The Big Van World MTX Kawasaki Team rider from Otago was once again dominant on her production KX250 Kawasaki as she raced to her first double-moto victory of the season and her 21st career GP victory to place her equal-first in the all-time series records.
In Saturday afternoon’s 20-minutes (plus two laps) opening moto she quickly advanced from a cautious third-placed start to take over the lead before the end of the opening lap.
Moving clear of her chasers at the rate of two seconds per lap she led comfortably by 15 seconds at the race’s halfway mark and eventually cruised home 28 seconds ahead of the runner-up rider, Italy’s Kiara Fontanesi.
The 25 points for moto victory also moved her to the head of the championship standings by five points going into the second race.
In race two the following day, Duncan was closed down out of the start gate but, secure in the knowledge that her strength, endurance and speed would serve her well and she didn’t panic.
Quickly fifth in sticky conditions with deep ruts building in many turns due to the track-watering necessary to combat the intense heat, she chose her lines cleverly to avoid coming together with her rivals, picking them off one-by-one to move to the front on the fourth of 11laps, eventually cruising home to victory by seven seconds from Dutch Fantic rider Lynn Valk.
The Kiwi girl now takes a 10-point lead to the next round of the series at Villars-sous-Ecot in France in two weeks’ time while Kawasaki also extended the lead in the FIM Manufacturers’ Championship to 16 points courtesy of Duncan’s double-moto victory.
“Obviously I’m really stoked,” said Duncan afterwards.
“Two wins and the red plate; I couldn’t hope for a whole lot more.
“I felt my start wasn’t all that good, especially round the first corner, but I made a few positions through the next two turns and rode patiently.
“We didn’t really have a warm-up this morning and the track was completely different to yesterday so I wanted to find my lines before I worked my way to the front. It’s nice to have the series lead but there’s a lot of racing still to be done; roll on France in two weeks’ time and hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling.”
© Photo courtesy Kawasaki Europe
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WMX – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 25:50.085
2 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GASGAS), +0:28.705
3 Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:32.275
4 Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:35.055
5 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:55.953
6 Martine Hughes (NOR, Husqvarna), +1:03.765
7 Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), +1:16.207
8 Charli Cannon (AUS, Yamaha), +1:17.874
9 Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:42.652
10 Jamie Astudillo (USA, KTM), +1:52.431
WMX – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Courtney Duncan (NZL, Kawasaki), 24:18.919
2 Lynn Valk (NED, Fantic), +0:07.313
3 Daniela Guillen (ESP, GASGAS), +0:13.139
4 Charli Cannon (AUS, Yamaha), +0:15.370
5 Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Kawasaki), +0:16.248
6 Nancy van de Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:47.026
7 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Yamaha), +0:47.611
8 Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:12.418
9 Britt Jans-Beken (NED, Yamaha), +1:22.541
10 Mathea Seleboe (NOR, Yamaha), +1:27.937
WMX – Overall Top 10 Classification:
1 Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 50 Points
2 Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 40 Points
3 Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 40 Points
4 Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 31 Points
5 Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 30 Points
6 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 30 Points
7 Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 25 Points
8 Nancy van de Ven (NED, YAM), 24 Points
9 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 22 Points
10 Jamie Astudillo (USA, KTM), 21 Points
WMX – Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Courtney Duncan (NZL, KAW), 135 Points
2 Daniela Guillen (ESP, GAS), 125 Points
3 Lotte Van Drunen (NED, KAW), 116 Points
4 Lynn Valk (NED, FAN), 98 Points
5 Charli Cannon (AUS, YAM), 89 Points
6 Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, GAS), 83 Points
7 Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 75 Points
8 Larissa Papenmeier (GER, YAM), 71 Points
9 Nancy van de Ven (NED, YAM), 66 Points
10 Britt Jans-Beken (NED, YAM), 64 Points
2023 WMX calendar:
Rnd 1: Sardegna (ITA) – Riola Sardo, 25-26 Mar
Rnd 2: Switzerland – Frauenfeld, 8-10 Apr
Rnd 3: Spain – intu Xanadú – Arroyomolinos, 6-7 May
Rnd 4: France – Villars sous Ecot, 20-21 May
Rnd 5: Netherlands – Arnhem, 19-20 Aug
Rnd 6: Turkey – Afyonkarahisar. 2-3 Sep