As the races of the MXGP of Garda Trentino finished for the day, it concluded an intense season of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship, which saw Champions decided a round early, when Team HRC’s Tim Gajser claimed his fourth World Title in MXGP and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle secured his very first Championship in MX2.
For the final round this shifted the focus onto who would finish the season off with a medal alongside the two victors, with Tim Gajser also presented with the MXGP Trophy, wrapped with plagues which are engraved with all the world champions’ names from 1957 until now in the main class.
Tim Gajser took the overall round win, narrowly beating Romain Febvre on account of a final race victory, with both riders taking a win and a runner up position a-piece. Gautier Paulin took the final podium position, from Jeremy Seewer, both on 38-points and with identical results, but Paulin the better performer in the final race.
“As I’ve said many times, I was super happy to win my fourth world title on Wednesday. Today, my goal was just to go out there and have fun and we did that, winning the last overall of the year and it couldn’t have gone better. I want to say a huge thank you to all my team who have worked so hard and put in so much effort. In March, we did two GPs in Matterley and Valkenswaard and they went well, but then we had a long break and when we returned, I wasn’t feeling good, I was struggling. Now, the second half of the season I found good speed, I was consistent, and I was able to win the title.”
Second and third in the MXGP championship were also still up for grabs, with Jeremy Seewer claiming the silver medal on the day with the addition of 38-championship points to his name. Tony Cairoli had a mixed weekend, with sixth in Race 1, but no points in Race 2. It was enough for the bronze medal however.
Romain Febvre was fourth overall, followed by Gautier Paulin. Jorge Prado was sixth, Clement Desalle seventh, Glenn Coldenhoff eighth, and Jeremy Van Horebeek and Brian Bogers ninth and 10th respectively. Despite still being out injured Mitch Evans finished the season in 14th.
In MX2 Tom Vialle was already crowned champion and Jago Geerts had cemented his place as runner up, with the final championship podium position between Maxime Renaux and Australian Jed Beaton.
While Ben Watson won the MX2 round overall from Tom Vialle and Maxime Renaux, Jed Beaton finished fourth, four-points behind Renaux. Unfortunately for Beaton that left him in fourth overall – an amazing result nevertheless, while Renaux’s 581 championship points was enough to claim the bronze.
“I really want to congratulate the whole team. They work really hard and it’s really nice for me and Jago to give them a 1-2 on the podium. It is a little bit difficult to pass out there, but I have been feeling really good on the bike. I had a mediocre start in the first race, but I came through good and then in the second one, I took a good start and it’s always a nice race when you can battle with your teammate up front. I finished second, but I am really happy with second overall.”
Overall Beaton enjoyed a highly positive year in 2020. Showing race-winning speed throughout the season, he came agonisingly close to a maiden overall win at the penultimate round. Proving to be a capable racer on any surface, the 22-year-old claimed three overall podium finishes, along with nine moto podiums and was the first rider in the standings to score points in every race. A memorable season with many career milestones reached.
“It’s been great to end the year with a runner-up finish in the last moto of the season. I had a great start and challenged for the win, so it’s positive to end the season like this. It’s a shame about the first moto but moto two proved I can be up there with a good start. It’s been a long season. Many ups and downs but all in all it’s been a positive year for me and the team. Having completed a full season I know what it takes now and I know what I need to work on over the winter ahead of 2021. I’m actually really glad that we got a season in as at one point it looked like we weren’t going racing at all. The three GPs in a week, that was different, racing so frequently was different, but it was always a good time and it’s been a lot of work for the team as well as myself. The team has done a phenomenal job with such a tight schedule. It can’t have been easy so credit to them, they’ve done an awesome job.”
Bailey Mailkiewicz finished 15th in Race 1, improving to ninth in Race 2, and was 11th overall for the weekend, claiming 18-championship points. This saw him finish the 2020 season in 14th overall.
The MXGP races saw great battles, especially between Gajser and Romain Febvre, who challenged the four-time world Champions in both of the heats, one of which he won. But it was Gajser who finished the 2020 season with his fifth Grand Prix victory at the MXGP of Garda Trentino, with a 2-1 result.
