What an exciting day! Honestly, words can’t explain how impressive the first day of the 2013 Motocross des Nations – the track is perfect, the crowd is nuts and the racing has been superb. What more do you want? If you’ve followed our countless live tweets (@motocrossvice) then you will know a little bit about what went on. But, we’ve put together a full look at the action so that you know everything – it’s as if you were here!
The Winners Word:
Brett Metcalfe: “It feels fantastic. Australia has never qualified first, this is the first time – it feels amazing. Our team results have been incredible. Realistically, we know it means nothing for tomorrow. I just want to represent Australia the best that I can. It’s fun to be here – the German fans are just crazy. We [the team] are not getting ahead of ourselves yet. I felt good [today], I got a good start and I just wanted to keep pushing. The track was quite dangerous for us [MX1] it was so muddy that you couldn’t really push.”
Ken Roczen: “Well, I felt pretty good going into the race. I think we picked twenty-eighth gate pick, I needed a good start and i got it. I started third, made the move and that was it. We’re changing things on the bike to get the balance better for tomorrow. I’m not really happy with my riding yet. I’m really happy with how both of them [my teammates] rode, Max will be better tomorrow, and I’m pleased with how Dennis rode. Overall, fourth place is going to be a good gate pick – it’s going to be good. I like it a lot [racing at home] the fans are crazy – I think tomorrow they’re going to support us even more.
Clement Desalle: “Yeah, I was feeling good all day. I know that I need a good start, it’s really difficult to pass on this track. I made a good start today, I took the holeshot and rode a perfect race. I know that tomorrow will be harder to have a good race. I think it’s good for Jeremy [van Horebeek] to finish in the top three, as he was unsure how he would be on the 250f – it’s all good things for tomorrow.
Pit Beirer (representing Husqvarna and KTM on the new 300c series): “It’s with great pleasure that we are here. There has always great request for two-strokes – I strongly believe a rider has to learn how to ride a two-stroke first, before he can progress through the rest of the career. It [the 300c series] is a way to keep the sport alive from the base.”
It has been announced today that there will be two Brazilian GPs in 2014, as well as one in Ukraine. Guiseppe Luongo is happy to take the series to these new locations, and out of the usual places.
We all knew that Australia would be strong. After all, they have an impressive lineup this year, with riders that have won across the world. However, no one expected Brett Metcalfe to beat Ryan Dungey straight up! Brett stole the lead early on, and ran away with it, basically. But Dungey was pushing him the whole way, at different points it looked like he was going to make a pass, as he pulled right onto the back wheel of the Australian. Ryan just couldn’t get it done, as mistakes meant that he continued to lose touch. However, the Red Bull KTM rider was the fastest guy on-track for much of the race – so expect him to be very strong in the main races.
When it was revealed that Great Britain would have fortieth gate pick, I thought that we were going to struggle – who wouldn’t with a gate pick like that? But, all of our riders pulled through, mainly Tommy Searle, as he finished third in the MX1 qualifier. Tommy started on the edge of the top five, but he pushed past some established names and settled down in third. Although Toni Cairoli pulled right onto his back wheel, Searle stayed strong, and actually pulled away from the world champion – impressive stuff. It was somewhat surprising to see Cairoli stuck in fourth, however most state that this track is tough to pass on. Ken de Dycker finished fifth, but he faded. How he will perform tomorrow remains to be seen, he now seems to be the weak link in the Belgian team.
I honestly cannot explain how amazing the atmopshere was when Ken Roczen ran away with the MX2 qualifying heat. However, he did not have things all his own way, as Dean Ferris pushed him early on. Although Dean topped the morning practice session, I don’t think that anyone expected this from him. I mean – he pushed former world champion Ken Roczen! Eventually he dropped back a little bit, but that may have been because he was settling for a great position, which secured Australia pole position? If you read our practice report, you will know that Jeremy van Horebeek looked fast early on; he carried that form into the MX2 qualifier, as he secured third. Jeremy had to make his way around some very fast competition, including Eli Tomac. So, things are looking good for the Belgians.
Honestly, I expected Eli Tomac to push through the field a little faster than he did. Why? Well, he spent way too much time with Jake Nicholls and Jose Butron – he should get around those guys quickly! Although I’m certain he has now learnt his lesson, it shows that his starts could be the biggest problem for the whole American team. Jake Nicholls finished fifth in a great ride, as he too got a great start from the very outside, astonishingly. Hopefully he can carry that form into the main races.
I was quite looking forward to the Clement Desalle and Justin Barcia battle in the Open qualifier – the stage was set when they both got out front early on. However, it never materialised – Desalle was just too strong! Surprisingly, Clement ended up with a thirteen second lead – all Justin could do was watch him ride off into the sunset. Clement did have an issue towards the end – he landed awkwardly off a jump and tweaked his foot peg it seemed. Although he did slow up briefly, he quickly regained composure and continued to push. Tanel Leok is always strong at the MXdN – he thrives with the pressure of representing team Estonia, so it isn’t too surprising to see that he progressed through the field to finish third.
I was slightly skeptical about how Todd Waters would perform, as his performance in practice was lacklustre. However, he came out swinging when it was time to do business, as he held third for a long time before dropping to fourth towards the end. I was unsure where Dennis Ullrich would finish up, as well, as he seemed to struggle. But, he was actually pushing Barcia early on. He did seem to fade as the race progressed, which is worrying, as the races tomorrow are twice as long. In the end, he ended up as sixth, as Shaun Simpson pushed through to steal fifth in the closing stages.
Final Team Qualifying Results:
1st Australia – 3 points
2nd USA – 4 points
3rd Belgium – 4 points
4th Germany – 7 points
5th Great Britain – 8 points
6th Italy – 12 points
7th France – 13 points
8th Russia – 17 points
9th Estonia – 18 points
10th Spain – 20 points