Tommy Searle experienced a frustrating race day on his debut for the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team in the Czech round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Loket.
The Englishman was full of confidence after his impressive sixth place in Qualifying the previous day but he immediately faced a difficult opening moto as he was closed down by other riders on the entrance to the first corner and emerged from turn one in seventeenth position. He advanced to fourteenth during the first ten minutes and added two further passes before the close to finish twelfth. His inside-gate pick paid dividends in race two as he turned tight at the tricky first turn to emerge fifth but his lack of recent race experience at the sharp end was evident as he was pushed back quickly to ninth before settling into a good rhythm. An incident with another rider at one-third race distance pushed Searle out of the points-paying positions but he had recovered to eighteenth until he was eliminated in another incident three laps from the end.
Tommy Searle: “This is a great opportunity for me and I have a good feeling with the factory bike but the start was important and I only had two days on the bike before I got here because I broke my ribs earlier in the summer.”
Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki’s Alessandro Lupino, returning to GP action just under two months after a serious back injury at the Russian GP, had hoped to run top-ten pace if he could make a good start but his lack of recent race practice was evident as he was quickly pushed back from tenth to seventeenth in race one before withdrawing from the race. The first-turn faller in race two after being touched by another rider the Italian showed resilience to advance consequently to seventeenth place at the chequered flag.
Alessandro Lupino: “I spent a lot of time in therapy every day after Russia and I could ride again after one month. I still feel a little pain but it’s amazing that I’m back here racing less than two months later. Hardpack is what I was brought up on, so I hoped for a good result if I could get a good start but of course, I was a little short of race practice during the hectic first few laps.”
Twenty-four-year-old Anthony Rodriguez earns a point for the twentieth position in race one on his debut for the BOS Factory team. The Venezuelan, previously an MX2 rider, faced his first-ever race on an MXGP machine at this level of competition and he is still discovering the power of a 450cc machine after just two weeks to prepare. Outside the points-paying positions on the opening lap of each moto, he persevered to score the final point as twentieth in race one but missed adding a further score by two places in race two.
Anthony Rodriguez: “I didn’t have a team for the outdoors in the US and BOS contacted me. It was a big change for me to a 450 and I’ve only had two weeks to get ready. I was fast here last year and I like the track so I was looking forward to the GP but I need time; I expect I can get up to speed for the race at Imola next month.”