Max Anstie scored his third GP victory in four – moves up to third in championship.
The Englishman has only lost one race since the end of June and with his confidence running sky high he again dominated proceedings all weekend in Italy to win the qualifying race and both GP motos.
He moved quickly into the lead of the first GP moto before a fall on the second lap dropped him temporarily to third, but he patiently rode his own race to once again take over the lead six laps from the end of the 17-lap race. In the second race he edged clear at turn two to quickly establish a dominant lead, which he would hold to the chequered flag.
The maximum 50 points score line has lifted him from seventh to third in the series standings; he is now 38 points behind the series leader with three rounds of the series remaining.
“We had a nice couple of weeks off and I felt as though we were at the first GP again, as I finally had some rest after Lommel, which was my 12th consecutive weekend of racing,” said Max Anstie.
He added: “I haven’t been here for a long time, and I never saw a GP track with so many jumps and rhythm sections; it was a nice place to do my job ! The first race I was in a good position when I crashed; I came back at the leaders pretty fast and there was still twenty minutes to go so I just focused on my own riding to get back into the lead. In the second race I didn’t want to make a mistake again; I soon got in front and, even though I had a slight issue with my clutch lever I could make the gap and rode safe in the last couple of laps. I felt really smooth and I’m very happy with my weekend.”
The Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team faced a difficult GP after Jordi Tixier was forced to withdraw from the GP with an injury to his right wrist after practice, while Petar Petrov and Thomas Covington, the team’s other two riders, were involved in a collision at the start of the qualification race which left each of them with a poor choice of gate.
Despite pain in his neck and back Petrov recovered from his 20th start position to finish seventh in the first moto and he had quickly taken fifth place in race two before hitting his head hard as he attempted a pass for fourth. He persevered for 12th at the finish which gave him seventh on the day; he now holds 10th in the series standings.
Petar Petrov commented: “Saturday was pretty difficult with a crash at the start of the qualifying race; I was in the top five and several riders hit me so today I had a lot of pain in my back and my neck. But that was not the reason why I didn’t ride so good today! In the first moto I was maybe 15th at the start, and came back to seventh. My second start was much better from the 20th gate; I was seventh or eighth at the start and moved up to fifth but when I tried to pass Paturel for fourth I crashed pretty hard and hit my head. I finished 12th for seventh overall, now the goal is to be back on the podium at Assen.”
Covington had advanced from 17th to 10th in the opening GP moto until he crashed and damaged the bike, forcing him out of the race, but another strong ride in race two saw him move from 15th on lap one to sixth at the finish. He is now 15th in the championship standings.
“I was feeling good all weekend on this track, and posted some good results in the practice session on Saturday and again during the warm up,” Thomas Covington said. “I had the speed to run in front, but had a crash at the start of the qualifying race and got a bad gate for the race. In the first moto I was racing for tenth when I crashed; the bike was damaged and I couldn’t finish the race. In the second moto my start was not so good, but I focused on my riding during the entire race to come back to sixth. I had some fun in this race; my fitness is now really good thanks to Tyla Rattray who is helping me and I’m feeling good for the last three GPs – of course I’m really excited to finally race my home GP to end the season at Glen Helen.”
Jordi Tixier commented: “Nothing is broken, but two bones in my right wrist are dislocated and I need an operation. We will return to France and my management is trying to organise an operation as soon as possible.”