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MX2, Matterley Basin, GREAT BRITAIN, 1 March 2020
Stanley Leroux / Pascal Haudiquert
Mikkel Haarup sensationally scorched onto the podium of the opening round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship on his debut for F&H Racing Kawasaki at Matterley Basin in southern England.
The Danish teenager displayed maturity beyond his tender years as he quickly slotted into the top six in both races and stayed cool in the rapid leaderboard train until mid-moto each time before advancing decisively to third. In the first moto he leapt three positions in three separate moves in the space of half a lap to take his first GP moto podium just eight seconds behind the long-time leader. He confirmed his physical strength and that of the F&H KX250 to once again establish himself in the top six, closing down the riders ahead to take over fourth by half-distance and finally run down the 2019 world-number-two in the closing stages for his second third-placed moto finish of the day, just three seconds shy of the winner as he maintained his lap times throughout the full distance of both motos. He completed the GP a decisive overall third, on the same points as second and just three points off the championship pace. Mikkel Haarup: “What a weekend! I didn’t have any special expectations before I came here but I was fastest in qualification yesterday and then two decent motos today for the podium. I expected a mud race but it was perfect today; it’s a tough track but I feel like I rode mature, had a good flow and could push forward in the second half of both motos. Now I’m looking forward to next week at Valkenswaard; we’ve done a lot of sand training so I’m ready to build on this great start to my career with F&H Kawasaki. “ F&H teammate Roan van de Moosdijk faced a tough day after moderate starts outside the top ten in each moto but the Dutch teenager dug deep to move forward to ninth in race one and eleventh in race two to secure eighth overall. Roan van de Moosdijk: “It was tough. I didn’t make the best of starts in either moto and I never had a good feeling on the track. The team didn’t put any pressure on me and I didn’t put pressure on myself but this has never been my favourite track and we’re leaving here with eighth overall so let’s build on that next weekend at Valkenswaard. “ Mathys Boisrame, the third member of the F&H Racing Team, ran a strong second during the first five laps of race one until his recent lack of bike-time whilst he recovered from a hand injury took its toll and, suffering the inevitable arm-pump, he was forced to slacken his tempo for a fourteenth-placed finish. Quickly finding a sustainable rhythm in race two after completing the first lap tenth the Frenchman moved into the top six mid-moto and made it three F&H Kawasaki’s in the top ten overall despite losing one place on the final lap. Mathys Boisrame: “I’m happy with the results; one week ago I didn’t know if I would even be there! I got a great start in the first race and was second for ten minutes but then I got arm-pump as I only rode the bike one time in the last six weeks. I’m happy as I see I have the speed; in the second race I was around tenth at the start and came back to seventh. It was a good weekend; now we’ll work for Valkenswaard which is a very different kind of track.” DRT Kawasaki’s Wilson Todd had a tough GP debut in conditions very different to those in his native Australia; he just missed the points with twenty-first in the first race but added to his learning curve in Europe by moving forward from sixteenth to thirteenth in race two. BUD Racing Kawasaki’s Mitchell Harrison faced a long chase in the opening moto after an early fall but eventually advanced twelve places for a twenty-fifth-placed finish. Avoiding problems during the hectic early laps of race two he converted an initial twentieth into fourteenth at the finish.