Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki Round 4 Race Report - Mexico
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki
April 03rd, 2017
The final stop on the 4-part fly away before returning to Europe would see the DRT Squad take on the heat of Mexico, Leon.
With an altitude of ~1800m, these conditions will constantly affect the bike throughout the weekend. In a scenario like this, it was key for the DRT technicians to work closely with Cosworth to ensure the relevant settings were made to keep performance at a high level. This was achieved by working on mapping throughout the week prior to the race, and Seva took advantage of this as he pushed for pole position in the qualifying race, but was narrowly beaten bya1/200th second on the last lap. In contrast, Darian was unable to find a comfortable groove with the track and struggled to adapt throughout the weekend. With different prep and dirt than the American was used to, he did not feel safe to push to his previously shown speed and was unable to carry momentum - key in battling the effects of the altitude on the bikes performance. Darian was only able to bring home 18th fastest in gate pick for qualifying.
For the qualifying race Seva started ok and was pushing to move into 7th on lap 3, but a small mistake resulted in a crash and he fell down to 18th. As a result of this Seva had to do a lot of work to lift himself up and push through the pack to eventually bring home a 9th at the flag. Darian's luck continued as a crash turned from bad to worse, with the bike on top of him he was unable to get up without the official's help, they held the bike whilst Darian was starting it, but this counted as "outside" assistance and was not allowed to carry on resulting in last gate pick.
For the first MX2 Race, Seva made an ok first lap with a more composed strategy after analysing Saturday's race, and things were looking good as he held 8th on the tail end of the 4 riders in the group just ahead. As the group were slowing Seva started to come under attack from Olsen, who tried to go around Seva and Van doninck. Seva dived inside Van doninck to move into 7th only to lose the front end and crash out to the last place. Once again Seva would have to do all the hard work to come from the back of the pack to 15th, when he could easily have been pushing for a top 3. Darian meanwhile seemed a mile away from his performance in Argentina, and just could not get a feeling with the track, although in the second half of the race Darian had upped the pace and worked through to 16th but a small fall lost him time, eventually resulting in a 17th.
Race 2 did not reward Seva with such a good start but the Russian quickly moved from 12th to 8th and then it was a fair distance to get the next group, but with his good lap times Seva powered his Cosworth KXF250f and soon took 13 seconds out of Van doninck to be only 2 seconds behind him and with 3 laps to go it looked like 5th was in the bag. Just minutes away from a good finish Seva's clutch cable snapped and he had to ride the last three laps with no clutch, so unable to push safely he had to settle for 6th position.
With more track time under his belt, Darian had more fight and speed in race 2, but the race was too steady and his almost last place start hindered any chance of a great position. He managed to fight his way through to 17th place, which was little consolation for the speed Darian has displayed previously, but it's a long season and sometimes you're better to come away uninjured than ride over your head and end up missing races due to injury.
The team will now head back to the UK to prepare for the European stint of the MXGP World Championship series, starting with the MXGP of Trentino in Italy.
Steve Dixon, Team Manager:
"Unfortunately seva did not get the points today that he should have done, he is riding fast and it shows he has the speed for podiums but small crashes are part of the territory when you are making that step to the next level, we will work to get both riders out of the gate better so they are better positioned. Overall I'm happy with the 4 fly away races, yes more points would be nice but I know it's a long season and the team has been solid with everyone working well and with refinements to the bike out of the start and the speed the riders have shown I'm confident we are on track."
“I struggled on this track in Leon; I just couldn’t find the pace the top guys were running here. I couldn’t push my limits. In the qualifying race I crashed and hurt my shoulder a little bit, then in the first moto I was pretty far back; I got through to fourteenth but I fell and finished seventeenth. In the second race I started in the back again and could only come back to sixteenth to score nine points this weekend. I will keep working and hopefully, I will be able to get some good starts in the next rounds.”
“It’s good to finish the weekend with a sixth place, as it has been another tough GP for me. This weekend again I show great speed, and it made me confident for the races but also a little bit frustrated after the races because I’m not at the place where I should be finishing in the races. In the first moto my start was quite good and I was battling for seventh place; I saw the other riders were not far away and I was riding calm, just waiting for the moment to pass but the rider behind me was doing strange things and finally I crashed. It was difficult to restart the bike, and finally, I came back from last to fourteenth but it cost me a lot of energy as I had to push until the end of the race. My start in the second moto was more difficult; I was sixth and was catching the guy in fifth position until my clutch cable was damaged. I finished sixth. Now I have to take care of my body after the crash on Saturday, and we’ll continue to work with the team before the next round in Italy.”