GP Bits: MXGP of Portugal | Round Six

An inside look at the sixth round of the 2019 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship from Agueda, Portugal.

GP Bits: MXGP of Portugal | Round Six


A completely different ball game from last weekend's mud-fest in Lombardia. If anything the MXGP track in Portugal was dry and dusty.

Finally, Honda HRC rider Tim Gajser had a mistake free weekend to go 1 - 1 for the top step of the podium. But that doesn't mean that Cairoli made it easy.

Even in dry conditions the HRC team run s foam behind Gajser's rear brake pedal. You can also see the dent in the head pipe. This would have been worse without the double layer of material.

Tim Gajser - "It was really great to come away with two wins and the overall here in Portugal. I put last weekend behind me and I knew that if I focused and rode like I know how to ride, I could do well at this Agueda track. Still, to get both moto victories is a great confidence booster and backs up my win in Trentino very nicely. I now have the fastest laps in the last four motos so my speed is good and I know I am feeling strong too. These back to back races are tough but I head to France really happy with my riding and confident that the bike and I are working well together. A big thanks to the team for working so hard to help make this happen, and let’s keep up the effort!"

Sneaking a bike wash photo, you can see that, unlike many factory bikes at the MXGPs, Gajser doesn't run a carbon tank or subframe.

Gajser and Red Bull KTM's Tony Cairoli had some great on-track battles.

Tony wasn't in full domination mode and had to settle for 2 - 2 moto scores for second overall.

Tony Cairoli - “On one side I’m happy because the goal is to always be on the podium but in another way I’m disappointed. In the first moto I made a silly mistake and I stalled the bike but I could get back to Tim. In the second I was swapping lines. Where I crashed was a lottery, there was a lot of mud and I chose another line at the last moment and there was a rock that twisted my front end. I’m happy I didn't hurt myself.”

Arnaud Tonus of the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP team went 3 - 3 for third overall on the weekend. This is his first podium in a long time and well deserved.

Arnaud Tonus - “It feels amazing to be back on the podium. It is hard to put the feeling into words actually. I just feel thankful. Really thankful. Thankful to my team, Yamaha and all of the people who support me for sticking behind me through what was the toughest time in my career. To be back up here after all of that is so cool. I am so happy and especially because I had to fight really hard for this result. I was passed and I had to pass people back and fight really hard, so that just makes a result like this so much sweeter.”

Tonus' style is on point.
But his gear is a little revealing. We know tight, stretchy pants are in, but these IXS pants show Tonus' bottom end power.

Factory Yamaha rider Romain Febvre is back in action. He missed rounds two through five and wasn't quite at his normal pace. He went 9 - 6 for 8th overall. Romain Febvre - "I had an up and down day today. I got arm pump every time I went on the track so that made it difficult. First race I struggled a lot with my arms and I had a small issue with the bike at the end of the race. I finished ninth, which is not bad, but not good either. I had a better start in the second race, and I had a good rhythm but I struggled with my arms again. Sixth in the final race is not so bad for a come-back I think. It's a starting point and from here we can build."

Febvre's bike is pretty similar to what the US Monster Energy Yamaha Team's machines. They both continue to use hydraulic clutches and rely heavily on GYTR parts.

Still dig the carbon fiber kill switch
Carbon fiber gas tanks are on bout MXGP and US Yamaha teams. What isn't the same is the exhaust. Akrapovic puts the resonance chamber on the right side where PC has it on the left.
Nice hour meter placement.
The US 450 team didn't have any holes in the air box at Hangtown, but Febvre's has these cutouts as we've seen before.
Still strange to see the sight glass on a rear brake master.

Compared to pretty much every other team in the paddock, Febvre's rear brake, caliper and disk, are completely unprotected.

Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Clement Desalle put together 6 - 4 moto scores for fourth overall in Portugal.

Clément Desalle - “It was a decent day if we consider that I couldn’t ride so much during the past weeks and there some positive points. It was great to lead the second moto with a very good rhythm for so many laps and that’s encouraging for the next rounds. I continue to recover from my knee injury and I feel that it’s coming better each week. The other positive point are my starts, and then to score a sixth and a fourth give me good points for the championship. Physically it’s still tough to maintain such a high intensity for the entire race but I know that I will be able to continue to improve my condition in the coming weeks.”

