2018 MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS | COMPLETE COVERAGE

MXGP CLASS QUALIFYING MOTO

Italy's Antonio Cairoli and Germany's Ken Roczen round the first turn at the head of the field in the MXGP qualifying moto and from there, the two multi-time world champions broke off from the rest of the pack ahead of Spain's Jose Butron, France's Gautier Paulin, and Great Britain's Tommy Searle. Although this group was able to avoid chaos in the right-hand bend, other possible contenders were not so lucky and America's Eli Tomac and The Netherlands' Jeffrey Herlings found themselves further back in the field. Herlings' situation was by far the worst of the two, as the incoming race favorite was fell down at the start and was over ten seconds back from the next rider within the first few moments.

Despite coming into the weekend as a question mark due to a crash at the final round of the MXGP series one week prior, Cairoli seemed unfazed by any issues on the track and lap after lap he extended his lead over Roczen. Butron put in a strong effort and held third place through the first half of the moto, but as the laps clicked off Paulin, Searle, and Tomac all got around the Spaniard.

Tomac's pace in the moto was strong, as he climbed through the pack and got behind Searle in fifth during the final half of the race, but as the American approached LaRocco's Leap late in the race, his Monster Energy Kawasaki experienced a mechanical defect and gave out, forcing him to pull out of the race. This issue would put the weight of Team USA's effort onto the shoulders of the other two rider's in the day's remaining motos.

Herlings spent the entire race picking his way through the dense pack of riders and as the moments on the dwindled, he reached third place with a critical pass on Paulin.

Puerto Rico’s Kevin Windham was consistent through the moto and finished twenty-first.

After getting up front and breaking away from Roczen without a full fight in the opening laps, Cairoli cruised to the finish line to take the win by a twenty-one-second margin of victory.

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MX2 CLASS QUALIFYING MOTO

Germany's Henry Jacobi and America's Aaron Plessinger were even when the pack exited the first turn, but it was Jacobi's late braking in the next bend that put him into the top spot over Plessinger, Australia's Hunter Lawrence, and France's Dylan Ferrandis. Jacobi batted off the pass attempts by Plessinger through the opening laps, but before the halfway point of the race the trio of Plessinger, Ferrandis, and Lawrence got around the German and into the key positions.

Plessinger put in a quick pace once he got into the lead and things began to look promising for the American team until a mistake up the face of RedBud's uphill triple caused him to short the landing and crash off the side of the track. He managed to remount the bike in seventh place, then made a quick stop into the pit area and emerged in eleventh, but by this point, any chance at a top-five finish was gone.

With the American out, Ferrandis and Lawrence took over the top two spots and began a battle that lasted until the checkered flag. The two were equally matched in the sloppy conditions and each had their own strengths and weaknesses on the track, but Ferrandis held off the charges to take the moto win over Lawrence, Jacobi, Italy's Michele Cervellin and Spain's Jorge Prado.

Puerto Rico’s Ryan Sipes was in the mix with multiple riders through the duration of the race and finished fourteenth.

With the results of the two motos tabulated, there was a three-way tie for the top spot between France, Italy, and Germany at five points each. Australia and Spain were tied for fourth at eleven points each and Great Britain was sixth with twelve points. The Americans, however, were much further down the order and at risk of not making the A Final cut at thirty-five points.

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OPEN CLASS QUALIFYING MOTO

Germany's Max Nagl nabbed the holeshot over The Netherlands' Glenn Coldenhoff and Italy's Alessandro Lupino, but the German rider's time at the top was short due to a stalled bike on the opening lap. This mistake allowed Coldenhoff and America's Justin Barcia to take over the top two spots and the two were within feet of one another from the opening lap to the checkered flag. The biggest advantage Coldenhoff held was the clear track to pick lines and a lack of roost thrown his way, while Barcia had to dodge dirt and use creative lines to close the gap. The middle to late stages of the moto were the most intense, as Coldenhoff clicked off a series of quick laps that extended his lead and then Barcia fired back with a late-race charge that brought the two riders close together in the final laps. The final lap was an all-out sprint for both, but Coldenhoff managed to maintain his lead to take the race win, which put The Netherlands in a prime position for gate picks in Sunday's motos. Barcia's second-place finish was the saving grace to the American team's weekend, as they were able to drop Tomac's finish and have a final total of thirteen points.

Puerto Rico’s Travis Pastrana diced with riders on his RM250 during the early laps but had issues midway through the race that resulted in a pit stop for new goggles and then a separate crash that ultimately forced him to DNF the race. There was no report of injury, but Pastrana’s status coming into the weekend was a question already and he did not want to further aggravate his exisiting injuries.

Great Britain's Max Anstie experienced issues at the start of the race and was down in the first turn, but the defending Open Class winner powered through the field to finish ninth. France's Jordi Tixier was solid throughout the duration of the moto and finished seventh, which ultimately was the dropped score for the team and their final total for Saturday was five points. After being passed in the early laps, Alessandro Lupino maintained a solid ranking the in running order and crossed the line in sixth, which wound up being the Italian team's dropped score and the final total was five. Max Nagl's opening lap issue ultimately led to an eighth-place finish, which was Germany's dropped score and this brought their final total to five points as well.

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SATURDAY QUALIFYING | FINAL TEAM SCORES

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