Lorenzo Locurcio, BUD Racing Kawasaki’s new signing from Venezuela, made an impressive European debut with two fighting rides to take eighth overall in Latvia, while Pierre Goupillon was unfortunate.
The Venezuelan, who arrived in Europe less than two weeks ago, proved just how quickly he has adapted to the strange environment as he stormed through the pack in both motos after starting outside the top thirty each time. Not acquainted with the European flying-lap qualification system the newcomer only earnt thirtieth gate-pick, a severe handicap at the sandy Kegums track with its sharp 180 degree opening turn. Thirty-third on the opening lap of race one he advanced no less than twenty-one places during the following thirty minutes to take the chequered flag in twelfth position, less than two seconds from tenth, after posting leaderboard lap times throughout the moto even though he was continually eating roost in traffic. A repeat show in the second moto saw Lorenzo charge from thirty-first to eleventh and deservedly earn eighth overall on the day.
Lorenzo Locurcio: “It was tough. The track was very slippery so that took me a while to get used to; qualifying was difficult so I had an outside gate which meant I got bad starts and was coming from outside the top thirty to finish twelfth in the first moto and eleventh in the second for eighth overall. I can’t complain but I know I’ve got more and I’m ready to improve on my speed. It will be perfect if they don’t change the track too much for Tuesday; I’m looking forward to it.”
Teammate Pierre Goupillon, sixth in his qualification group, found himself tailing the pack by half a minute after being knocked off by another rider a few corners after the start of race one. The Frenchman turned leaderboard lap times for a couple of laps before another rider hit his front wheel and damaged the front disc brake. A top ten start in race two promised a successful race but he was again hit by a rival on lap three to drop out of the top twenty; he had already recovered to fourteenth with eight minutes still to race before another incident forced his retirement.
Pierre Goupillon: “In the first moto another rider cut across my line on the first lap and I crashed. I was coming back when another rider hit my front wheel; I had no more front brake and was forced to retire. My second start was good, but again someone hit me during the race and once more I had to regain positions until another incident forced my retirement. It was a frustrating weekend, but we’ll regroup for the next race on Tuesday.”
The next round of the series will take place at the same venue with a revised track layout on Tuesday.
Team Bud Racing Kawasaki was on fire this weekend near his team base, as the Bud Racing Training Camp welcome the opening round of the French Elite in Magescq. The event was successful, and the team performed really well as Pierre Goupillon won the MX2 class while team mates Lorenzo Locurcio and Quentin Prugnières both stand also on the podium of their respective class.
It was the first time in the history of the Bud Training Camp that an official competition was organized, reaching the maximum of persons to attend the event, the organizer had to close the gate middle day Sunday as the event was sold out ! On one of his favourite training facility Pierre Goupillon stormed to an overwhelming two-moto victory in the opening round of the Elite MX2 championship, while new team mate Lorenzo Locurcio finished third overall.
The twenty-one-year-old Frenchman Goupillon, who will head the Kawasaki challenge in the European EMX250 series which swings into action in Latvia next weekend, dominated both motos from start to finish and confirmed that he’s ready for the sandy rounds of the European championship. Coming straight from his native Venezuela a few days earlier Lorenzo Locurcio has signed with the team to replace Mitch Harrison, and he displayed strong potential in both races with a fifth and a third position; on the podium of his first race in Europe, he couldn’t have wished for a better start with the team.
In the Junior class Quentin Prugnières posted the fastest lap time in his qualifying group, and did a solid first moto; runner up during the first part of the race he increase the rhythm to overtake the leader with four laps to go. Winner of the first moto Quentin unfortunately crashed in the opening lap of the second moto; outside the top twenty, he came back fifth to finish second overall.
Pierre Goupillon: “I spent many, many hours training on this track this winter and that helped me to improve my riding skills in the sand. We worked hard with our trainer Thierry Van Den Bosch this winter and I’m confident for this season. We saw today that I’m now a sand rider, even if there’s always some pressure for the first race; I had a good feeling all day and I feel ready for Latvia.”
Lorenzo Locurcio: “It’s been a very positive weekend; it’s been a steep learning curve but I have been working hard with Thierry (Van Den Bosch), the bike is good and I’m really excited! It has always been in my mind to come to Europe one day, so when Stephane (Dasse) called me I jumped on a plane. Since I arrived in Europe I have only practised on sandy tracks; it’s never easy to do your first race with the team on this kind of track so I’m very happy with this podium result.”
Following the restrictions to travel between Europe and USA, Team BUD Racing Kawasaki and Mitchell Harrison will not be able to continue the end of the MX2 GP season together.
Mitchell who lives in California can’t come back in Europe due to Covid19 and regulations between Europe and USA.
Both parties agreed to parts ways, so everybody can try to find solution to finish the season in best condition.
BUD Racing Kawasaki will announce soon a replacement rider to finish the season in Europe together with Pierre Goupillon & Quentin Prugnieres.
We wish Mitchell the best to find a ride in USA to finish the season also.