Another Yamaha rider Jeremy Seewer rounds out the top five with 4 - 10 moto scores.

Jeremy Seewer - "I had a positive weekend. I had two good starts from a bad gate pick, especially on this kind of start. I had good speed this weekend. I finished fourth in the first race which was really good because I struggled yesterday, but I felt good today. Second race was really good again, I settled in fifth, but the entry into the wave section here is really tricky. There are rocks, ruts, kickers, no kickers, lots to consider and every lap you get there, the bike handles differently. I got kicked sideways on the last lap and slid it out. I lost five spots. I still reached my goal, so this is positive for the next races."

Calvin Vlaanderen of Honda HRC had to miss the Portuguese MX2 race because of a nagging knee issue that required surgery. But his bike was there. Honda really takes clamp/fork protection seriously with those mega carbon guards. You can also see the extra start button zip-tied to the frame.

A major difference from a stock CRF250R is the custom cases to accommodate the external oil cooler lines. Also, even though GEICO Honda runs Yoshimura exhausts as well, the Euro HRC bikes have resonance chambers for sound where the US team does more in the mufflers to address sound.

Vlaanderen's machine has the stock caliper guard and a carbon rotor protector.

US Motocross needs more custom flags...

Red Bull KTM's Jorge Prado isn't showing any signs of stopping his first place podium run. With 1 - 1 scores, not only does he get the overall, but he gets the red plate as well.

Jorge Prado - “This is the closest to a home GP and so many fans came out and were cheering for me, so I really enjoyed it. I went top of the table today and I think everybody wants a race like this. It was a great weekend. I had two great starts and could make it happen again. We needed to get that red plate.”

Thomas Kjer Olsen of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team had to give up the red plate, but was still second overall on the weekend with 2 - 4 moto scores.

Thomas Kjer Olsen - “Generally, I’m very pleased with how I’ve ridden here in Portugal. Losing the red plate isn’t great, I never wanted that, but again my speed has been good and to get second overall after a tough second moto is great. I felt good all weekend, and I’d been looking forward to the GP. Things are heading in a good direction so plenty of positives from the both races in Portugal. I got a good start in the opening race and worked my way from fifth to third. The pace was really strong and we were all pushing really hard and using a lot of energy. Second in that first race was really good. I was pretty lucky in the second race that I didn’t go down entering the first corner – I ended up going right when the corner went left. I had a lot of work to do after that and just rode as hard as I could. Working my way back to fourth was good. Carrying the red plate into more GPs would have been nice, but nothing changes now that I don’t have it. I want it back. I want to be winning races. I just need to keep focused and work on consistent starts.”

Honda 114 Motorsports rider Mitchell Evans got his second podium in his rookie season with 4 - 3 moto scores for third overall.

F&H Kawasaki Team rider Henry Jacobi had a wide mix of moto scores, 7 - 2, to get him fourth overall on the day.

Cool bit of protection on Jacobi's KX250.

His brake calipers look to be stock, but just coated and etched with the team logo.

Teammate Adam Sterry's machine gets a scrub down.

Carbon fiber tanks are becoming so popular, yet they are a major factor in a race team's budget. They can cost more than $2,000 each.

The last spot in the top five in the MX2 class was Maxime Renaux of the SM Action Yamaha team, with 9 - 9 moto scores. That shows how inconsistent some of the riders were in the MX2 class this race.

The SM Action team has some Yamaha support. Here are a few details on Renaux's YZ250F.

The cases look to be cerakoted for durability and strength. You can also see that the stock Y-joint where the coolant hoses go into the side of the cylinder is changed. It is cut and welded at a different angle to accommodate a custom coolant line routing.

An Akro exhaust and different color head plugs look to be the only externally visible changes on this side of the bike. Like we said earlier, carbon tanks are expensive and this team looks to have the stock tanks saving them major green.

A vented front number plate helps keep everything cool and doesn't pack full of dirt. He's also running a Brembo master cylinder but the front caliper is still a Nissin unit.

Sometimes, the best way to calm the nerves of racing is retail therapy.


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