Another week and another win for Tim Gajser. It has been more than two years since the former world champion last reeled off two wins in succession, so standing atop the podium at the Grand Prix of France was quite the statement and has answered the questions that most pundits have. How much did the triumph mean to him? MX Vice editor Lewis Phillips caught up with him immediately following the second premier-class stint.
MX Vice: This is it. I think this was the final thing that you had to tick off your list during the comeback trail… Two wins in a row. You did it in fashion too. Dominant weekend across the board, every single session, so I don't think there was any doubt that you were going to win today.
Tim Gajser: I am really happy. Second week in a row, 1-1. That was what I was hoping for. I know that I have speed. I just need to be more relaxed and calmer. I was enjoying all the weekend and having fun on the track. I am really happy to end today with 1-1 and the overall.
I am guessing you came here pretty confident, because we have seen that these conditions work for you. Trentino was the same, hard-pack, and Portugal was softer, but still has the same kind of theme to it. Maybe this should not have come as a surprise?
Yeah. I like these kind of conditions. Really hard track with stones. It's kind of like the tracks that we have in Slovenia. I was really looking forward to coming here. I gave my best and we ended up winning. That is good for me, the team and everybody. Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Russia. I really like that track as well.
We say that it should not have been a surprise this weekend but were you even surprised by going fastest in both practices by over a second? There are very few people who can pull that off.
Yeah. I was surprised a little bit, but to me it did not feel that I was pushing. I was riding smooth, picking up good lines and smooth lines. That's why I was so fast. I was really happy, especially after free practice and timed practice when I saw that I had the speed. It was all about the races, to put it all together in the races. We did that as well today. Really happy about how the day went and also yesterday. Hopefully we can have many more GPs like that.
You say that you were not riding over your head at all and I think that was obvious in the second race when you were behind Arnaud and Romain [Febvre]. After five laps or so it was like you just, "Right. I'm bored now. I'm going." I think that in the same spot two laps in a row you did them both. They were pretty cool passes. Talk us through how you figured that one out.
In the first race I also didn't rush. Second one I had a horrible start. I hit the gate and I was on the back, then the first couple of corners I did nice passes. I came through the pack and then it was just Arnaud and Romain in front of me, so I kind of took my time. I was choosing different lines to see where I could pass them, because it was one main line. I was trying to see where the spot to pass them was. I found two different corners, then one was coming downhill towards the pit lane where I passed Arnaud.
I passed him especially in the pit lane straight. It was not easy to pass on a track like that, but I took time, really saw where they were riding, where I was faster and where I was losing. I switched the lines. I was really adapting to them and then when I decided, I just made two quick passes and sprinted a couple of laps and made a gap like four or five seconds to control the race. It was good.
You say you were watching out for lines and where you could make a difference. Where do you think you were gaining time, especially in practice when you were putting a second and a half on everyone? I was watching sector times. I was watching lines. It is really hard to see where you can do that around here.
I think the track did not allow us to be really aggressive. You had to be really smooth on the gas and the throttle to pick up the smooth lines. In the corners, because they were ripping, you had four or five lines into the corner. It was kind of like choose the right one and also leave the brakes into the corner, so you carry more momentum. On the exit also, especially uphill, so you really have to be clean out of the corner. That was the section I think where I tried to be smoother.
I do not know if you noticed, but you are pretty crazy. You are pretty good at pulling mad lines. Did you see that Gautier [Paulin] was launching off the wall jump at the top? Did you consider it? I feel like that is a crazy thing that you would do.
I saw, because I passed him a couple of corners before that section. I could hear that he didn't brake. I could see his shadow and also the bike, so where he was. Kind of could close the door on the end, so he could not pass me. That was a really technical part of the track. I think just he did that, nobody else, and for me, I thought it was faster to scrub and then just roll all the rollers. It was also less risky, I would say. I did not want to do that.
You were quite bummed out after Mantova, and rightfully so, as it was not a good weekend. You are now only ten points behind though. It has kind of erased that whole race from the series, in a way. Do you feel a lot more relaxed, almost like you have been reset to zero again?
Yeah. I would say that. It's early in the season. Definitely I didn't know even that Tony… They just put on the board that he was twentieth. I did not see him in front, so I knew that he was behind me. For him, it is like the GP I had at Mantova. Struggling and did not ride well. We are just humans. Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Towards the end to the series I just want to be more consistent, try to not make the mistakes that I did in the past and always be there. In the end, I think consistency is going to come.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX