Mitch Evans and Sacha Coenen on their returns at the Grand Prix of Portugal

MXPG Portugal 2023, Agueda Rider: Evans

The fifth round of the MXGP World Championship marked the return of Kawasaki Racing Team Mitch Evans and KTM Red Bull Factory Sacha Coenen after both had to recover from their respective injuries.

Mitch Evans sustained a thumb injury prior to Argentina. However, the Australian made the trip for round one. He pushed through Saturday to set the 12th fastest lap in Time Practice and a 17th in the Qualifying Race. Following warm-up on Sunday, the decision to sit out was made between Evans and the Kawasaki Racing Team that he would take no further part in the races until he not being full recovery. This weekend in Portugal he was 18-21 to 21th overall.

“The last time I raced was in October and I knew the first race back would be tough. I’m a racer and expect more from myself so of course I’m a little disappointed but at least I’m back at the races and there were a lot of positives to take away from the weekend; my one-lap speed is good and it’s easier to make a fast rider fit than to make a fit rider faster. I just need to get used to the intensity and race-craft again and we’ll get there soon. There’s no pressure from the team and I’m grateful for that.”

Meanwhile, Sacha Coenen joined his teammates in what was his first race under the KTM Factory Team. Young Belgium was sidelined since the opening round due to a dislocated shoulder sustained in the first round of the French Elite Championship in Lacapelle-Marival just a week before the Grand Prix of Argentina. On his MX2 debut, he did a decent job with two decent motos, being 16-15 to 14th overall.

“It’s my first GP but I want more, and to ride better. With the low gate pick I had some difficult starts and was too far back in the pack. I really like the track in Madrid and I think we can do well there.”

Sacha Coenen – Image: Ray Archer / KTM Media

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