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Tim Gajser at the 2016 MXGP of Switzerland

Gajser & Febvre rally strong for Swiss MXGP podium spots

Aug 082016

Hello Switzerland: where have you been? 45,000 spectators bulged the fences at the new Frauenfeld-Gachnang circuit for the fifteenth round of eighteen in MXGP this year and all the right ingredients were in place for a barnstormer of an event. Capacity crowd? Check. Stunning weather? Check. Challenging and spectacular circuit? Also. Grand Prix motocross made a welcome and memorable return to the country after a fifteen-year hiatus and the fixture immediately became one of the standout races of the season.

On this splendid stage Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Romain Febvre – the two fiercest and standout athletes from an intense MXGP campaign so far – threw their gauntlets on the table and were able to leave the third Grand Prix in three weeks with second and third positions overall and just behind Tony Cairoli. Also catching the eye was Kemea Yamaha’s Benoit Paturel who put the emotion of a recent family bereavement to one side to finish third in the MX2 class and for his third trophy of the year.

Weekend sunshine was a relief to organisers. Heavy rain in the run-up to the Grand Prix was initially a cause for worry, and signs of the battered mud on the largely grassy facility were evident as late as the Qualification Heat races on Saturday. Sunday dawned bright and light and the soil was heavy with braking bumps, ruts and scarred with other technical lumps and holes through the six category racing programme; EMX125, 250, 150 and the penultimate round of the Women’s World Championship complimenting the two principle classes of MX2 and MXGP.

“I was preparing my pass in the first moto but I hit the rut fast and went over the handlebars; it was hard to pick up the bike because everyone was coming at me!” Gajser explained. “Thankfully it was still running and I had to come from the back. I was pushing; my speed was good but I wasn't happy with ninth.”


“The second moto was better and Tony was pushing me hard, then Romain joined the battle. It was nice racing. We have just three races to go now and for sure we are starting to think about the title a little bit. I need to be smarter!”

“I’m really happy because I was struggling and disappointed at the start of the weekend,” the Frenchman reflected. “I hadn’t ridden on hard-pack in the last few weeks and I’m pleased to have turned a bad day into a good day. I gave everything to pass Tim and take the lead but I couldn't make it happen and then physically I could not continue to push that hard.”


“We were really close and just one more position would have given us fourth overall,” the Brit said. “It is still my best weekend of the year and I felt comfortable on the track and had good starts. I felt how I should feel. That second race was easier; when you get a bad start you beat yourself up and rush everything and in that moto I got pulled along and was in a nice rhythm.”


WMX neared a finale in Switzerland and saw the triumphant return of Kiwi Courtney Duncan to Grand Prix duty. The winner of the opening round in Qatar had been absent since round three in Germany due to injury but gave her competitors and fans of MXGP a reminder of her potency by claiming the first moto even though she has been back in the saddle of her Yamaha for only two weeks. “It is definitely good to be back and it has been a long three months away; to finish on the top of the box was nice…but I have a lot to work-on because I only had two weeks on the bike. Anyway, this is a good step and I’m happy.”


World Champion Kiara Fontanesi – third in the series – is almost ready to hand over the crown she has worn for the previous four years to Livia Lancelot as the Frenchwoman classified second overall and is 27 points ahead of Nancy Van Der Ven with 50 left in the pot for the swansong in Assen. ‘Fonta’ was fourth in Switzerland.