MX Vice Predictions: Motocross des Nations

We are continuing to build the hype here at MX Vice, as the Motocross des Nations – the best event of the season – is just days away! With that in mind we thought that we would put some predictions together! Who do you think will win? Just let us know in the comments below – here are our thoughts.

Lewis Phillips:

Final Team Classification:
1st USA
2nd Belgium
3rd Germany
4th Australia
5th Great Britain

Individual MX1 Winner: Antonio Cairoli
Individual MX2 Winner
: Ken Roczen
Individual Open Winner
: Justin Barcia

Honestly, team USA is the favourite going in, and they are probably going to go home victorious. I do not think that anyone can argue against this, as they are the strongest on paper, and they will be out for revenge after a defeat in the deep sands of Lommel last year. Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac, and Justin Barcia are a very strong team. I would go as far to say that they might be unbeatable. Thankfully, the USA does not have Ryan Villopoto on their squad, which means that there is a slight chance they can be beaten. But, Justin Barcia is certainly no slouch. In fact, he was the strongest American at Lommel in 2012, so he is more than worthy of filling a spot on the team. I believe that Justin will win the overall in the Open category, as he is certainly the strongest rider in that class.

However, Clement Desalle could quite easily beat Justin Barcia in the individual classification. In fact, his team is probably the only squad with a realistic shot at beating team USA overall. I do not believe that it would be too shocking to see them on the top step of the podium, but you could certainly call it an upset if they do pull it off.  Ken de Dycker (MX1), and Jeremy van Horebeek (MX2) are obviously very fast, but can they beat Dungey and Tomac? It would take a miracle really, which is why they are a bit of a long shot. If something happens to team USA, Belgium will be ready to take advantage, you can be sure of that.

Although the top two seems obvious, the battle for third place is wide open. Germany has a bit of an advantage, as the home crowd will be spurring them on. However I do believe that they are going to struggle without Marcus Schiffer, as Dennis Ullrich isn’t on the same level. In my opinion, Dennis is a bit of a supercross specialist. So, I’m unsure how he will fare individually, this weekend. The German MX1 rider, Max Nagl, isn’t as strong this year either – he could struggle. But they have a strong rider in the form of Ken Roczen. Roczen should win the individual MX2 overall victory, and he will be right at the front of the pack in the mixed races. So, I think Germany could land on the podium in third.

It seems as though I am one of the only people that believe in team Australia, and I am still standing by that! Brett Metcalfe (MX1), Dean Ferris (MX2) and Todd Waters (Open) is a great squad – I would say that is a stronger line-up than team GB has! I think that they will finish in the top five – if they do not, they will probably be sixth. I would not be surprised in the slightest if they are on the podium at the end of the day, to be honest.

Great Britain has to climb onto the podium soon, and Teutschenthal should suit them quite well. I do believe that Tommy Searle (MX1) will do better than he has done in recent years – he now has a full year on the 450, which will surely help him out. Jake Nicholls (MX2) and Shaun Simpson (Open) have been quite inconsistent this year, but the MXdN always brings out the best in the riders. So, they will hopefully perform as well as we know they can. If they do, I think we could have a shot at landing on the podium. But, it is more likely that we will end up in our usual position of fourth or fifth.

Italy could end up in the top five, or even on the podium. However, I foresee them coming up just short. However, I do believe Antonio Cairoli will win the individual MX1 overall, which will obviously help them in the team classification. David Philippaerts is the weakest link on the team. But, he is still quite fast on his day. So, the Italians are another nation that are vying for that third spot.

Jonathan McCready:

Final Team Classification:
1st USA
2nd Belgium
3rd Great Britain
4th France
5th Italy

Individual MX1 Winner: Antonio Cairoli
Individual MX2 Winner: Ken Roczen
Individual Open Winner: Justin Barcia

It is hard to look past the USA for victory. They have the biggest rider pool in the world and can always produce world-class riders. This year is no exception and even with Ryan Villopoto out the team is really strong.

A lot of course depends on Eli Tomac. The MX2 rider can be the most important finisher when the scores are being totalled and their starts are critical. Tomac’s starts aren’t always good and it is his first year at the race. But, his speed in the USA is unbelievable, and if he can show some of that in Germany it could well be the USA back on top.

Team USA may not even win individually, but their depth and self confidence is what makes them so hard to beat that they should still win the overall. I am backing Tomac to bring his A game and see the USA just beat Belgium.

But Belgium have the riders to stop them and, if they all ride to their potential, they can win.  Desalle can beat Barcia and De Dycker (if he shows the speed he is capable of) can give anyone in the world a run for their money including Dungey. De Dycker can also play it rough and that might just unnerve the precise Dungey.

Jeremy Van Horebeek has the biggest task in beating Tomac. Good starts for JVH are an absolute must if he is to compete with the American and if he gets away he may just have the stuff to give Tomac a couple of awkward moments. But I think a bad start could see Van Horebeek battling with Coldenhoff, Tixier, Nicholls, Tonkov, Lupino and those guys (plus the 450s) getting in between him and Tomac could cost Belgium the win.

Unfortunately for Belgium I think they may just come up short but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they sneak the win either if their starts are better than the Americans.

Third place is almost impossible to predict.  France, Italy, GB, Australia and Germany are all capable of a podium and could even challenge the top two.

Italy have shot and if Lupino and Philippaerts can bring their best form – as they usually do at the nations, then Cairoli could well lead them to the podium. Italy always have bad luck though, and it is hard to see them avoiding it again this year – even if it isn’t their fault!

Roczen will be looking to put on a special performance and you can beat he wants to beat Tomac badly now that he is racing Eli on home turf. Roczen could even battle for a moto win against the 450 but I don’t think his supporting cast will be as strong as last year. A top five/six may be the limit for Germany unless Nagl suddenly finds last season’s form and Ullrich, who is talented, rides the race of his life.

France has been written off because Charlier is on the 450 and not Musquin but I believe he could be the surprise of weekend. He has won two motos in MX2 and is a big guy for the 250f. On a 450 we could see an even faster Charlier. Paulin is fast and could win individually and Tixier was second in the world this year and could do something special if he gets a start.  France are my outside bet for a win if USA and Belgium falter and the French ride like they can, but mentally, the French can be weak and the lack of experience, not their raw speed, may cost them.

As a result I think the battle for the podium could come down to GB and France.  GB have more MXDN experience between the three riders but their championship results this year aren’t as impressive as the French. However, Shaun Simpson is in the form of his life, Tommy Searle is always fast at Teutschenthal and Jake Nicholls on his day can beat Tixier  –  it could just come down to one last battle between Nicholls and Tixier for the podium!

My heart says GB, and my head says France – but I am going to listen to my heart and put GB in third!

Words by Lewis Phillips and Jonathan McCready

MX Vice Editor || 25

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