Tim Gajser kicked off the new season with a bang on Sunday, as he swept the opening round of the Internazionali d'Italia series at Riola Sardo. It was a particularly big win – it was the debut for the all-new CRF450RW. What did Gajser make of the bike and his clear triumph in the sand? MX Vice correspondent Lorenzo Resta caught up with him on Sunday evening. Those topics are covered below.
MX Vice: This was a really great day for you. You won the MX1 moto and the Super Final. Almost everything was perfect to start! Two holeshots. A great day.
Tim Gajser: Yeah, exactly. I couldn't wish for a better beginning of the season. It was nice weather, there was good racing and a good crowd as well here always in Riola. In the first moto had a good start and then I got arm pump, so I was kind of struggling until the end. Anyway, super happy to win that first moto. In the second one I got the holeshot again and I was feeling much better than the first moto already in the beginning.
I didn't get arm pump, so I could manage to make a nice and comfortable lead like nine or ten seconds. It was something like that, then I controlled the race until the last couple of laps. I don't know how many – three or four laps until the end. When we started to hit lappers, we came together with a slow rider. I had a big crash, actually. I could re-join the race quite soon and finish in first place, so it was okay. It was a perfect day. I'm looking forward to continuing like that in Ottobiano.
You will do the complete Internazionali d'Italia championship, right?
Yes, all three of them.
Three races on the same track. The weather compared to last year was completely different, so I guess also the track was a bit different. Last year it was heavier, right?
I would say that, yes. This year was a little bit more flatter. Even the sand was drier than last year. Last year it was quite heavy when you came into the corner. Anyway, it was a great day. Around twenty degrees. You couldn't wish for a better race day. It was nice racing. All good!
Did you get an idea about the level of your competitors – the ones who were here anyway – today? Were there any surprises?
Yeah. With Jeremy [Seewer], I expect him to be in front. Last year he showed a good speed everywhere, on the sand and the hard-pack. [Arminas] Jasikonis was also fast. The normal guys. There were many MXGP guys here. Usually we do these kind of races before the season to kind of warm ourselves up, just to get back in the rhythm after not racing for a couple of months. It was good. They are fast, for sure. I expect that. Still Tony [Cairoli] is coming back, I hear, in Mantova, then there are all the other guys who didn't race here. We will see.
This year there is the new HRC bike. I will not ask you what is new, because of course you cannot say anything about it. It really looks like Honda is making a big push. It looks like Europe's now developing the future production CRF450R.. From outside, it looks like this bike is working very well already.
Yeah, exactly. Immediately when I first came back in November last year, I felt really comfortable on the new bike that they gave me. I needed a couple of months to get used to it, because the one we had before we had for two or three years. It was almost the same bike for that. Now it's a big difference. Like you see from outside, it's a completely different bike. It's positive. I'm super happy. Really working hard with all the team. Everybody is putting effort in. It seems like already in the beginning of the season that starts to pay off. We are working well and hopefully we can continue like that through all the year.
You can also see it from the results of your teammate. It was unlucky that he retired in the second moto, but it was because of an issue with the crash. Everyone was surprised to see him behind you.
Yeah. Actually I expected it, because we have been training together in Sardinia now for almost a month. We came together here at the beginning of January and he was fast. I expect that from him. On a 250 he was good, riding well and on some podiums. He is quite heavy and a taller guy though, so from my point of view I think the 450 suits him better. He's definitely going to be really fast this year.
Interview: Lorenzo Resta | Lead Image: Honda Racing