The Grand Prix of Czech Republic brought the Monster Energy Dixon Racing Team Kawasaki crew back on MXGP duty and the thirteenth round of eighteen in the 2016 series arrived to the hard-pack of Loket. Tommy Searle took his KX450F to a pair of ninth positions around the slick and restrictive hard-pack to claim eighth place overall.
The renowned ‘old school’ (read: narrow, windy, stony) course on the Loket hillside a short distance outside of the spa town of Karlovy Vary has been a consistent segment of the MXGP calendar this century, and although the course benefitted from some cosmetic changes and some alterations to the jumps for the 2016 edition of the Czech meeting (well-attended with a 25,000 turnout) the stony soil was a well-known challenge for the GP collective.
Proceedings were complicated slightly by changing weather conditions that saw one moto run in the dry and another in the wet on Sunday. Searle posted a habitual fast lap-time in Timed Practice and then captured ninth in Qualification in a similar climate on Saturday. In something of a familiar story Searle was handicapped by so-so starts for the races themselves. The British Championship leader made a solid ninth position in the first chase and then improved his placing in the second outing with some sharp interchanges with the riders around him; a more proactive approach resulted in another ninth spot.
Searle’s efforts delivered 24 points and put the former triple world championship runner-up twelfth in the standings with five fixtures remaining.
Vsevolod Brylyakov was missing from the Grand Prix and is due to sit out another four-five weeks due to a broken bone in his left ankle. The impressive Russian fell while training at the Lommel circuit and his spiralling bike landed on his lower leg causing the damage.
Loket was the first of three consecutive Grand Prix for the Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki squad. Round fourteen promises a complete contrast with the large bumps of the Lommel sand – for the Grand Prix of Belgium – set to offer the hardest physical test of the season next weekend.
“Something to build on today. My starts were mediocre and I was definitely better at passing people in the second moto; I just felt better about pushing and getting the moves done. Overall not too bad.”
Steve Dixon, Team Principal:
“Obviously we were here with only one rider and shame that Seva couldn’t be racing as this track might have been good for him. It was actually a difficult track to make any gains and it was always going to be tight racing. Tommy rode well so we are happy with the brace of results he made and considering the company around him – Paulin, Cairoli and so on – we’re pleased and he was better in the second moto where he was changing gear more frequently. For Seva we’re looking at Assen for the Dutch GP but there won’t be time to get much training done so we’ll have to see. Even though the bone has healed quite well already, we’d rather he come back fit and ready rather than taking a risk in Holland and potentially missing the trip to America for the last two races.”