Enzo Lopes continued his excellent start to the season by claiming an outstanding fourth in San Diego.
Once again showing what a class act he is aboard his Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha, his day got off to a quality start, as he recorded the fourth fastest time in qualifying behind only Jett Lawrence, RJ Hampshire and Pierce Brown.
Words: Edward Stratmann | Lead Image: Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX
Come his heat race, the Brazilian star impressively ripped the holeshot and raced out to an early lead. Combining power and finesse, the talented prospect picked his lines superbly and set a blistering pace, as he strikingly held off the hard-charging Hampshire.
Although the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna speedster eventually got by, Lopes was still satisfied with second in what was a disjointed heat that had to be red flagged and restarted.
Raring to go for the main event, Lopes blasted out of the gate to propel himself into third early on and set about establishing his position at the pointy end of the field. Quickly moving into second following an incisive move down the inside of teammate and good friend, Phil Nicoletti, his start gave him a solid foundation to secure that coveted first podium he so dearly craves.
“My goal this year is to be on the podium, because I know I have the speed and what it takes. So I just need to put it together. I also want to be top three in the championship. Last year I came close to that so I think it’s pretty achievable. It’s been my dream ever since I was a little kid in Brazil growing up,” he told MX Vice in an exclusive two-part interview recently.
Riding with speed and precision, as he attacked the track with gusto, there was no stopping his initial momentum, with him clearly comfortable and content running the pace set by the electric Jett Lawrence out front.
Although Cameron McAdoo breezed by him a few minutes in, there was a lot to admire about how the 23-year-old stayed close to the Pro Circuit pilot and didn’t let him pull away.
As the race progressed, however, he faded slightly and was ultimately caught by the blisteringly quick Hampshire, thus dropping him back to fourth, which is where the stylish, technically proficient maestro finished.
Despite falling just short of getting on the box, this was another excellent body of work by the fully fit and firing Lopes, who yet again proved he has what it takes to mix it with, and beat, the factory riders even though he’s not on the same level of equipment.
By the numbers, the fact he was the second quickest in segment one, fourth fastest in segment two, fifth fastest in segment three and was one of only four men to clock a lap time under 51.1 seconds aptly accentuated what a terrific body of work he produced.
Still on the hunt for that elusive podium, Lopes will now immediately focus his thoughts on Anaheim 2 next weekend, with him appearing destined to achieve his goal sooner rather than later if his promising start to the crusade is anything to go by.
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