US-teenager Austin Forkner raced to third place for Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki on his debut in the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship round at Charlotte in North Carolina.
The “Farm Boy” from Missouri, who just turned eighteen years the day before the race, showed his speed from the word go around the artificial track in the dirt track stadium of the world-famous motor sport complex on the east coat of the USA. He raced from pole position after setting fastest time in a timed lap session as hurricane Hermine forced the organiser to abandon the usual qualification system, and immediately took the lead in both motos. He held the lead comfortably in the opening moto for nine of the eighteen laps before a minor error in a corner pushed him back to third, and he led the second race for fourteen laps before being passed in the closing stages by the American national champion. The 3-2 moto results gave him third overall on the day. Teammate Adam Cianciarulo had been second fastest in timed training, but hurt his shoulder in a crash on the opening lap of race one and did not start the second moto.
Darian Sanayei also made his MX2 GP debut at Charlotte after finishing runner-up in the FIM European EMX250 Championship this summer for Bud Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki. His lack of experience of the series format left the US teenager with a poor choice of gate, but he immediately raced into the top ten and advanced as high as sixth place before surrendering a place to a more experienced rival in the closing laps. Another good start in race two saw him hold sixth place initially, but the pace and extra track time took its toll in the end and Darian had to relax his pace in the closing laps to finish a safe thirteenth.
Austin Forkner: “I even surprised myself today. I really didn’t know what to expect and even the start was different as we had to prepare our own gate. I set fastest time in practice and took the lead on the opening lap in each moto. That mistake in race one cost me the win and I just handed it to them, but they were inching me in in race two. We Americans go for it from the beginning of the motos, while the GP riders are stronger at the end. I was getting pretty tired at the end, but it was pretty special today.”
Darian Sanayei: “I like the track here for my first GP. They postponed Friday and we had to ride more than normal on Saturday with the practice sessions and both races; that was a lot more than I was used to this season in the European series. The qualifying session was not perfect, but I learnt the track and knew that I could get a good result with a good start; in the first moto I was eight or ninth in the first corner and came back to sixth until two laps to go when Anstie passed me. Seventh was a pretty good result for my first ever MX2 GP moto, but after this race and riding so much I was already feeling some pain in my back. I get a nice holeshot in the second moto, which was good and from there I just tried to survive; I didn’t feel so good and I got a thirteenth so overall it was not so bad for my first GP.”