The 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship made its way to Portugal this weekend for Round 5 of the series at Crossdromo Internacional de Águeda.
Despite heavy rainfall and warnings of inclement weather throughout the weekend, conditions ended up nice and offered a great venue for some exciting racing. After a bit of a tough weekend results wise in Arco, HRC's Tim Gajser looked to get back to his normal stride in Portugal and Gautier Paulin continues to build on solid performances with the IceOne Husky team. On the MX2 side, both Calvin Vlaanderen and Bas Vaessen came into Portugal healthy and looking for strong results. The WMX class returned this weekend as well, and Courtney Duncan had her eyes on the red plate after scoring 2nd at the season opener last week at Arco. Unfortunately Max Anstie & Hunter Lawrence both missed this round as they are still recovering from injury.
Gajser was looking quick on Saturday and was 2nd fastest during timed qualifying with a 1:49.964. Paulin almost matched him, closely in 3rd with a 1:49.992. Later in the afternoon, Gajser secured 4th in the Qualifying Race, with Paulin a close 6th. Solid gate picks for the races on Sunday! In MX2, Vlaanderen was 6th and Vaessen 19th.
The "Kiwi Girl" Courtney Duncan started the weekend off on top of the WMX field by 2 seconds in Qualifying Practice. She got off to a great start in Moto #1, grabbing the holeshot and building a nice lead early on. When the checkers flew, she had led every lap and took a commanding victory by over 20 seconds. In Moto #2, Duncan didn't quite get the holeshot, but was 2nd at the end of the first lap. She held 2nd for the first four laps before making the pass for the lead on Larissa Papenmeier. The perfect day was complete as Duncan took the checkered flag and she now holds the Overall points lead! The WMX series will now go on a brief pause and will return to action at Teutschenthal on May 20th.
Tim Gajser got off to a great start in MXGP Moto #1, taking the green flag in 2nd position.Gautier Paulin was a close 4th, and moved into 3rd after the first few laps. Gajser eventually finished up in 3rd, with Paulin just behind in 4th place. On the MX2 side, Bas Vaessen was 10th in Moto #1, with Calvin Vlaanderen back in 18th after suffering a crash in the early laps.
Tim Gajser was solid off the start again in MXGP Moto #2, rounding the first lap in 5th position. Unfortunately Gautier Paulin experienced a mechanical problem with his bike on the opening lap and would not be able to continue. Gajser rode a smart and consistent race to finish up in 5th, going 3-5 for 3rd Overall and his first podium result of the season. Great to see Tim back on the podium and working to overcome a tough preseason injury.
In MX2 Moto #2, HRC's Calvin Vlaanderen turned things around for a solid 6th place finish, but the luck was flipped for Bas Vaessen who finished in 19th. Vlaanderen was 9th Overall with Vaessen 15th. The FIM Motocross World Championship now takes a brief pause before returning to action in Russia on May 1st.