“The plan was for Tim to stay in MX2 but that changed slightly after he won the championship,” offers HRC MX General Manager Roger Harvey exclusively. “The decision was made in combination with the family and HRC and the team and with a view towards moving forward. I think if he had not won the MX2 title then he would still be on the CRF250RW but we are cool with him taking this direction and he will have all the equipment he needs.”

Asked about the motivation to help shuffle a world champion – who is on a multi year deal – out of a class and weaken their efforts on one racing front the explanation was quite clear. “There were several reasons,” Harvey reveals. “Tim actually goes better on the 450 and was getting bigger and bulking-out so it would have been harder for him on the 250. Our CRF450RW will be of benefit to him in this respect and he is simply a different rider on the bigger bike. It was also a move that he wanted to make and he has already been riding with the 450 so much in the last two-three years. We recently went testing and he just had a massive smile on his face every time he tried the new bike.”

“As it was a late decision it means at the moment we are looking at running just Jorge Zaragoza in MX2,” he goes on. “That is the way it could be for 2016 but in the near future then who is to say we won’t have another championship candidate. MXGP is the premier class and – like MotoGP – where the Japanese like to look and where they want to push. MX2 is important to us in order to bring riders through, like Tim, but it does mean we’re left a bit short for 2016.”

Harvey also confirmed that Gajser will run out of the Gariboldi team (“it is where he and the family are happy and Giacomo is also happy to keep him”) and receive the same technical support as Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev in the MXGP set-up. “Absolutely. He will have exactly the same stuff and it is HRC policy that our riders are treated equal and have the same opportunities.”

There has been some speculation that Gajser’s eagerness to get on the 450 is connected with his haste to race in the AMA. There was already talk during the summer that ‘243’ would attempt Anaheim 1 in January and those plans appear to have been put in the freezer…for now. “His ambition is to be in the U.S.,” Harvey says. “He is desperate to see his name as part of the Anaheim 1 race programme! It is just a question of timing and he’ll make the move with our full support. I do think he will spend a couple of years in MXGP first but everything is open.”

Photo by Ray Archer

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