Morgan Lesiardo clinched victory for the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team in the FIM European EMX250 Championship round at Ottobiano in northern Italy to extend his series points lead.
The Italian teenager was dominant in the Saturday afternoon race to claim victory in stifling heat as temperatures soared above 40 degrees and the intense humidity demanded high levels of fitness.
After two weeks of solid testing with the team Morgan took the holeshot and controlled the pace from the front.
An incident at the first turn of race two, run in cooler conditions after an early morning thunderstorm had cleared the air, left Morgan outside the top 20 but he showed his maturity to tenaciously fight his way back to second, sufficient to secure the overall victory. He now leads the series by 19 points after six of nine rounds.
Tristan Charboneau and Marshal Weltin of Bud Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki raced to sixth and 13th positions respectively in the unusual sandy conditions on Saturday. Charboneau crashed running fourth on Sunday morning while Weltin finished 10th and is now eighth in the series standings.
“I have been waiting for this race in Ottobiano,” said a delighted Lesiardo. “I love this place – it’s only one hour from home so I had many friends and fans who came to cheer me this weekend.
“I’m really happy to win my first race with the Kawasaki – it’s like a dream to win a race in Italy!
“I’m also happy for the team – they do a lot of work for me and I want to thank everyone for their support, including Christophe who worked with me the past two weeks in Belgium.
“For the first race the weather was really hot, like 46° but thankfully the track was not yet too bumpy; it was good to get the holeshot as I could ride my own rhythm all race.
“Today the track was rougher but the weather was cooler for us; my start was good again but in the first corner other riders pushed me and I nearly crashed and I was around 25th. I did a couple of fast laps to come back into the top five and at the finish I was second. After this win and the testing we did during the last two weeks in Belgium I feel much more confident, and now the goal is to win some more races and keep the red plate all season.”