How Evans, Beaton, Crawford and Malkiewicz fared at Kegums 1.
Words: Simon Makker
After five long months off, the 2020 MXGP World Championship burst back into life at Kegums on Sunday. Taking a leaf out of the American Supercross’ book, the weekend’s outing will be the first of three quick-fire rounds in Latvia before the series moves to Turkey next month. With all contenders healthy and the series once again in full-swing, MotoOnline assesses the performances of the Australians flying the flag in both the MXGP and MX2 categories.
Rider: Mitch Evans
Rundown: Even though it’s only been four months since a shoulder reconstruction and just weeks since he returned to the saddle, Mitch Evans will be a bit disappointed with Sunday’s performance overall. He was involved in first turn pile-ups in both races, which ultimately torched any prospect of a good result against a strong field eager to start MXGP 2.0 on a high note. The Team Honda HRC’s rookie will still be somewhat happy with his ability to come through the pack in both races to 19th and 18th respectively, but he and the team will be hoping for an improved outing on Wednesday when the field lines up again. Evans finished Kegums 1 in 19th position overall and now sits 13th in the points chase.
Rider: Jed Beaton
Rundown: After qualifying an impressive third, MX2 front-runner Jed Beaton has stated his disappointment with his performance and bad starts at Kegums 1. The first race in particular wasn’t much to write home about after two crashes saw him cross the line in 15th, but the Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing team member still passed almost half the field in the opening seven laps. The second moto saw Beaton back in more familiar territory, as he completed the opening lap in eighth position, then punched out fast, consistent laps and capitalised on a couple of other rider errors to cross the line in sixth. He finished ninth overall, but still holds down third in the MX2 points.
Rider: Nathan Crawford
Rundown: When he finished qualifying 22nd due to a transponder fault, Kegums 1 threatened to be a long day at the office for Team Honda 114 Motorsports newcomer Nathan Crawford. Still, the Queenslander worked himself into mid-pack results in both motos. A less than average start in the opening MX2 race forced him to play catch-up for most of the race, but he managed to catch and pass countryman Beaton with two laps to go and finish 14th. A better start in the second moto meant he could hold his own and chip away at the guys in front of him, eventually crossing the finishline in eighth, and 12th overall for the day. Crawford is now 13th in the point-standings with two more hit-outs remaining at the Kegums circuit.
Rider: Bailey Malkiewicz
Rundown: Kegums 1 proved to be a tough day for Team Honda 114 Motorsports rider Bailey Malkiewicz. The youthful Victorian struggled in the latter stages of both races to a 21-26 result, including going a lap down in the second moto. In the opening race he started mid-pack and got as high as 14th – which was solid at the time – at the midway mark before fading down the order and crashing with two laps to go. The second moto saw him suffer a horrible start and struggle to move forward before he got put a lap down. Malkiewicz currently sits 26th in the points, but at least has a solid idea of the areas he needs to work on over the next few rounds.