Febvre was forced to settled for second with a win in the opening heat, that saw him chase down Gajser, before passing him on lap 6 and lead the race until the end, to take his second race win of the year. In race two, the Kawasaki rider worked hard to get around a couple of riders before catching up to Gajser once again, though this time he could not make a pass stick and eventually dropped the gap, to finish the race in second.
It was also a special day for Gautier Paulin who lined up for the last MXGP races of his professional racing career. The Frenchman battled well inside the top five in both heats and finished race one in fourth and race two in third position, after a battle with his teammates Jeremy Seewer and Arnaud Tonus. He claimed the third step on the podium, his second podium this season, on his final GP.
Clement Desalle and Tanel Leok also took part in their final MXGP of their careers, with Desalle narrowly missing out on a podium spot, as he was tied on points with Seewer in fifth, and Leok finishing 21st overall.
With Gajser crowned as world champion at the previous round, this left the door open for second and third in the championship standings, which was to be decided between Seewer and Antonio Cairoli.
Seewer had a strong first race, starting well inside the top five and then worked hard to get past his teammate, Tonus, for third. While Seewer finished third, Cairoli placed sixth, giving Seewer a one-point advantage heading into race two. As the gate dropped for the second heat, Seewer was able to get another good start and squeeze into the lead, before being passed by Gajser, Febvre and then eventually Paulin.
Cairoli had a dramatic start to the second race, which saw him pushed out wide in the first corner, as he hit the bank, which as a result caused unrepairable damage to his bike and forced him out of the race, meaning he could not fight for the silver medal. All while Seewer had another strong race to finish fourth and cement himself as this year’s vice world champion, for the second season in a row.
Tim Gajser – 2020 Champion
“I want to say a huge thanks to everyone, to all my team, we were really working hard, and everybody was putting so much effort into preparing the bike, getting better and better. The last couple of GPs I started to find good speed and started to put consistent races together and win the title, so I’m super happy and I want to say congratulations to all the guys here, but also to Gautier [Paulin] for an amazing career, wishing you all the best in the next chapter.”
Jeremy Seewer – 2020 Runner-up
“It was a strange year for us, starting that early and then a big break. But, Valkenswaard was really horrible, I scored seven points and I think that’s one of the worst GPs in many years for me, so it was hard to not race for that long after a GP like that, because you would love to go back the next day and show different. Somehow, I did my homework and put many good races together after that, had some awesome races in Latvia, won my first races in Faenza and stuff like this. I definitely made a step and improved. I could battle with these guys. Overall Tim [Gajser] was the man, he put things together, especially for the last few races and he was just that little better but overall for me, I’m happy, I got second today in the championship, ok the thing I wanted was first but I can’t wait now to get back to work and for next year.”
Antonio Cairoli – 2020 P3 Overall
“I’m really happy. It’s another season that I finish on the podium, my fourteenth season that I finish on the podium, so it’s something amazing, after so many years of racing. Of course, Tim [Gajser] was very difficult to beat this year, especially in the last part of the season, he was very strong. After Latvia, my knee was getting worse every time, so I couldn’t really train, so for me it’s really important and I lost a little bit of fitness and confidence because when the track gets rough and slippery, I need to slow down. In the end, we are all ok and that is the most important thing, ok we lost second place but we try to look forward to the next year, we have another season to see what we can do.”
Romain Febvre – 2020 P4 Overall
“It’s always nice to end the season on the podium and go into the winter feeling confident for next year. I had a nice battle with Tim in the first moto and could catch him for the win; I think he hoped to pick up on my lines when I passed him but I could keep him behind me and I knew it would be all on the second moto for the overall GP win. My start wasn’t bad in the second moto but also not as good as Tim’s; I could see him in front so I knew I needed to pass the other guys quickly. He had a gap of nearly four seconds when I got to second; I was pushing but I couldn’t see anywhere to make up the time and in the end I fell just before the waves with five minutes to go. I was still a safe second but the chance of victory was gone.“
Gautier Paulin – 2020 P5 Overall
“It was a pretty tough day today. In the first moto, the rider next to me anticipated the start too soon, and that made me move too soon for the start, and then right after the gate a rider cut across. I started from really far back after that, but I made my way back to the top-10. The riding was good, but it was difficult to make a good result after a start like that. In the second moto, we had a red flag on the first lap, and hopefully the rider involved is well and the injury is not too bad. After that we had to start with dirty tyres and I had a big spin on the mesh, so I didn’t start so good. On this type of track, it’s hard to pass, everyone forms a train. Here it is really important to have a good start, but on the bright side, the pace is good and physically I feel good.”
