Words and Photos by Brendan Lutes
This post has multiple pages. MX1 Page One | MX2 Page Two | MX3 Page Three
Qualifying for the 66th edition of the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations has concluded on the unforgiving Lommel, Belgium, sand track. After weeks of speculation about how the teams and riders would fair on the unique track, the questions have now somewhat been answered.
Finishing the day with the top qualifying position was Team Germany, which was anchored by Ken Roczen’s amazingly dominate ride in the MX2 qualifier, where he got out to the early lead and never looked back. Second in the team standings went to Team Belgium with strong rides being posted by all three riders. Third went to The Netherlands with their strongest ride coming from Jeffrey Herlings in the MX3 class where he took the win in the qualifier. As for Team USA, they had a tough day, qualifying seventh heading into tomorrow, and being penalized with a disqualification for outside assistance.
The start of the first race of the day saw Team Italy’s Antonio Cairoli jump out to the early lead ahead of Germany’s Max Nagl, Team Belgium’s Clemente Dessalle, and the rest of the field. As the laps continued, Cairoli began to open up a comfortable lead, however, he slowed slightly after feeling something wrong with his bike, allowing Nagl to move into the lead. After Nagl led for the majority of the race, Cairoli picked up the pace and retook the lead ahead of the German. From there, Cairoli never relinquished the point position, as the two riders gapped the rest of the field. Behind them, Dessalle held down third for the entire race.
Meanwhile, Team USA’s Ryan Dungey was mired back in sixth. He briefly made his way into fifth, but couldn’t hold onto the position. In the final laps of the race, Dungey threw away his goggles, and ultimately finished sixth.
Following the race, Ciaroli had this to say, “I had a good start and on the first lap I was trying to push and pull away,” he said. “I felt something with the bike, and didn’t want to DNF, so I slowed down a little bit. Max got by me then, but a few laps later, the bike felt good again, so I went faster and passed Max back for the lead.” As for the main event tomorrow, Cairoli knows that tomorrow will be another story entirely, “Who knows what will happen. This track is gnarly and tomorrow will be even rougher.”
1. Antonio Cairoli (Italy)
2. Max Nagl (Germany)
3. Clemente Desalle (Belgium)
4. Gautier Paulin (France)
5. Evgeny Bobryshev (Russia)
6. Ryan Dungey (USA)
7. Marc De Reuver (The Netherlands)
8. Rui Goncalves (Portugal)
9. Josh Coppins (New Zealand)
10. Tommy Searle (Great Britain)