Tim Gajser breaks femur in Italy, MXGP without its champion in 2023 yet again

The HRC rider crashed in the final race of the Internazionale d'Italia series in Arco di Trento last weekend, suffering a broken femur.

Tim Gajser, HRC MXGP 2023

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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