From the outset, 19-year-old Crawford displayed immense pace around the Macarthur Motorcycle Complex hillside. His third-position qualifying time earned him his first-ever feature in Super Pole, where he rode to a fourth-fastest lap.
Searing heat greeted racers for their opening MX1 outing, but Queenslander Crawford thrived in the taxing conditions. Capitalising on a good start and the mistakes of others, Crawford piloted his 2017 KX450F to a strong fourth place – his career-best MX1 result.
The heavens opened just before the second MX1 race got under way, making for treacherous racing conditions. Crawford focused on minimising his mistakes and picked his way around the slick, hard-pack circuit to eighth position and seventh overall on the day. He's now P6 in the standings.
“There were lots of positives to take from today,” Crawford enthused afterward. “We’re only at round two and I’ve already got my first Super Pole, which was a big step forward from Wonthaggi. Following that up with a fourth in the first moto was really good, but mother nature didn’t play to our favour and the second race was a bit of a struggle. I’m not too worried about my eighth place in that race - we’ll take the positives from here and bring them to Conondale in two weeks’ time.”
MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team's Russian-born pilot Tonkov was also encouraged by an improved result around the rutted Appin circuit, especially after having limited riding opportunities between rounds due to a practice crash after Wonthaggi.
Tonkov recorded the 10th-fastest MX1 qualifying time, then backed that up with a 10th position in the opening race. With rain falling before the second moto, Tonkov continued to show his promise with a series-best seventh placing, which was a result that saw him finish the day in eighth overall and climb to ninth overall in the championship.
“I definitely made some progress, but it’s still tough,” 23-year-old Tonkov stated. “I had a big crash after Wonthaggi and haven’t had much time on the bike. Mentally it’s been tough too – in the GPs I was leading races and on podiums, but now I come to Australia and I’m riding around in 10th position.
"I think if everything comes together and I start training good, riding the tracks and we spend some long weeks practicing and setting up the bike, step by step we’re going to be there. Every time we go on the track we improve. Like today, qualifying, first moto then second moto, each time I was on the track I was getting better and better. That’s the goal - to keep that flow and see where to end up."
The third round of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals championship will be held at Conondale, Queensland, on Sunday, 7 May. Further information on the 10-round series can be found on the official website at www.mxnationals.com.au.
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