The rain was a major character of the Grand Prix of Portugal: the typically showery month of April not holding anything back in the build-up and running of round five of 2018 MXGP at Agueda. A ray of brightness was provided by Yamaha’s Courtney Duncan. The New Zealander defied the rough and hard (dry-ish) bumps on Saturday for the first of two chequered flags and then doubled up in the slime of Sunday. Her feat turned the front of her bike the same colours as the oozy soil - crimson red - as FIM World Championship leader.
The 21 year old title contender is now into her third attempt at the crown and a bid for glory that involves relocation, sacrifice and thousands of miles from everything she knows and loves. Belgium-based Duncan is nothing if not determined and both her display of speed and mature caution in the mud was the bedrock of victory on the day and perhaps a renewed tilt at that sought after bigger prize.