Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Eli Tomac dominated the penultimate round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Charlotte in Northern Carolina to take a clearcut victory in both motos.
The 23 years old from Colorado had already stamped his authority on the Grand Prix as he set fastest time by nearly one second during the timed practice session which replaced the qualification race to decide pole as hurricane Hermine forced the organisers to abandon the usual two day format in favour of a one day programme. He quickly moved to the front on the opening lap of the first moto and raced clear to win by twenty-two seconds. Initially third in race two he took the lead on lap six of eighteen to again win comfortably despite a few “moments” in race two.
Clement Desalle, who had won the Dutch GP six days earlier, was hampered by relatively poor starts in his attempt to repeat the feat and had to be content with fifth overall in Charlotte. After advancing a couple of positions on the opening lap of race one he spent most of the race in sixth position before gaining one place three laps from the end, but race two proved more difficult after he overshot the first turn and found it difficult to regain lost places. The Belgian eventually finished seventh to classify fifth overall in the GP and remains eighth in the championship standings.
Teammate Jordi Tixier set sixth best time in the timed practice session but started poorly and was then pushed back even further to eleventh in a hectic opening lap; recovering his rhythm after a couple of laps he advanced to seventh at the chequered flag. After holding seventh position through the opening laps of race two but lost one position mid-moto to finish eighth in the moto and in the overall result on the day.
Tommy Searle of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki again looked strong in practice, but poor starts affected his results; in common with many other riders the Englishman found it difficult to see the track at times as the setting sun shone in the riders’ eyes and he could only finish fifteenth. He felt more at home under the floodlights in race two to advance from thirteenth to eleventh and remains twelfth in the series standings before the final round in California next Sunday.
Eli Tomac: “It was an awesome day. Already in practice I got some clean laps in, and did what I needed to in both motos. The race track was a kind of mixture between motocross and the Monster Cup, and it was a different challenge to be racing the guys I normally only see once a year at the Nations. Conditions weren’t easy in either race; we had the sun in our eyes in the first race and it was tough to see the ruts under the floodlights in race two. I almost tipped over on two laps in race two; it was a tough track to stay on.”
Clement Desalle: “Once more the starts were very important here as the track was really fast. It was difficult to make the difference, tough to pass and I just missed better starts to fight for the podium. In the first race I earn one position with three laps to go, but in the second one it was difficult as there was not so much lighting on the track; I had a good start but I lost some positions in the first corner when I slid out wide, and then it was impossible to come back.”
Jordi Tixier: “It was a pretty good weekend with a good qualifying session; at the first start my jump from the gate was not so good but I rode a very good first corner and came out in the top five; then I lost many positions during the first lap, and I only found a good rhythm after ten minutes to come back from eleventh to seventh. My second start was better; I had a good rhythm and was following Clement for twenty minutes but then I felt tired and settled for eighth position. This event was different to the usual GPs, as we had all the programme on one day and raced the second moto in the evening. They did a good job on the track; when we saw how was the track on Thursday and Friday we were not really optimistic but it turned out OK.”
Tommy Searle: “I struggled again with my starts this weekend; the first race was difficult with a bad start and I didn’t feel confident with the sun in our eyes. I was happier with my riding in the second moto, but coming from so far back it’s difficult to get top ten results. I think that the track was better for the second race, as the sun was down. I just made it difficult for myself this weekend with the starts; let’s hope that it will be better next weekend in Glen Helen.”