The New Zealand rider has won both motos on her way to victory at the opening round of the 2016 FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship.
By Hayden Gregory
The rookie sensation undoubtedly stole the show on her way to a perfect score easily winning both races by a near 30 second margin. Up against last year’s world champion Kiara Fontanesi and runner up Livia Lancelot, Duncan was certainly no slouch stunning her competitors in an all out motocross assault.
It was a fantastic debut for Duncan and the Yamaha team. It was also a great day for Lancelot who claimed second after a pair of runner up finishes. Nancy Van De Ven impressed scoring third for the round with a 3-4 result. Van De Ven showed great pace all day scoring both holeshots along the way.
Last year’s champion Fontanesi was the victim of a first race crash before stepping up in race two to claim third. The race one mishap means she currently sits fifth place in the championship, 20 points behind Duncan.
The girl from Palmerston is mentored by two time world motocross No.2 and JCR Yamaha New Zealand boss Josh Coppins. He was delighted by the results yet in no way surprised by Duncan’s performance.
“To be honest, it’s what we expected,” said Coppins.
“We expected big things from her and we prepared her well. We made sure she would be as ready as she could be. It was a big challenge for her to tackle her first WMX (Women’s World Championship) races, with a new bike and the huge distance to travel from New Zealand, and a lot was stacked against her.
“But I believe the best is yet to come.
“She can improve upon her performance at round two and, yes, she’s now going to round two at Valkenswaard (in the Netherlands, on March 28). But, for now, she needs to savour the moment of her first wins.
“A full series campaign is now coming together for her. There was a lot to set up before she went to Qatar and she delivered. So now she’s in a good position to continue.
“We need to work out what’s best for her. There’s a lot to discuss.
“Unfortunately I could not be with her in Qatar because I was with the Altherm JCR Yamaha team at round two of the New Zealand Motocross Championships this weekend, and I’m a bit sleep-deprived after staying up all night to watch her races live, but I will be with her at Valkenswaard.”
Highlights of the women’s races can be seen below.
WMX Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), 25:39.039
2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:27.377
3. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:41.292
4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +0:49.822
5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:14.578
6. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), +1:22.373
7. Genette Vaage (NOR, KTM), +1:24.655
8. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, Suzuki), +1:36.855
9. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), +2:06.537
10. Virginie Germond (SUI, Suzuki), +2:07.762.
WMX Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), 25:46.879
2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.037
3. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Honda), +0:48.139
4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +1:00.122
5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:37.023
6. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), +1:54.701
7. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, Suzuki), +1:58.400
8. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), +2:04.932
9. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), +2:07.702
10. Stacey Fisher (GBR, KTM), -1 lap(s).
1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 50 points
2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 44 p.
3. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 38 p.
4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 34 p.
5. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, HON), 30 p.
6. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), 30 p.
7. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, SUZ), 27 p.
8. Justine Charroux (FRA, YAM), 25 p.
9. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 23 p.
10. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 21 p.