FOOTHILL RANCH, CA – September 5, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Monster Energy® Kawasaki arrived at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend for the first U.S. round of the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship, the Monster Energy MXGP of Americas. Weather delays stopped all activities for Friday but on Saturday the action began with Eli Tomac qualifying fastest. The Moto 1 gate drop saw Tomac second through Turn 1, followed immediately by a battle for the lead. Before the end of the first lap, the No. 3 KX™450F of Tomac took the lead and started to pull away. Tomac would continue to stretch his lead to over 16 seconds by the halfway mark, and as the sun fell below the stadium grandstands, he would take the checkered flag with a 25 second margin of victory.
At the gate drop of Moto 2, Tomac rounded the first turn in fifth. Within three corners Tomac passed into fourth and three minutes later made the pass for third. Tomac began taking new lines and flowing through rhythm sections with impressive speed as he pressured for second and eight minutes into the moto Tomac raced his No. 3 Kawasaki into second. With 18 minutes remaining in the moto the leader went down, Tomac moved into the lead and immediately began opening a gap. For the remainder of the race Tomac was the class of the field, opening up another impressive lead and taking the checkers with another first place and the overall win at the penultimate round of the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship.
“We started the day well,” said Tomac. “I had really good practices and got in some clean laps. In the first moto the sun was in my eyes pretty bad in certain sections of the track which was a bit difficult to deal with. I washed the front end out and had a little tip over and then nearly made the same mistake the next lap, it was a bit of a wake up call for me to get it together. The second moto I had to work for the lead a bit more and the lights make the dirt a bit difficult to read at times, but all in all I had a really good time. It’s great to race against new competition and to see what the world scene has to offer.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki showed up in Charlotte with riders Adam Cianciarulo and Austin Forkner. The pair ended qualifying fastest of the field with nearly identical lap times, only seven one-thousandths of a second apart, with Forkner taking top honors and Cianciarulo in second. As the gate fell for Moto 1 it was Cianciarulo with the holeshot and Forkner immediately behind. Cianciarulo was involved in an incident in Turn 2 and retired from the race. Back at the front, Forkner kept his head down and began pulling away from the field. Ten minutes into the moto, Forkner had slightly gapped himself from the pack. With just over 11 minutes remaining in the moto, Forkner made a small mistake around a right hand corner and went down. He was able to remount but was relegated to third before rejoining the action. The No. 214 of Forkner would ride consistent for the remainder of the first moto and take the checkered flag in third.
As Forkner lined up for the start of Moto 2, Charlotte Motor Speedway was under the lights, but it made no difference as Forkner once again rounded the first turn in second. It was fellow American Darian Sanayei aboard the Bud Racing Kawasaki KX™250F who took the holeshot. He would quickly fall under pressure from Forkner, who would pass Sanayei for the lead before the end of Lap 1. Nearly five minutes into the moto, Forkner had already opened up a gap of over two seconds on the field and continued to press the pace. At the halfway mark, Forkner remained in control of the race with a 6 second gap over second. As the battle behind him heated up, Forkner made a small mistake and gave up the lead with three laps to go. On the final lap Forkner found himself in a back and forth battle for second, finally gaining the advantage and second place in Moto 2. Earning 3-2 moto finishes on the day, Forkner completed his first ever FIM Motocross World Championship MX2 class with a third overall finish.
“I surprised myself by having the fastest lap time in qualifying,” said Forkner. “In the first moto I was out front for a while and came under pressure. I made a small mistake and gave the win away unfortunately. In the second moto I spent the first 20 minutes with a comfortable lead and then they started to reel me in inch by inch. At that point I just left it all out on the track and I was honestly spent after the second moto. It was a tough race but I’m really happy I ended up on the box. I was pretty comfortable racing in this style because the format is similar to what we normally run, but the style of riding is so different. At the beginning of the motos the U.S. racers tend to go for it harder than the MXGP guys do, and they tend to go harder at the end. At the end of the day I battled with a U.S. champion and a world champion, it was a great experience and I’m leaving with a trophy!”
Source: Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.