Roan van de Moosdijk made a stunning start to his full-time GP career with a podium finish for F&H Racing Kawasaki in the Turkish round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship at Afyonkarahisar.
Having already shown his class with second place to the world champion during Qualifying the Dutch teenager displayed character and maturity on race day to secure third overall from fifth in race one and third in moto two. Edged out in a tight battle through the first couple of turns he started the opening race eighth, moved quickly to seventh and then had an enthralling duel with teammate Adam Sterry for six laps. No sooner had he found a way clear then his front wheel bogged in a rutted corner, the resultant small crash enough to drop him back again temporarily to eighth. More determined than ever he regrouped to haul in Sterry again four laps from the close and, carrying the momentum through, advanced two more places on the next lap to finish fifth, just four seconds away from a moto podium. A better start in race two saw him emerge fifth from turn one, again quickly advancing one place on lap two to set off in pursuit of the leaders, moving into third with a dramatic outside pass one lap later. The move not only put him in line for a moto podium but also for the overall podium; under constant pressure he again showing nerves of steel and a maturity beyond his tender years to resist all challenges from infinitely more experienced rivals, defending his third place to the chequered flag and justifiably claiming a career-first GP podium.
Roan van de Moosdijk: “Unbelievable! I had a really good Qualifying which gave me a good gate-pick for today but the first moto was quite tough. I battled for many laps with my teammate, then I had a little crash but picked it up quickly to take fifth. I could soon move to third in race two and pushed really hard in the beginning to follow Prado and Vialle for a long time. I kept looking at the pitboard, ten minutes to go, eight minutes, it felt like a really long moto, longer than I have raced most of the year but I made it. I rode two GPs in 2017 and Portugal earlier this year as a wild card but this was my first full-time GP and I already made the podium. I’m speechless!”
F&H teammate Adam Sterry had two solid leaderboard rides to defend his sixth-placed series ranking after finishing seventh in each moto for the same placing overall. The Welshman held sixth place for seven laps in race one until passed by van de Moosdijk and dug deep to advance from ninth to seventh by half distance in a tightly-fought leaderboard battle in race two.
Adam Sterry: “I felt good on the track and made some good passes through the first few corners but it was just a line of riders all the way from second to me in both motos; those tight turns are not really my style and my lap times just weren’t enough to move forward.”
Darian Sanayei of Bike It DRT Kawasaki missed his usual frontline starts after a small crash during Qualifying left him with a disadvantageous outside start gate for both motos. The American pushed hard all day on a track where it was difficult to make up time to advance from twenty-sixth to seventeenth in moto one and eighteenth to fourteenth in race two.
Darian Sanayei: “My speed was good yesterday and I was moving forward in the Qualifying race until I lost the front end and damaged ankle ligaments. That gave me last gate pick and it was hard to make up ground here even though I had top-five lap times. The second moto I tangled with some other guys in the first turn and had to come through again; I made my fastest lap at the end but that doesn’t help when you start last.”
Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Brian Moreau also had to charge all day; a mid-moto fall in race one cost him several places before he regrouped to finish fifteenth and an early fall after starting twelfth in race two saw the French teenager pushing all moto to recover from last to eighteenth. Teammate Mitchell Harrison was another to post good lap times as he raced through the field from outside the points-paying positions to thirteenth in race one and the American was again on the gas to advance to twelfth before he was eliminated four laps from the end.
Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki rode consistently fast lap times all day to race to fifteenth place in the first moto and twelfth in race two of the MXGP class. Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tommy Searle was shaken by a crash during morning Warm-up and did not race.