Photos | Emery
After months of international travel, the 2016 Monster Energy FIM Motocross World Championship has reached its end with round eighteen taking place at the famed Glen Helen Raceway. The second round in the United States in just as many weeks, everything in Southern California is far different than North Carolina. The weather is warm and dry, while the track is massive and rough. On Saturday afternoon the two classes completed their first races of the weekend, and the qualifying motos set the tone for Sunday’s finale.
MX2 Qualifying Moto
– Austin Forkner flew down the long start straightaway ahead of the field and claimed the holeshot in the qualifying moto. The teenager racer made one small mistake in the early minutes of the moto and had to paddle his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki machine through the deep ruts at the bottom of the big hill.
– Newly crowned MX2 champion Jeffrey Herlings was buried in the field during the long run down the start, but smart line choices in the first lanes of track helped the Red Bull KTM rider make a number of key passes.
– With Forkner's mistake, Herlings was able to slip into the lead on the opening lap.
– Forkner followed Herlings closely in the first laps of the race, and then used a daring pass in a slight downhill to retake the lead.
– Forkner ran a fast pace in the middle of the moto, which Herlings managed to match and even picked up on the young rider's lines. A botched pass attempt by Herlings in the middle of the moto kept him from making the move, but one lap later he forced his way into the lead.
– Once up front, Herlings sped away from the pack and turned some of his best laps in the closing minutes of the moto.
– The battle for the lead allowed GEICO Honda's Jeremy Martin the opportunity to reel in the leaders and at certain points, he was the fastest rider on the track. Because it took so long for Martin to find his stride, he ran out of time and was unable to make pass attempts on either Forkner or Herlings.
– Max Anstie is in the final weekend of his MX2 career and the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider quietly pushed to the front of the pack in the closing stages of the moto with stellar lap times.
– Total Race Time | 26:01.158 minutes, 11 laps
– Fastest Lap Time | Austin Forkner – 2:09.926 minutes
– Margin of Victory | 10.970 seconds
MXGP Qualifying Moto
– Romain Febvre aced the start of the moto and claimed the holeshot aboard his Monster Energy Yamaha.
– Febvre was virtually flawless at the front of the field, as he never relinquished the lead and turned some of the fastest laps of the race.
– Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna's Max Nagl hung close to Febvre for the full duration of the race and although there were no passes for the lead exchanged, Nagl's proximity kept things interesting.
– A poor start put Eli Tomac deep in the pack at the start of the race, but the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider pushed his way back up the order over the course of the race, and many of the key passes came later in the race.
– Late in the moto, only a few feet separated fourth place through ninth place in the running order. It helped a few riders, like Valentin Guillod and Eli Tomac as they both moved up the results sheet, but hurt others like Arnaud Tonus, who slipped from fourth to ninth.
– Red Bull KTM's Dean Wilson put in an excellent moto, as he quietly claimed third place at the start and then managed to keep away from any competitor for the rest of the race.
– Antonio Cairoli tangled with Tim Gajser just feet into the race and the collision left the Red Bull KTM rider on the ground. Just moments later in a separate incident, Gajser tucked the front-end of his Honda Gariboldi machine. Both riders rejoined the race and claimed respectable finishes.
– Total Race Time | 25:48.790 minutes, 11 laps
– Fastest Lap Time | Romain Febvre – 2:07.930 minutes
– Margin of Victory | 5.724 seconds