Second in Qualifying at the man-made track on the outskirts of the Spanish capital Madrid the Bike It MTX Kawasaki girl got squeezed by her title rivals out of the gate in race one to emerge a lowly eighth from turn one but she immediately made strides to take over fourth by the end of lap one and move into third half a lap later. Lapping a second per lap faster than her rivals she quickly closed down the leaders to take over second on lap three and set off in pursuit of her most serious title rival. Significantly faster through the waves sections she swept alongside on lap six to hold the ideal line into the following corner but her rival refused to yield; they clashed in the turn and the other girl ran over the trackside bank while the Kawasaki girl regained her balance and composure to hold a commanding lead. There was sudden drama three laps from the end as the Kiwi reached to rip off a tear-off from her goggles on the heavily-ripped start straight; the handlebars were dragged from her grasp and she cartwheeled along the straight. Losing twenty seconds and with no eye protection for the remainder of the race she cleverly negotiated the lappers to defiantly withstand the renewed challenge of her main championship rival by less than half-a-second at the chequered flag. After treatment for a deep cut in her left hand the Kiwi switched her gate-pick for race two to round turn one third and she needed less than a lap to take control of the race on a slippery heavily-watered track which demanded care and concentration. Moving clear of her chasers at more than a second each lap she eventually won by nearly twenty seconds to clinch her third overall victory in five rounds and extend her series lead to sixteen points heading into next weekend’s final round in the Trentino region of northern Italy. Kawasaki has also extended the lead in the FIM World Manufacturers’ standings by the same margin.
Courtney Duncan: “It was a tough weekend but we got the job done. It didn’t start off on the right foot, first tangling with Kiara and then a huge crash. It was a pretty stupid mistake; I should have known better than that and I only had myself to blame. I ended up in the medics, getting taped up with a deep cut in my finger; I was in pain for the second moto, but I was happy to rebound with the win. Once the adrenalin kicks in you forget the pain. The track was difficult but I rode smooth, rode smart and kept it upright; you had to execute where you could pass and try not to make mistakes; I was able to make my way to the front quickly and put in some solid laps. I didn’t feel spectacular but I got the job done. Now I’m looking forward to the final round next weekend in Trentino. I’ve been in this situation before with the title on the line; I just have to be open-minded and confident. “
Amandine Verstappen, who recently successfully retained the French national title for 9MM Energy Drink BUD Racing Kawasaki with a “perfect season”of twelve victories from twelve starts, qualified seventh and started the first moto eleventh before a strong ride up the leaderboard to sixth, with fourth in sight, at the finish. A difficult opening lap in race two left the Belgian down in fifteenth place but she rode with determination to secure seventh at the chequered flag, sufficient to earn sixth overall on the day to retain that position in the series standings.
Amandine Verstappen: “ The track was wet during the free practice session, but when it get drier I felt more and more comfortable. I was fifth for a long time in the timed practice period but couldn’t improve my lap time at the end so I had the seventh gate-pick which was OK here. My start wasn’t that good in the first race; I don’t know what I did but I was outside the top ten. I came back to sixth and was fighting for the fourth position with Papenmeier and Van der Vlist; I was happy with my rhythm as I had the fourth fastest lap time in the race. Another rider hit me at the start of the second moto and I was involved in a collective crash; I was last and came back seventh. Again I was happy with my riding."