Round two of the highly competitive Italian National series took place at Castiglione del Lago today, and once again the Buildbase Honda MX Team was present with its two MX1 riders Kristian Whatley and Gert Krestinov. Following on from another successful week of early season testing the red duo lined up against a truly World class field for the second weekend running.
Buoyed by their respective performances at the opening round last Sunday on the island of Sardinia both Whatley and Krestinov were hoping for similar outings and results on this occasion too. However on a heavy track that had absorbed much rain right up until Thursday, which was then subjected to a heavy frost for two days before thawing fast on race day, it turned out not to be the best of meetings for the British based team.
In truth Gert never got to grips with either the track or the conditions and endured a long and difficult day in the saddle right from qualifying twenty-third to then placing nineteenth in the MX1 class in both twenty-five plus two lap encounters. As a result of which Krestinov will now remain in Italy for a further week of riding in order to regain the promising form he showed last weekend.
Kristian faired slightly better on the day and took thirteenth in the morning qualification session before then delivering a superb opening race performance. In a race won by former MX1 World Champion David Philippaerts, Whatley fought his way up the order to claim eighth spot as he crossed the line, and was not so far away from reigning MX1 World Champion Toni Cairoli who placed fifth.
The second race, where the best MX1 / MX2 riders are mixed together, brought little fruit for the Buildbase Honda MX team with Whatley and Krestinov finishing eighteenth and nineteenth respectively in the larger capacity class. Wanting to firmly put race two and the day behind him, as planned Kristian will return to the UK tomorrow to ride closer to home this week before returning to Italy next weekend for the third and final round of the series.
Speaking about the day’s event Buildbase Honda MX Team Manager David Thorpe was honest in his appraisal. “With the exception of Kristian’s result in race one where he rode exceptionally well, it has been a day to forget overall. As a team we are obviously disappointed that things haven’t gone better, but that was the whole idea of coming out here to have a proper shakedown against World class riders ahead of the start of the Maxxis series. The real shame is that we have had a good week of testing prior to today and were hoping the improvements were going to show out on track. But that’s racing and we will now regroup, learn from today and be ready to race again next weekend”
Whatley only had a few words of his own to add. “The first race I rode well and showed what I am capable of, but race two was an absolute disaster from the start to the end which is a massive disappointment both for me and the team. I am looking forward to heading home for a few days and will look to make amends next Sunday.” Krestinov was equally short in his summing up. “From my side there have been very few positives, from the first lap this morning to the last lap in race two I never put in one good lap. That’s down to me not the bike. Another week of riding out here will be a big help to me, so I can hopefully be back to normal for next weekend’s race.”
Image by Ty Kellett.