News 27 Nov 2023

Top 10 finishes for Dunker, Russo at MiniGP world finals

Both Henry and Paige qualify for Valencia main event in 160cc class.

Image: Supplied.

The 2023 MiniGP World Series Final was run and won at Valencia ahead of the last MotoGP round of the year, with Cameron Dunker and Levi Russo both scoring top 10 race results in the 190cc category.

Five Australians competed, which included the top three from the MiniGP Australia Series 190cc class, Dunker, Russo and Harrison Watts, plus the top two in the 160cc category Rikki Henry and Jake Paige.

The world finals were contested across three days at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo kart track, Spain, with practice on Tuesday, qualifying then the qualifying races on Wednesday, before the finals on Thursday.

Making the main races was no small task, and for the 190cc class, the bottom 13 from the combined three practice times went into qualifying one, where the top four would meet the fastest eight riders from practice in qualifying two.

Only the top 12 from Q2 transferred to the main races, while others had to fight for a spot in the finals through the qualifying races.

Russo qualified 10th in Q2 and earned a direct place in the main races, while Dunker secured his ticket with a P2 result in qualifying race one. Meanwhile, Watts qualified in 19th position, and in qualifying race one made a fast start to reach fourth place. He finished in P6, with only the top two transferring to Thursday.

Qualifying race two was the final chance, with only the leading rider qualifying for the finals. Watts finished the bout fifth, concluding the event 19th out of 21 contenders in the 190cc category.

Come to the finals on Thursday, both Russo and Dunker delivered commendable results. Russo – who competed in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup this year – went 8-9, while Australian Supersport Championship leader Dunker scored 9-10 finishes in the first two races.

In the Super Final, worth double points to conclude the event, Dunker finished 11th while Russo was unable to complete the bout after an early fall.

The 160cc class too was immensely competitive, with 34 riders vying for glory on the global stage. Similarly, making the finals was an achievement in its own right, and both Paige and Henry were able to do so.

Henry was 17th fastest in qualifying, earning a direct spot in Thursday’s races, while Paige delivered a memorable performance to secure the final spot thanks to a win in qualifying race two on Wednesday.

Paige ultimately finished 15th overall in 160cc category, while Henry notched a 17-16-17 scorecard despite being taken out in the first final.