2023 WSX Abu Dhabi GP | Post-Race News Break
The FIM Supercross World Championship resumed at Eithad Arena on Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, and the compact venue made for close racing while the three-moto format added excitement to both divisions.
Joey Savatgy and Max Anstie claimed the overall wins in the WSX and SX2 classes and assumed the top spots in the points while incoming favorites Ken Roczen and Shane McElrath experienced minor issues throughout the day, finished off the overall podium, and slipped to second in the season-long standings.
This was the first race since SX Global was acquired in an investment led by Juan Sartori and Kyrill Louis-Dreyfus, and the businessmen traveled to Abu Dhabi to meet with teams and experience the sport in-person.
Ethara, the live event and venue management group that brought the Formula One finale to the Yas Marina Circuit, served as the local promoter and were responsible for the dirt and equipment used to build the track. Eithad Arena is a key asset in the company’s portfolio and CEO Saif Rashid Al Noaimi was around through the weekend, as he took part in the pre-race press conference and described the importance of the event for the region’s developing motocross culture to local media.
This was the second round in the amended three-region season, and it showed the dynamic that comes from awarding full championship points in the GP races.
Maxime’s Desprey SX2 podium proved that a rider’s ability to bounce back from a bad score can be just as important as consistency, and the bonuses offered for the fastest lap in SuperPole and the last Moto added more to Max Anstie, Ken Roczen, and Matt Moss’s totals.
There are distinct separations and rivalries among the 20-rider fields, and the 19-point spread between the top four in the 450 Class will be hyped-up in the coming weeks.
The added math and the tight format can be tough to follow, and as we saw in the SX2 Class, can bring changes to the season-long standings. Max Anstie was four points ahead of Shane McElrath after Race One, quadrupled the advantage to sixteen in Race Two, and doubled that to thirty-two in Race Three.
Four riders left the Middle East with minor injuries. Aaron Tanti got the worst of an opening lap collision that collected Justin Brayton, and busted ribs that required an overnight hospital stay will threaten his run in the Australian Supercross series. Brayton hurt his thumb in the incident, but will be okay for this weekend’s race in Newcastle, the second of three races in the Aussie series.
Ken Roczen smashed his right foot when he lost the front-end on the slick sweeper turn while chasing Vince Friese in Race One. The pain was a nuisance but didn’t keep him from winning Race Three, and he showed different hues of the dark purple bruise on social media during and after the flight back to Florida.
A kinked ankle was the low point to Colt Nichols’ weekend and it kept him from lining up for the final race, but he is okay.
Penalties issued by the FIM were announced by SX Global on Tuesday. Mitchell Oldenburg was disqualified from WSX Race Three after he entered the mechanics area from the wrong direction, and Vince Friese was docked positions for infractions in races one and three. Overly aggressive riding against Dean Wilson in Race One cost Friese both the win and five points, and he was docked two more spots for the off-track path he took after contact with Joey Savatgy in Race Three.
Here’s how the championship standings look ahead of the season finale, which will happen in three weeks at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
Joey Savatgy leads the WSX Class with 127, Ken Roczen is second with 122, Dean Wilson third with 111, Vince Friese fourth with 108, Justin Hill fifth with 88, Kyle Chisholm sixth with 77, Gregory Aranda seventh with 75, Cedric Soubeyras eighth with 74, Kevin Moranz ninth with 62, and Josh Hill tenth with 57.
Max Anstie is ahead in SX2 with 140 points, Shane McElrath is second with 108, Maxime Desprey third with 97, Chris Blose fourth with 93, Luke Clout fifth with 67, Cullin Park sixth with 64, Jace Owen seventh with 59, Enzo Lopes eighth with 57, Luke Neese ninth with 52, and Henry Miller tenth with 51.