The young Kawasaki MX2 GP riders suffered in the extreme heat of the GP of Lombardy at the sandy track of Ottobiano in the middle of the north Italian basin as temperatures soared above 40 degrees.
Teenager Stephen Rubini was left alone to fly the colours of the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team after the enforced withdrawal of Petar Petrov on practice day, and the French youngster strived hard to achieve results without the success he and the team had hoped for. In both motos he gated well and took up the chase within the points-scoring positions but crashes on the opening lap of each moto already hindered his progress. He was recovering well in the first moto and was on the edge of the top twenty when he crashed again at half distance and, with little chance of recovering the lost places again, he withdrew to save energy for race two as temperatures soared again after an early morning storm and humidity was claustrophobically high. Again starting well in race two Stephen was delayed when he became the sandwich between a crashed rider and another rival who hit him from behind. He again pushed hard and quickly reached twenty-second place, just two away from the points, when he stalled the engine and was inevitably affected by the heat as the stop broke his rhythm. He continued to the chequered flag and missed world championship points by one position.
Teammate Petar Petrov, who had dislocated a shoulder two weeks previously in Russia, bravely tried to ride, but the shoulder popped out again without him even crashing and the Bulgarian will now undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the series.
Darian Sanayei of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki qualified thirteenth on Saturday and had high hopes of a significant score, but the American’s luck ran out on race day. Twenty-fourth on lap one of the opening moto after getting tangled up soon after the start he quickly advanced to nineteenth after just three laps before crashing and damaging the bike. Again finding life difficult at the awkward 180 degree first turn he started race two twenty-first, but was making great strides and was running fourteenth three laps from the close when he crashed hard and required medical treatment; the doctors confirmed that he has no broken bones but have advised some days of recuperation so he could miss next weekend’s Portuguese GP.
Stephen Rubini: “It was a tough weekend, as I crashed early in both races. I was twice in the top fifteen which was not so bad, but I crashed on the first lap each time. In the first race I came back on the track with a good rhythm but it was not enough to be in the points and after another crash I retired. In the second moto I couldn’t avoid a pile up as another rider was down on the track in front of me and someone behind me pushed me so we were several riders on the ground together. But I didn’t give up; when I stalled the engine later in the race it was really tough with the heat but I didn’t want to retire and I finished the race twenty-first. That’s not the results I was expecting but we’ll continue to work.”
Petar Petrov: “The whole season has been hard for me, but what can we do when you’re so unlucky? I give my best every time I came, even if I was in pain but sometimes it’s not possible and you have to accept the situation. I rode the bike during the week and felt good, but with the heat here the muscles relax quite a lot and in the first practice session the shoulder I dislocated in Russia came out again. Now I will have surgery; for sure the season is over and the goal will be to get healthy again and ready for 2018.”