News 8 May 2017

Tonkov puzzled after challenging Conondale motos

Super Pole appearance one of few positives at round three.

Image: MXN.

Russian import Aleksandr Tonkov displayed his best speed of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals season at Conondale on Sunday, but was left visibly disappointed after logging a pair of disheartening moto finishes.

Tonkov, 23, arrived late in the pre-season to take up his place at MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki and came into Wonthaggi’s opener on the back-foot last month, however round three was the first time he’s finished outside the top 10 overall.

Despite going second in regular qualifying for his first Super Pole appearance, in which he was also P2, Tonkov faded from the lead in moto one all the way down to 14th. He recovered for ninth in moto two, placing him 11th for the round and he’s now ninth in the standings, but will spend the next fortnight prior to Horsham searching for answers.

“There were some positives early in the day, but this is not what I wanted,” commented Tonkov, who by now was expected to be factoring for podiums at the least. “Making Super Pole and leading the opening race early showed I can ride fast, but I want to lead every lap of every moto, not what I’m doing now. I’m a bit lost at the moment and I don’t know what the answer is.

“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. It’s something mentally, maybe, but I need to find the answer as quickly as possible. We’ll go home, reflect on today and figure out what I need to change.”

With grand prix race wins to his credit, Tonkov had been tipped to challenge the likes of former world championship teammate Dean Ferris in Australia once he reaches his true form, however chances of challenging for the crown are reducing by the round as we approach the mid-season, already 90 points down on Ferris three rounds in.