ for the Grand Prix season, which is set to begin next month on 12 March in Argentina. 

The Slovenian finished second in the first race of the weekend in Arco di Trento, which was the second round of the series after the opener at Ponte a Egola, where Gajser finished third overall behind the Yamaha pairing of Jeremy Seewer and Maxime Renaux. 

Gajser’s second race in Arco lasted only three laps, before the crash that broke was eventually found to have broken his femur required a red flag to facilitate the #243’s removal from the track. 

Gajser’s injury will require surgery, and a Honda press release confirms that only once that surgery is complete will it be possible to understand the time frame on Gajser’s recovery.

Last year, the MXGP season got underway without the top two from the previous season present after preseason injuries for 2021 MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings and 2021 MXGP runner-up Romain Febvre. Herlings ended up missing the whole 2022 season, and Febvre was out for half of the year. 

MXGP without its reigning champion in 2023

In 2023, it seems that MXGP will be without its reigning champion, Gajser, for at least the first races of the year, and potentially much longer than that. 

As for last year’s runner-up, Jeremy Seewer ended up clinching the overall victory in Arco di Trento with a 1-1, having gone 2-1 in Ponte a Egola, meaning the Swiss leaves for the Argentine MXGP opener as Italian champion. 

Seewer will be hoping for a better experience in Argentina this year than last, when he suffered a significant concussion in a crash with Thomas Kjer Olsen. 

Image credit: KTM/Juan Pablo Acevedo.

Having finished second three times in the MXGP World Championship, the #91 will be looking for the title in 2023. The main threat to that is likely to be Jeffrey Herlings, especially in Gajser’s recently-confirmed absence. Herlings has only raced a 450 in Argentina twice, though, in 2017 and 2018, finishing ninth and first overall, respectively. The second race of the 2018 Argentinian Grand Prix is regarded as a turning point in Herlings’ 450 career, and the KTM rider went on to win all but three Grands Prix in 2018.

Maxime Renaux finished second overall in the Italian series, and won the first moto of the series in Ponte a Egola. He was also close to winning in Argentina last year, going 1-2 to Tim Gajser’s 2-1, with the Honda rider getting the better of Renaux in the Grand Prix overall courtesy of a better second moto result. 

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