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Kiwi teen dominates Women's World Motocross Championship opener
Yamaha rider Courtney Duncan dominates Women’s World Motocross Championship opener in Qatar on debut
Losail International Circuit in Qatar played host to the opening round of the 2016 World Motocross Championship, including the prestigious Women’s WMX class with Yamaha’s Courtney Duncan putting together a flawless display across her two races, winning both by more than 20 seconds aboard her Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ250F.
In her opening encounter, Duncan rounded the first corner in the leading pack and pursued 2015 series runner-up Livia Lancelot before taking the lead on lap four.
“I sat behind Livia (Lancelot) for a while. She made a mistake, and I got by. I just put solid laptimes in and maintained my pace,” said Duncan.
In her second and final race, after getting into the lead on the opening lap, she was unchallenged on her way to another commanding win, and maximum points haul for the weekend.
“I got another solid start in the second moto, and made my way into the lead.” reflected Duncan. “Then I just rode my own race.”
The past few months spent training and preparing under the guidance of Altherm JCR Yamaha team manager and mentor Josh Coppins proved invaluable for Duncan.
“I didn’t get tired because we had a solid summer back home in New Zealand,” said Duncan. “It’s been pretty hot at home so I was used to the heat a bit, but the motos were still tough. I put in a lot of work before I came here and happy to come away with 1-1 winning both motos on debut,” she explained.
For the 20-year old, this was her first ever encounter with Grand Prix level competition so the nerves were running high leading up to the event.
“It was my first GP, not just racing, but my first time at a GP, so I was a little nervous coming in,” revealed Duncan. “I didn’t know what to expect from the competition, as well as other aspects like the track and what goes on, but I think come racing, I settled in a bit more,” she continued.
To win so convincingly certainly sent ripples right across the MXGP paddock, and laid down the gauntlet for the remainder of the series, however Duncan knows it will be far from easy.
Duncan now returns home to New Zealand to begin preparations for the next round of the series which takes place at the famous Valkenswaard sand circuit in the Netherlands over Easter weekend.