Second grand prix of 2023 season sees new points-leaders emerge.
American Joey Savatgy is the new World Supercross Championship (WSX) leader after emerging on top in a wild night of competition at Abu Dhabi’s second GP of the 2023 season, as Max Anstie also delivered to take control in SX2.
A slight format revision saw the first two races go back-to-back in the early portion of the night program, before a standalone final completed proceedings – full points awarded across each moto.
It was Australian Matt Moss (FXR ClubMX Yamaha) who claimed Superpole, while a tough heat had WSX champion and red plate-holder Ken Roczen (PMG Suzuki) starting from the second row of the unique 10-gate, 20-rider grid within the tight confines of Etihad Arena.
Mobil 1 Rick Ware Racing’s Savatgy managed to go 1-4-2 for the overall, five points clear of the in-form Dean Wilson (Fire Power Froth Honda), who won the second main event after a series of fiery exchanges with Vince Friese (MCR Honda) throughout the night.
It was Friese who stood third on the podium, once again the primary talking point post-race. He crossed the line first in the opening final, only to be docked two positions for ‘dangerous racing’, and then he was again penalized following race three, from P6 to eighth.
Roczen, meanwhile, could only manage 14th in race one after going down and injuring his foot, but sliced his way through the pack in the other two encounters for fourth overall, going 3-1 to salvage what was otherwise his first time off the podium in WSX.
Fifth was Frenchman Cedric Soubeyras (Bud Racing Kawasaki), while positions six through 10 included Gregory Aranda (Team GSM Yamaha), Justin Hill (Bud Racing Kawasaki), Kyle Chisholm (PMG Suzuki), Thomas Ramette (Team GSM Yamaha) and Phil Nicoletti (FXR ClubMX Yamaha).
Two high-profile non-scorers included Justin Brayton (Fire Power Froth Honda) – appearing to be cleared of any serious injuries – and 450 debutant Aaron Tanti (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy), who fractured multiple ribs after the pair went down at the beginning of the opening final. Moss, meanwhile, was 15th after a trio of drama-packed races.
Leading into Melbourne’s final round, Savatgy holds a five-point advantage over Birmingham’s opening round winner Roczen, with Wilson a further 11 points back in third position. Friese is also still in the from, only 19 points outside of the red plate.
For Fire Power Froth Honda rider Anstie, he was at his commanding best on en route to the SX2 victory at Yas Island, edging to a 3-1-1 scorecard.
Anstie topped first final winner Chris Blose (Honda Nils) overall, the experienced American ultra-consistent for 1-3-3 results, joined on the podium by Maxime Desprey (Team GSM Yamaha), with FXR ClubMX Yamaha teammates Cole Thompson and Luke Neese the top-five.
A trio of Australians were next in line with Luke Clout (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy), Wilson Todd (Fire Power Froth Honda) and Kyle Webster (Honda Nils), as SX2 world champion Shane McElrath (Mobil 1 Rick Ware Racing Yamaha) was ninth from the second row of the grid, and Cullin Park (PMG Suzuki) completed the top 10.
The extraordinary fortunes of Anstie in Abu Dhabi sees him carry a mammoth 32-point lead over McElrath into the Boost Mobile Australian Grand Prix, which will take place at Marvel Stadium from 24-25 November.