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The perfect start for Courtney Duncan

Courtney Duncan and Bike It MTX Kawasaki started their title defence in the FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship in perfect fashion with a double-victory at Loket in the Czech Republic.

The defending champion qualified fastest and cleverly chose a start-gate some distance inside the central gates favoured by her main rivals; she was rewarded with a clear run to the first corner whilst her rivals squabbled already before the turn. With a clear track ahead after taking the holeshot award the Kawasaki girl already led by nearly four seconds at the completion of the first full lap and, setting the fastest laps of the race whilst taking no risks, comfortably extended her lead each lap until she took the chequered flag as winner with a twenty-two second advantage after twelve laps of the hardpack raceway. Once again negotiating the always tricky first turn safely in race two she immediately set her eyes on the leader and moved ahead within half a lap to again earn a clear track. With the tricky track extremely slick in places she was content to hold a slender but defendable lead for most of the race before moving clear in the final laps; despite one momentary lapse of concentration, which saw her slip off without surrendering the lead, her supreme physical fitness played its part to complete the day with another victory by nine seconds, again the fastest lap of the race, a perfect fifty-point haul in the championship and a ten point lead in the FIM World Manufacturers’ Championship for Kawasaki.
Courtney Duncan: “I think we can be happy with today. You can’t ask for more; two good starts, two clean rides, two wins. The track was technical and slick in spots and it was difficult to find a flow at times but I rode smooth and smart. We made a couple of small changes to the settings this morning after free practice but my KX250 worked perfectly all day. I pulled a cool holeshot in race one; I’m stoked about that – I didn’t do that many times in my career. After that I just rode smooth; in fact I almost felt slow, but I didn’t want to take any risks because it’s a dry day and the square-edged bumps were coming out.  I made a pretty good start again in race two. I wanted clear vision so I made an aggressive pass on the first lap and just managed it from there in. I made a silly mistake a couple of laps from the end; that freaked me out but I settled down again quickly. My thanks to Kawasaki, my team and my sponsors for their support; I couldn’t do it without them. “
Amandine Verstappen, who represents 9MM Energy Drink BUD Racing Kawasaki in the French championship and has been unbeaten for the last three years in that series, also made a superb start in the opening moto to decisively defend third place for four laps before another girl slipped through; the Belgian pressured her rival for the remainder of the race to take the chequered flag a close fourth. She surrendered two positions early in the second race after starting sixth but regrouped in the closing stages to regain sixth in the moto for fifth overall on the day and in the championship standings.
Amandine Verstappen: “I couldn’t find a clear lap during Qualifying so I was only eighth behind the gate but I’m always better in a race than in a timed practice session. My first start was good and I was fighting for the third position for most of the race, but the track had changed since the practice session and at one point my feeling with the suspensions wasn’t so good. We worked on the settings for the second race but my start was not as good as the first one and for two or three laps I wasn’t riding as I usually can but I finished sixth for fifth overall. The positions are tight in the standings, and I feel that we are now six to eight girls who are capable of scoring podium results. This week I’ll go riding with the team on sandy tracks; I know Lommel and I’m confident for this round."