After the heat of Imola, the beleaguered Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee squad were greeted by rain on their arrival to the venue of the Swedish MXGP – Uddevalla. The weather would improve over the weekend, but the team’s fortunes were still clouded by the crashes and injuries that have plagued the 2019 season. Given the season’s toll taken on the team and its riders, team manager Roger Magee has decided to not attend the last two races in Turkey and China. Uddevalla will be the team’s last race in this year’s world championship – however the Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee squad will return to action in the British ACU Maxxis series at Landrake in Cornwall in September.
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A fanatical 22,000 crowd around the tight hard-packed course enjoyed a meeting of tough racing, the return of Jeffery Herlings to competitive action and the crowning of the MX2 world champion in the class – KTM’s Jorge Prado. But for Michael Sandner and the team it would be a weekend of grit and challenge that would go unrewarded. The Austrian’s Swedish event was effectively over by the end of timed practice, where Sandner suffered a huge crash that effected his gate pick and his Sunday performances.
Sandner’s final positions in both races in the low 20s are clearly not a reflection of the Austrian’s – and team’s – expectations, but having suffered injury it is a measure of Sandner’s grit and respect for the team that he competed and still challenged for points when many others would have parked the bike and prepared for an MXON in a month’s time in Assen.
Michael Sandner: “This was a disappointing weekend in Sweden. I had a huge crash in timed practice and after this I had to respect the bike and what I could realistically achieve on it. I really like this track and I had so much hope for the weekend, but I was not myself on the bike! I felt very strong physically, but I rode to behave, the results do not match what I actually can do – but this is motocross! So my MX2 GP season is over and in this sense I want to offer a big thank you to the whole team – these people are so awesome! I’m looking forward to the upcoming races and the MXON!”
Roger Magee, Team Manager Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee: “Michael had a crash in timed practice on Saturday which saw him then struggle to set a good time in the session, resulting in a poor gatepick on Sunday. He was still suffering the effects of the crash during the 2 GP races on Sunday where he failed to score in both. The Team will not travel to the final two GPs in Turkey and China and Michael will recover and prepare for the final round of the British Maxxis Championship at Landrake in a few weeks time, and the MXON the following week where he will ride for Team Austria in the Open class.”