The last couple of GP races have uncovered in an interesting dynamic in the MX1 class.
After clean racing for most of the year, the younger riders who have dared to challenge the established stars have recently found themselves getting put on the ground.
First up was Gautier Paulin, who after beating Cairoli straight up in Maggoira clearly angered the Italian who promptly took Paulin’s front wheel out in the first turn in Latvia. Cairoli saw the threat and attacked, leaving Paulin on the ground.
Interestingly Paulin hasn’t threatened Cairoli at all since winning the Italian GP and has lost 48 points to the defending champion. Cairoli has dealt with the threat as Paulin mentally hasn’t been strong enough to continue the challenge.
Next up for Cairoli was Desalle. The Belgian Suzuki rider lead Cairoli for 30 minutes in the first moto in Finland and frustrated the Italian who just could not find a way through. Then, with five minutes to go, Cairoli pounced and went for Desalle’s front wheel making a hard block pass on the Belgian before putting the hammer down and taking the win. Desalle seemed fine with the pass, didn’t fight back and Cairoli had put another challenger down.
Desalle though found a new guy to bully, the ever improving Tommy Searle. Recently Searle has been on the gas and has found that 250 aggression on the 450 that is making him quite a threat to the top three. The riders are clearly starting to see Searle as a threat to their established hierarchy and when Desalle saw Searle catch him for the second week in a row he wasn’t happy. After a failed attempt at putting Searle down the first time he succeeded with a hard pass knocking Tommy to the floor hard.
If Desalle was going to play hard ball with anyone it should have been Cairoli, but it wasn’t, he choose the rookie. And that shows just shows the current mentality of the established MX1 riders. They appear to accept Cairoli is going to win or at least to have ran out of ideas on how to beat him – but they won’t accept a rookie trying to beat them! Desalle needs to concentrate on getting back on terms with Cairoli and not fighting Searle. If he took the same attitude with Cairoli in moto one as he did with Searle in moto two he might have won the race!
Searle won’t be happy but deep down he knows he has found his groove on the 450 and the other riders are scared of what he could do with a good start. Searle appears to be also the only guy who is mentally strong enough to challenge Cairoli on a regular basis. The Brit won’t back down or be mentally defeated like Desalle and Paulin.
Searle is coming, the rest know it and they don’t like it. Cairoli has dealt with Desalle and Paulin but once Searle gets his first win he won’t be as easy to shake because for the first time in a long time Cairoli will have a rival with the determination, unshakeable self –confidence and fight that he has.
Rivalries are what sport needs, Cairoli has quashed Desalle and Paulin but Tommy Searle is ready is ready and Cairoli is waiting – bring it on!
Article and picture by Jonathan McCready