© GP2 Series

Giovinazzi doubles up in Baku after chaotic GP2 sprint race

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Antonio Giovinazzi became the first driver to win twice in a single GP2 race weekend since 2012 after scoring a dramatic victory in Baku on Sunday.

Giovinazzi started eighth by virtue of the reverse grid, but dropped to last in the early stages as McLaren junior Nobuharu Matushita moved into the lead.

The Japanese driver saw his advantage over Daniel de Jong in second place fade when the safety car was deployed following a shunt involving Jordan King and Jimmy Eriksson.

Matushita momentarily lost the lead on the restart to Oliver Rowland, only for the Briton to lock up and drop behind once again.

A second caution period was called after Philo Paz Armand went off, with Matsushita assuming control of the pack when the safety car peeled in.

Matsushita returned to racing speed before slamming on the brakes, forcing the rest of the pack behind to seek evasive action. The questionable tactic sparked a clash that forced Gustav Malja, Mitch Evans and Sean Galeal all to retire, while Rowland also got caught up in the incident.

Once the safety car had made a third appearance, Matsushita led the field away again, only to be taken out by Raffaele Marciello at the first corner in an act of karma that sparked applause from the drivers that had retired as a result of his actions.

Amid the chaos, Pierre Gasly had assumed the lead for Prema Powerteam, running ahead of teammate Giovinazzi who piled on the pressure heading into the final lap.

Gasly ran wide at Turn 1, handing the lead to Giovinazzi who was then able to hold the Frenchman back despite his DRS being broken and pick up his second GP2 win in as many days.

The last driver to do the double on a single weekend was Davide Valsecchi, who won twice in Bahrain in 2012 en route to winning the series title.

Gasly was left to settle for second place, meaning that his three-year win drought continues, while Sergey Sirotkin completed the podium for ART Grand Prix.

Jordan King recovered to finish fourth ahead of Artem Markelov, who rises to the top of the drivers’ standings. Sergio Canamasas finished the race sixth ahead of Nabil Jeffri and Arthur Pic, while Alex Lynn and Marvin Kirchhofer rounded out the top 10.

GP2 returns in two weeks’ time in support of the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg.

Adam Enticknap paves the way for the ‘Other 19’

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Once the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season kicks off in Anaheim, Calif. on January 4, eyes inevitably will begin to focus on the front of the field.

One rider will win that race. Two will stand on either side of him on the podium. Nineteen others will ride quietly back to the garage and if they’re lucky, get a few minutes to tell the tale of their race to a few members of the media. On their way off the track, the other 19 will take a minute to wave to the fans in the stands.

Adam Enticknap will motion for them to follow him.

One of the most engaging riders in the sport, Enticknap not only recognizes his role as a dark horse on Supercross grid, he revels in it.

“Not everyone is going to win,” Enticknap said last week at the Supercross media sessions. “There’s only one winner on a weekend; that’s it. There can’t be more than one winner. And everyone else has got to go home and eat too.”

A recognized Hip Hop artist known for his video ‘My Bikes Too Lit’, Enticknap is bringing new fans to the track – and as a result, he is putting a spotlight on riders deeper in the field.

Last year Enticknap was coming off a broken femur that marred his SX season. He made only three Mains with a 20th in Indianapolis, 15th at Houston, and an 18th at Las Vegas. In October, he earned a career-best 14th in the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. He got there by being consistent in the three heats, finishing 16-15-15.

But that’s not the point for Enticknap. Yes, he wants to win but it is just as important to be the ambassador for those riders who are known only to their fans.

“I’ve made a path for riders that are not going to win,” Enticknap said. “And that’s not saying that I don’t want to win, or that I’m not going to win, but I’ve made it so that the guy who’s finishing 20th and barely making the Mains can make a full career out of it. I’m probably the most famous, slowest guy on the track. It’s come from the way I’ve marketed myself and the way I’ve been with my fans and I’ve appreciated every second that I’ve been here.”

On a good weekend, Enticknap is one of the “other 19” in the Main Event.

“Without all of us, there really is no winner. Everybody’s got to show up and everybody’s got to compete during the weekend. In our sport, everyone is so hyper-focused on the guy who is winning all the time, but I hope that I’ve opened people’s eyes that sometimes it’s not just about the guy who wins the race as much as it is about the guy who is succeeding during the weekend.”

For Enticknap, success looks different than for last year’s champion Cooper Webb or Eli Tomac who won six of the 17 races in 2019. It’s about knowing that when it’s time to ride back to the hauler – whether that is at the end of the Main or after a Last Chance Qualifier – that nothing was left on the track.

“My best finish was a 14th at the Monster Energy Cup – ever in my career,” Enticknap emphasized. “Making my way from the bottom is huge. I made my way from not even making the top 40 to finishing 14th in A-Main Event. That’s huge.”

And that’s progress.

In his second season with H.E.P. Motorsports, Enticknap predicts he will make 10 Mains this year.

Even if he advances to only half of the Features, it will be his best season in eight years at this level. Enticknap qualified for seven Mains in 2017 with a best of 18th at Vegas. He was in five Mains in 2018 with a best of 16th at San Diego before signing with his current team – and getting injured without rightly being able to show what he could do with them.

“I want to break into the top 10 – that’s my goal for the year – but as of right now I’m succeeding in all the little goals that I’ve set and I want to keep succeeding,” Enticknap said.

It’s not enough to want to finish well, however; riders have to visualize a path to success. For Enticknap, that will come with because of how he approaches stadium races. Towering over the field, Enticknap is not a small man by anyone’s measure so it’s ironic that he makes a comparison between Supercross and ballet. The indoor season is about precision, technical mastery, and finesse. And that is where Enticknap believes he shines.

“Supercross is more of a ballet. It’s more perfection. It’s something that takes so much talent – and you can see it in real life. When you watch an outdoor race, you’re like ‘that guy’s a beast’; he’s manhandling it; he’s hammering the throttle. And when you see a Supercross race it’s just so rhythmic and flowing and light. So much finesse on everything. Just such a fluent, technical race.”

Enticknap credits his background in BMX racing as one of the reasons why he is so fluid on a tight track.

“Supercross fits my riding style a lot,” Enticknap said. “I don’t like to just hang it out and get all sideways and just swap, swap, swap. I like to be very precise in all my movement. I’m a perfectionist. It helps in Supercross because everything is just timed by the millisecond.”

More: Michael Mosiman expects magic in this third year

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