The 2nd round of the 2023 Supercross World Championship took place in Abu Dhabi, in the heart of the Etihad Arena, on Saturday November 4. After an encouraging start to the season for the Bud Racing team, Justin Hill, Cédric Soubeyras, Anthony Bourdon and Adrien Escoffier were eagerly awaiting their departure for the capital of the United Arab Emirates. On a European-standard track, starting out in front was essential.
In the SX2 class, Anthony had a good start of the day with a pole position in timed qualifying. Unfortunately, a poor start in the qualifying heat was determined the rest of his day. Condemned to start on the 2nd row in each of the finals, Anthony finished 17th, 14th and then 8th, to take 14th place overall, reflecting neither his speed nor his potential.
For Adrien Escoffier, things were relatively similar. Also starting from the 2nd row, a lack of aggressiveness prevented him from achieving his objectives, respectively 12th, 13th and 12th in the three finals. In the provisional standings, Anthony is 13th, while Adrien is currently 15th. Both will have to fight hard in the final round if they want to enter the championship top 10.
In the SX1 class, Justin Hill came 4th in the provisional rankings for this Abu Dhabi event. Determined to stay at the top of the standings, our American rider suffered from a lack of rhythm. His podium ambitions gave way to a 7th position overall, and Justin dropped back to 5th in the provisional standings. In the end, the weekend’s best performance went to Cédric Soubeyras.
Fast and solid, Cédric was in the best group of riders in each final to finish 2nd, 6th and 5th respectively. Over the three finals, he finished in 5th place, same points with 4th-placed Ken Roczen, missing out on the podium by just 2 points. His performance was more than encouraging, and the balance very positive. Whether it’s a question of staying the course for some or rolling up their sleeves for others, the goal of shining in the final in Australia is common to all. See you in Melbourne on November 24 and 25.
Cédric Soubeyras : “It was a positive weekend. In the first final, I took advantage of Friese’s disqualification to finish in 2nd place, even though I was 3rd under the chequered flag. In the end, I missed out on the podium by just 2 points. I’d like to thank the team for all their support and good humour every day”.
Anthony Bourdon : “The day started good, with me taking pole position in the overall SX2 standings. I then missed my start in the qualifying heat and found myself on the 2nd row for the finals. In these conditions, I once again missed my starts and then failed to make my mark on a track where you had to be aggressive and overtake quickly. I’m learning and I’ll come back better, that’s for sure”.
Adrien Escoffier : “My poor qualifying run conditioned the rest of my day, as I found myself starting from the 2nd row. I then lacked the aggressiveness to overtake during the heats. We look forward to Melbourne. A big thank you to the Bud Racing team and see you in Australia in 3 weeks’ time, when we’ll have to pull out all the stops”.
Justin Hill : “After a long break since the SMX in the United States, I arrived in Abu Dhabi with a lack of riding that penalized me for performing as well as I did in England. I enjoyed the event all the same, and it was nice to discover a new country and introduce supercross to new fans who were really behind us”.
Stéphane Dassé : “This second event in Abu Dhabi came as a great surprise to me, with a crowd that was new to supercross but super enthusiastic. The modern stadium reminded me of the Bercy supercross. We just regreat that we missed the 450 podium for two points with Cedric Soubeyras who rode amazingly well in Abu Dhabi. I hope to be back there next year, and in the meantime I’ll see you at the legendary Paris supercross on November 18 and 19”.