Rookie Darian Sanayei took his Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki to a superb fifth place in the Argentinian round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship at Neuquen, nearly 2000 metres up in the Andes.
The American immediately felt at home on the man-made track carved out of the forest in the Andes foothills close to the Chilean border, delighting the fervent fans in practice with his acrobatic stunts over the numerous huge jumps. And once racing began, he soon showed his race pace to earn third gate pick for the two GP motos after a strong ride in the qualifying race. On race day he used his good choice of gate to start with the leaders each time, quickly advancing to second place in the first moto before a slip dropped him to an eventual sixth. Undeterred by that one slight error, he rebounded in style in race two to convert a sixth-placed start into fourth at the chequered flag. The combined results gave him fifth on the day and he has advanced to eleventh in the series standings.
Teammate Seva Brylyakov also showed tremendous pace all weekend but an issue in the qualifying race left him with only thirty-fourth choice of gate. This proved to be a severe handicap in both GP motos, but the Russian pushed relentlessly for the entire thirty-five minutes in each moto to take the chequered flag tenth and eighth. Eighth overall on the day, he maintains tenth in the standings as the series heads for Mexico, where he scored a maiden career podium last year.
Adam Sterry of the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team looked set for a good weekend as he posted fast times in both training sessions, but an incident at the opening turn of the qualifying race spoilt his choice of a premium gate pick. Undaunted the British rider quickly moved into the top ten in race one and was moving forward until another rider hit him from the side and both fell. Remounting last, Adam was too far behind to retain a chance of scoring points but he kept fighting to finish twenty-third. A good start in race two soon saw Adam move into eighth place but burns to his hands from the incident in race one made it increasingly difficult to hold on in the closing laps and he eventually finished tenth. He is now thirteenth in the series standings.
Teammate Stephen Rubini continues with his learning curve to earn twentieth gate pick from qualifying, but a poor start saw him race just outside the points in race one to finish twenty-second. He advanced four positions to twentieth in race two before stalling the engine briefly to lose the final point to a proven GP winner.
Yannick Fabre, a young Frenchman filling in for the injured Petar Petrov, showed great spirit all weekend but his lack of GP experience naturally kept him out of the points-scoring positions. Nevertheless he rode two enthusiastic races to finish twenty-eighth and twenty-fourth.
Darian Sanayei: “I was pretty disappointed in Indonesia to be ill, and I wanted to come here and show my true speed. That’s what I did in qualifying with a third position; it’s just nice to be racing at the front! My jump out of the gate was not so great in the first moto but I had a good gate pick on the inside and was able to cut under a few guys to come of the first turn third; I pushed as hard as I could to take second position, but I fell as Paturel challenged me so I finished sixth. I was around seven at the start of the second race and passed a couple of guys including Lieber; it’s always a pretty cool feeling to pass the guy with the red plate! I couldn’t quite catch Prado for third, but with a sixth and a fourth positions I finished fifth in the GP which is my best result to date. There’s a lot of positives from this weekend, and we’ll keep working hard!”
Seva Brylyakov: “This weekend went quite well even if we didn’t reach our goal. But I’m still proving every time I’m on the track that I’m one of the fastest guys of the pack; I just need to put everything together. On Saturday I was unlucky with some issues during the qualifying race, but it was better to have it on Saturday rather on Sunday. I had the thirty-fourth gate pick; it’s never easy to have a good start from this position and on this track everyone is fast so it was so difficult to pass. But I rode two strong motos to finish tenth and eighth; it’s not a bad result and most important I stayed on two wheels all weekend long. I’m just waiting to put all the pieces together; we are working hard for that.”
Adam Sterry: “It was a frustrating weekend for me, as I had good lap times in each practice session and a good speed but then I struggled at the start of the qualifying race, nearly going down in the first corner. I came from the back to seventeenth, and in the first race I was in a good position when another rider hit me so we crashed. In the second race my start was not so bad, and I finished tenth; I had some burns on my hands after the crash in the first moto, and this second race was so much painful; I couldn’t hold on properly and it was quite dangerous for me in some places.”
Stephen Rubini: “It was a strange weekend, with some good and bad moments. The track was awesome, but I struggled to put one perfect lap together and I was disappointed to be out of the top twenty in the timed practice session. In the qualifying race I had some good lines but my start was not really good and I finished twentieth. Today was another day, my start in the first race was really bad and in the second I stalled my engine when I was in the points. I’m still learning every day; the positive point is that I have a much better feeling here than in Qatar or Indonesia and I can’t wait to be on some European tracks where I already raced.”
Yannick Fabre: “It was a great experience to race this GP, but in both races I had a crash early in the race. I never rode on such a nice track; in Provence we have only hard pack so I had to get used to this sandy layout. Everything was new for me, the bike, the track, the GP rhythm but I did my best and would like to thank the team who gave me this opportunity.”