In MX2 Tom Vialle and Ben Watson shared a race win each, marking a perfect end to Watson’s MX2 career with a second overall win of the 2020 season, and his career so far. Watson finished the first race third, behind Vialle and Maxime Renaux, after close battles with the pair and his teammate Jago Geerts.
In the second race, the Brit got another good start and wasted no time to get into the lead, to then dominate every lap after that. He did however come under immense pressure from Geerts, before the Belgian crashed out of the race. A third and a race win was enough to hand Watson the round victory.
In the second race, Vialle struggled out of the start and then had a few small crashes to eventually finish the heat in fifth, which was still good enough for second on the box, but not to beat Watson.
Renaux was the final rider to get himself onto the round podium and he did it for the fifth time this season. The Frenchman finished second and fourth in the race which was exactly what he needed to claim yet another podium, as well as the bronze medal the season.
In terms of the championship, Vialle claimed his maiden title a round early during the MXGP of Pietramurata and entered the action with the job done. While the title was decided early, as well as Geerts confirming himself as the silver medallist this season, all that was left was the third spot in the standings, which was between Renaux and Australian rider, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton.
With a strong 2-4 result, Renaux held on to the bronze medal position, finishing the championship 17-points ahead of Beaton. For Beaton, it was a mixture of a day. He finished the opening race in seventh position, behind the likes of Stephen Rubini and Isak Gifting. The Australian then had a much stronger second race, as he was able to find a way past Renaux and Gifting to get himself into third, before inheriting second, as Geerts crashed out. Despite a good second race, it was not enough for the Husqvarna rider to get back into third in the standings.
In MX2, it was Watson who took the final GP overall of the 2020 season, with this year’s MX2 Champion, Vialle, finishing second overall and Renaux taking to the third step of the podium. And what a year it has been for Vialle who has secured his first world title in the category, with Geerts finishing as vice world champion in 2020 and Renaux securing a medal scoring position in the standings, for third overall this season.
Tom Vialle – 2020 MX2 Champion
“It was an incredible day for me. To take my first world title was just amazing. The last two days were really good, I enjoyed them a lot. In the second race, I crashed in the start and I came back from last to fifth. I crashed again two times I think, so I was a little bit angry, I was hoping for better starts and better positions but I’m happy to finish second overall. I tried to be as consistent as possible. We had a lot of races in the sand, so for me it was really important to be consistent every weekend and I tried my best every time, get a good start and ride like I do in training. I really want to thank all the team, my family, Joel Smets, as riding with the team for the last two years has been amazing.”
Jago Geerts – 2020 Runner-up
“The first heat I had to come from outside of the top-10 after making a small mistake on the opening lap but my riding felt good although it was pretty difficult to pass so I finished fifth. In the second heat, I took the holeshot and I am really happy for that. Ben chased me for the whole moto but in the end, I could win so I am really happy with the day and to take my sixth victory of the season.”
Maxime Renaux – 2020 P3 Overall
“It’s been a really good season for me and the team. We made good progress since last year. I got my first race win and overall in Faenza, so that was really great feeling and then I tried to give my best and to be as consistent as possible, to fight for the podium in the championship. So, I’m really happy that we managed to do it, we are a strong team so that is also really good, and they are really happy, so we achieved what we wanted and I’m just so happy about it.”
Ben Watson – Round Winner
“It’s been another incredible day. I mean, the last six GP’s especially, I have been feeling good on the bike like all season, but sometimes that was not reflected in my results and I’m really happy for myself but also for the team and Yamaha, because every time they support one hundred per cent. Everything was laid out on the table for me to produce these results and sometimes they weren’t there and now as I’m leaving MX2, it’s really nice to play it back with some victories. For myself, it’s been really incredible and I’m really happy to find this step now in MX2 and go into this break, take some good rest with a really good feeling. And I’m definitely really excited to get started on the new bike now.”
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