Words and Photos by Brendan Lutes
Under cloudy skies fans packed into the Saint Jean d’Angely motocross facility to witness qualifying for tomorrow’s Monster Energy Motocross of Nations. Heading into this year’s event, last year’s champions Team USA, were the favorite, but with a talent-stacked field in all three classes this year, no one could have predicted the outright display of domination by Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, and Blake Baggett.
Each rider lead their respective qualifying races from start to finish to secure the top qualifying spot for tomorrow’s main races. In MX1, Dungey got out to the early lead and managed to hold off Italy’s Antonio Cairoli to take the win. In the MX2 class, Baggett grabbed the holeshot and opened up a huge lead that no one could touch. Then in the final race of the day, with the top qualifying position already wrapped up, Villopoto did the same, grabbing the early lead and checking out on his way to completing Team USA clean sweep of the qualifying races.
The start of the first qualifying race of the day saw Ryan Dungey take the holeshot and quickly establish himself in the lead position. Behind him, Italy’s Antonio Cairoli settled into second while France’s Christophe Pourcel took over third from Russia’s Evgeny Bobryshev. As the laps quickly clicked by, Dungey and Cairoli began to pull away from the field, leaving Pourcel all alone in third. Behind the top-three, Bobryshev held down fourth until lap 10 when Australia’s Chad Reed managed to finally make a pass on the Russian.
When the two-lap board came out, Cairoli began to close in on Dungey, and the two riders completed the final laps separated by only a few bike lengths. When the checkered flag came out, Dungey crossed the line just ahead of Cairoli with Pourcel third, Reed fourth, and South Africa’s Tyla Rattray fifth after passing Bobryshev on the same lap as Reed did earlier in the race. Following the race, Cairoli mentioned that due to his family obligations this past week, causing him to miss the final Grand Prix of the season, he hasn’t been able to train and ride regularly and that during the race he was trying to save energy for tomorrow.
1. Ryan Dungey – USA
2. Antonio Cairoli – Italy
3. Christophe Pourcel – France
4. Chad Reed – Australia
5. Tyla Rattray – South Africa
6. Rui Goncalves – Portugal
7. Tanel Leok – Estonia
8. Evgeny Bobryshev – Russia
9. Tommy Searle – Great Britain
10. Johnathan Barraga – Spain