HRC Head to Portugal
Posted on May 15, 2019
The sixth round of the 2019 motocross world championship sees Team HRC head to Agueda, Portugal for what should be another different challenge in this testing season. After the mud of Lombardia, the red clay surface of Agueda can provide a lot of grip if it has moisture but without the necessary water it can be quite hard-pack and dusty. This makes it a real challenge, but one that Tim Gajser, Brian Bogers and Calvin Vlaanderen are highly motivated to overcome.
For Gajser, he’ll be looking to bounce back and put his Honda CRF450RW on podium again, like he achieved at the first four rounds. The title challenger showed his pace in the motos, posting both fastest laptimes, but he just struggled to stay consistent in the extremely muddy conditions. Portugal should offer a much different surface though, with nowhere near as much rain forecasted to fall on the area. If that remains the case, the natural layout and nice jumps should allow the Slovenian rider a good chance to match the victory that he achieved at the MXGP of Trentino.
His MXGP teammate Bogers heads to Portugal buoyed with confidence after his second place finish in the second moto in Lombardia. After a good start, the Dutch rider rode solidly all moto long, holding off any threats behind while maintaining a good speed and minimising any mistakes. It was a great reward for the work he’s been putting in during the break and he’ll be looking to follow up that result with two more strong finishes in Agueda.
While Bogers was training hard in the five week break, Vlaanderen was recovering from his fractured fibula and that meant the MX2 rider had very limited practice before the MXGP of Lombardia last weekend. The CRF250RW rider still rode well in the difficult conditions, picking up points in both races, but he’ll be hoping to do even better after another week of recovery and testing.
The MXGP and MX2 classes are joined by the WMX and EMX2t series this weekend with the first Team HRC bike hitting the track at 12:30 (MX2 free practice) local time on Saturday 18th May. The MXGP class follows on from them, with qualifying races starting at 16:55 and 17:40 respectively. The first gate drop for the motos then happens at 13:15 on Sunday 19th May in what should be another excellent weekend of action in the world championship series.
Tim Gajser: I’m going to train hard this week to make sure that I am ready for Portugal. I like the track at Agueda, it is really natural, with the uphills and downhills. Some nice jumps and red clay that can get really grippy. Sometimes it can be a bit too dry but I know they know how to prep the track so I am definitely looking forward to it. Lombardia is behind us and now I’m focusing on Portugal.
Brian Bogers: Obviously it was great to get that second place result in Mantova, but I can’t afford to stop working now. I need to keep building and keep improving and making sure that last week happens again and again. The races are coming up very quickly now so there isn’t much chance to change too much, so it’s all about those little things that can help keeping me moving forward.
Calvin Vlaanderen: Portugal is a really nice track. Last year they had a lot of rain and it became really rutted and I didn’t have my best result there but I’ve had a podium before in the EMX125 series so I really enjoy the track and racing there. I’m actually going to stay in Italy for a couple of days to test, before flying home to Holland quickly and then it’s off to Portugal. Not much time and my foot does need some rest so that is as important as the testing but I aim to allow that to happen this week so I can hopefully come out a little bit more prepared than this weekend.
Marcus Pereira de Freitas - HRC General Manager – MXGP: First off, it was great to see Brian ride so well in Lombardia last weekend, so we are really excited to see what he can do in Portugal this weekend. He got a ninth in Trentino and then a second in Mantova so we really hope he can start to consistently find the top 10 now. Portugal is a different track again but he really improved in the break and this weekend is another chance to show it. Unfortunately Tim didn’t have his best weekend but we know he is a champion and having a race so quickly afterwards gives him the perfect opportunity to bounce back and prove his race-winning speed again. He was fastest in both motos last weekend, he just didn’t have things go his way, so we are hoping that things will go smoother in Portugal. As for Calvin, he is another week further into his recovery and every day is a step closer to being back to being 100%. The conditions in Mantova didn’t really allow him to show his capabilities but he kept fighting and we know that he’ll get better at these next few rounds.
Bavo Swijgers image