British GP - Cairoli or Gajser?

Posted on March 14, 2019

So with the first round of the MXGP championship already played out in Argentina nearly two weeks ago, we have a little more than a week before the Grand Prix of Great Britain. We all saw last year at Matterley Basin how fast Cairoli was, his battle with Jeffrey Herlings was as close as it was exciting, and it is hard to see anyone battle with the Italian legend in England.

In saying that, Tim Gajser has won in England in 2016 with 1-1 results, and his MXoN performance in 2017, where he was quickest in MXGP practice, won the MXGP qualification moto, and then scored 2-5 on the Sunday was impressive. On every occasion that weekend Gajser beat Cairoli. So don’t write the two-time World champion out of putting up a fight to Cairoli in a little over a weeks’ time.

With Cairoli leaving Argentina with 1-1 results and Gajser with 2-2 both are in brilliant form, and the qualification victory by Gajser on the Saturday showed that the old Tim Gajser is back. But can the HRC rider match the KTM legend around another beautiful motocross circuit.

It is amazing to think that Cairoli first rode the Matterley Basin circuit 13 years ago, when he finished with 6-1 results and second overall to fellow Italian David Phillipaerts in the MX2 GP. A few months later Cairoli would shine with a stunning performance at the Motocross of Nations, battling blazing fast American Ryan Villopoto in the MX2 class. Cairoli won the Saturday qualification race and also won the Open/MX2 race, but an early crash in the MX2/MXGP race saw him finish down in 10th place.

After a handful of years off the calendar, Matterley Basin returned in 2011, and Cairoli took a moto win as he scored victory in the MX1 class with 3-1 results. A year later in 2012 Cairoli scored 1-1 in the MX1 class and of course won the overall.

In 2014 Cairoli went 1-2 for the MXGP overall victory and in doing so scored his seventh moto win from 12 starts. A year later and Cairoli gets another win in England with 1-3 scores.

2016 and as mentioned Gajser won with 1-1 results and Cairoli could only muster 2-10 for sixth overall.

Who can forget last year’s event with Herlings and Cairoli, and while the Dutchman won it, the performance of Cairoli was also impressive and his 2-2 also what we had come to expect from the Italian in England. 

Gajser managed 3-5 in 2018, but we all know that the 2018 version of the Honda rider wasn't the same as the one who dominated in 2016, or performed so well at the MXoN in 2017, just as the 2016 version of Cairoli wasn't the same as this years version, or even last years version for that matter.

So what do we get in 2019? Can Gajser battle Cairoli? Can Cairoli win the GP, and take his fifth win at the circuit and add to his victories in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015? Whatever happens, I know I will be hoping for close, dramatic racing, no matter who wins.

Bavo Swijgers image