After qualifying in eighth, then crossing the line in ninth in the opening race, the 19-year-old shot his 2017 KX450F off the line of the second moto and concentrated on both trying to put distance between himself and third place. He forged ahead for most of the race in second position before a pass late in the race relegated him back to third, and fourth overall for the day.
Crawford was elated to have posted his best MX1 race result in front of his family and friends; a result that has seen him climb the championship rankings to sixth overall.
“We’re just making steps in the right direction and that’s our goal as a team, to better ourselves every time we hit the track,” he said. “I felt great in qualifying, but caught some bunting in my rear wheel, then tipped over and bent my clutch lever.
“In the first race I was pushing a group of riders in front of me, but had another little crash. Between races I regrouped, then really put my head down for the second moto. I got a good start and rode most of the race in second before I got rounded up towards the end of the race.
“I wasn’t too phased by that – it was my best result so far this year and I’m only a rookie, so hopefully we can keep getting better from here.”
Nathan Crawford - MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team
Meanwhile, Crawford’s team-mate and MXGP import Aleksandr Tonkov started the day in fine form when he scorched to the second-fastest qualifying time around the fast, natural-terrain circuit, then backed that up with an impressive second place in Super Pole.
The 23-year-old Russian and his KX450F then leapt to the front of the opening MX1 race and led the first lap before falling down the leader-board to finish the race in 14th. Tonkov’s second outing was an improved ninth for 11th overall on the day. He remains ninth overall in the championship.
“There were some positives early in the day, but this is not what I wanted,” Tonkov said. “Making Super Pole and leading the opening race early showed I can ride fast, but I want to lead every lap of every moto."
“It’s definitely not the bike, it’s not fitness, it’s not the team because they’re working so hard to make everything perfect. We’ll go home, reflect on today and figure out what I need to change.”
Aleksandr Tonkov - MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team
The fourth round of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals championship will be held at Horsham, Victoria, on Sunday, 21 May.
Follow the team throughout the 2017 racing season at:
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Facebook - facebook.com/KawasakiAustraliaMXRacingTeam