At the MXGP of Pietramurata earlier today, Honda HRC’s Tim Gajser (MXGP) and Red Bull KTM's Tom Vialle (MX2) claimed their respective titles at round 17 (of 18) of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship.
In the first MX2 moto, Vialle took the moto win and with an 82-point advantage and with only 75 points available, he officially claimed his first MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship title. The Red Bull KTM team put a gold #1 plate on the front of Vialle’s bike for the second moto but unfortunately he suffered a bike issue and had to pull into the pits for the team to fix his KTM. He returned to the race but was a lap down. He finished the race 23rd and did not earn any points in the moto.
Vialle said the following in a team press release:
“I’m so happy but there have been a lot of emotions today. I was a bit angry with the verdict this morning but to make the holeshot and lead the first moto was fantastic. I was almost crying on the last lap. There was so much emotion. It was really special. Crazy. In the second moto I was around sixth position and someone hit me and bent the gear shifter under the bike. I was stuck in second gear. I tried hard to get the bike into third but it was not possible, so I had to come into the pits. I still finished the moto. It was a bit of a shame because I was feeling so good today. Sometimes bad luck happens though. The important thing is that we achieved our goal. I want to say a big thanks to the whole team and everybody who worked together to make this happen. It was tiring to have a lot of races so close together and also keep the concentration through the training. I think we did it pretty good.”
Dirk Gruebel, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager said:
“Tom showed his potential in his first year with us in 2019. There was real progression but then over the winter he made another big step to be a title contender and world champion. He didn’t look back. He doesn’t get nervous. He had real competition, but Tom finished every race in a good spot, mainly in the top five, mostly in the top three. That’s the key to being world champion and now we are here celebrating. Hats-off to him and the family, unbelievable. We are known for having a fast 250 – also a 450! – but I still think we have the benchmark in MX2 for everybody and Tom is another rider who knows how to make starts with it. It’s a really good motorcycle and we’ve been winning since 2004 with that concept. Tom being the ninth world champion shows its quality.”
Robert Jonas, KTM Vice President Motorsports Offroad:
“It’s been fantastic to see Tom grow with the team over the past two years and ultimately win the FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship; his maturity and approach to what has been a season of challenges with a lot of uncertainty has really paid off. Despite the natural pressure he had personally to step up again after his results last year, Tom has kept calm to make it happen week by week and our KTM 250 SX-F is proven once again. I wish Tom and his family huge congratulations for this incredible achievement, as we share this special moment together. I would like to congratulate Joel, Dirk and the entire Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team for their fantastic work with Tom to help nurture his talent and unlock his potential. To take a victory is never easy at this level, and we know 2020 has been a big challenge for everyone with a different type of intensity – but we are proud to have come through and to be celebrating this championship win.”
In the first MXGP moto, Honda HRC’s Tim Gajser finished second to race-winner Jeremy Seewer, and with an 80-point lead (again with only 75 points available still) the Slovenian claimed his third MXGP title. The Honda HRC team put three #1 plates on Gajser’s Honda and he went on to win the second race—his 13th moto win of the season. Through 17 rounds this season, Gajser claimed four overall wins and 14 total overall podiums.
Gajser claimed the 2015 MX2 title before claiming his first MXGP title in his rookie year (2016), his second MXGP title in his fourth year in the class (2019), and his now his third MXGP title in his fifth year in the class.
Gajser said the following in a press release after the race:
“It feels unbelievable to be world champion for a fourth time. Winning one time is amazing, but four times, I’m just speechless. It was a weird season with the COVID-19 and then the break between the rounds two and three, but in the end, everything came together and we won another title!
Racing today was very nice, in the first race, I didn’t have the best start but I was still able to come through the field and finish second and that meant that if I could win race two, I would take the overall. In the second moto I grabbed the holeshot and then had a really good battle with Romain all the way to the chequered flag. We were pushing the whole time so I’m super happy to win this title and the overall on the same day. A big thanks to the whole of Team HRC, there are a lot of people who are involved who couldn’t be here today so a big thank you to all of them and to everyone who has supported me all year long. It is a privilege to ride for this team and I appreciate every single person who has helped me. Thank you!”
HRC General Manager Marcus Pereira de Freitas said in a team statement:
“What an amazing accomplishment by Tim! To win back-to-back titles is extremely difficult to do, and he fully deserves all the accolades he receives. With everything that has happened this year, it has been tough to maintain such a high level of performance, but everyone in Team HRC has done such a great job and I couldn’t be prouder of the efforts that they have put in. For Tim, this is his fourth world title and he is now the most successful Honda rider in history, but he doesn’t let all the fame affect him and he is still an absolute pleasure to work with. Congratulations Tim! Also, I’d like to say a big thanks to all our sponsors who worked with us this year to achieve this goal. It’s been one of the most difficult seasons to plan for and yet everybody has been brilliant and we couldn’t have done it without all that support. Well done everyone for such a great year!”
With both titles already wrapped up, riders will return to the Pietramurata circuit in Trentino for the final round of the championship on Sunday, the MXGP of Garda-Trentino.
You can watch the full highlights from the MXGP of Pietramurata below.