You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
After a five-month Covid-19-induced break, the Dunedin rider made her comeback in convincing style on the sandy track with a win in the MXGP of Lombardia’s opening race in Italy yesterday.
The shortened race programme meant the WMX field lined up only hours later for the second race. Duncan (24), who rides for the English Kawasaki Dixon Racing Team, had made her way up to second place when she had what she described as a “massive crash”.
The impact over the jump was heavy enough to destroy the handlebars of her new 2021 Kawasaki KX250F, leaving an uninjured but devastated Duncan unable to finish the race and collect championship points.
She had started the round with a five-point lead over Larissa Papenmeier but the tables were turned as the German rider emerged as the round winner and took over the championship’s red plate.
She sits on 129 points, with Duncan holding on in fourth with 115 points.
Duncan took away the maximum 25 points in the first race after wasting no time moving into the lead.
She then kept the hammer down to take an impressive win by 15.9sec from runner-up Papenmeier and Italian Kiara Fontanesi.
“It was an up-and-down day for me, which started off really well as I won the first race and felt pretty good.
"I had a comfortable lead and maintained it,” Duncan said.
In the second race, although she “didn’t get the best of starts” she quickly charged through to second, chasing leader Nancy Van De Ven, of the Netherlands.
Disaster struck as Duncan suffered a huge crash on one of the table tops, with her bike taking most of the impact. The damage to her Kawasaki meant the defending world champion was unable to fight back and was forced out of the race, which ultimately cost her the championship lead too.
“I’d made some passes on the opening laps and made my way into second.
"I wasn’t too far off the lead when I had a massive crash.
"I ran back to the bike but the handlebars were snapped so there was no way of finishing, which resulted in a DNF.”
She only has a short timeframe to regroup with the WMX racing in Italy in only two days
The MXGP of Citta di Mantova, will be held at Mantova circuit again. Duncan is looking forward to getting back on her new bike.
"That’s the way life goes — sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan.
"I can dwell on it, or I can go back to work and continue to fight.
"That’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to show up and give it everything I’ve got.”
The fifth and final WMX round will be held in Italy again, on November 1.