So, was the Superfinal a success?
Yes and no. The race itself is very exciting due to the fact there is always something to watch with
two races in one. Herlings battling the top MX1 riders is also really entertaining and to see the best
of the best all in one race makes it an incredibly talented line up.
However the TV coverage of the MX2 riders needs to improve and the podium situation at the end
caused a lot of controversy.
Even though it was Clement Desalle who won the MX1 class overall it was Antonio Cairoli who stood
on the top step of the podium because he won the Superfinal. Jeffrey Herlings was the only MX2
rider to get on the podium as he joined the top three Superfinal finishers because he was the MX2
That meant second and third overall Dean Ferris and Romain Febvre were nowhere to be seen which
will not impress the team or sponsors at the lack of TV exposure for getting their first ever podiums.
It has to be said that both the overall podiums for the MX1 and MX2 class did take place after
the Superfinal podium but it is still something that caused confusion to teams and riders alike –
especially those viewers who only saw the Superfinal podium.
The problem seems to be instead of just celebrating the MX1 and MX2 class overalls based on
the Superfinal results, they are also trying to market the Superfinal as a one off main event. As a
consequence people are not really sure what the main focus is at the end of the race.
Youthstream are focusing on the Superfinal race results whereas the team and riders are focusing on
the overall individual class finishes and the fans are caught in the middle. Everyone needs to be on
the same page for it to work more smoothly in Thailand.
Once the teething problems are sorted out in the presentation and TV coverage there is definitely
potential for the format to be successful. Whether the teams would want it for every round instead
of just the four fly away races (as it is this year) is another question.
The decision to go to Qatar and have a night race to launch the season was very interesting and
overall successful – the track looked great under the lights and the images from the photographers
make the sport look really cool. It also brought exposure to a new audience and a new TV contract
with Al Jazzera is definitely proof that motocross is expanding worldwide.
All in all it was an exciting race weekend with plenty of surprise performances to wet the appetite
for the season.
Clement Desalle looks back to the form that he had in 2011 and with Gautier Paulin also looking
very good this season Cairoli will not have it all his own way.
In MX2 Herlings is doing what we thought but the riders behind him are raising their level this
season and it is making for unpredictable racing.
The teams now all head to Thailand for this weekend’s race and it’s another new country for the
series and new track to adapt too. With another Superfinal on the cards it will interesting to see if
the MX2 riders can get closer to the top five and if the podium confusion can be eradicated.
The track could be the key factor for the Superfinal idea to be a success. The MX2 class needs to be
more competitive with the MX1 class but Herlings believes that on a more suitable circuit he could
be top five or on top three.
After only one race it is hard to declare whether the idea will be a success or failure, but you can
certainly see the marketing aspect for TV ratings that Youthstream are trying to capture.
Time will tell if it works, but for now I am prepared to give it a chance because if it works it could
bring motocross to a much wider audience.
Article by Jonathan McCready