The 66th annual Motocross of Nations got underway in Lommel, Belgium with morning practice and afternoon qualifying sessions. The deep, sandy track proved to be rather difficult for the American trio of Ryan Dungey, Blake Baggett and Justin Barcia who came through with qualifying times that placed Team USA in seventh heading into Sunday’s race. The German team, including Ken Roczen, Max Nagl and Marcus Schiffer posted the top result, followed by Belgium in second and Italy in third.
In MX1 qualifying, Italian rider Tony Cairoli and Nagl went head to head early on, with Nagl taking the holeshot and leading the opening laps. Later Cairoli caught up to the German rider, but was slowed when he began to feel something strange with his KTM. He kept riding and eventually the issue resolved itself and Cairoli was able to pull away, finishing over nine seconds ahead of the German. Clement Desalle of the Belgian team took third, followed by France’s Gautier Paulin in fourth and Evgeny Bobryshev of Russia in fifth. Dungey held to sixth after a difficult day, coming across the finish as the session ended missing his goggles and covered in a full coat of dirt and sand.
Blake Baggett put forth America’s best effort in MX2, qualifying in third behind Roczen and Belgium’s Jeremy van Horebeek in first and second respectively. French rider Marvin Musquin qualified in fourth and was followed by Jake Nicholls of Great Britain in fifth.
Jeffrey Herlings was the top rider in the MX3 (Open) class during Saturday’s MXoN qualifying session in Lommel.
The MX3 (Open) class proved to be one of the most dramatic for Team USA, as Justin Barcia was disqualified for receiving “outside assistantce.” The Honda rider came out of the gates and earned the holeshot, trying to hold the lead in the face of heavy pressure from Jeffrey Herlings of the Netherlands. In the fight between the two riders for the lead, Barcia ran off track into a fence. An onlooker, Chuck Sun, who was part of the 1981 US team that won the first ever MXoN title for America, stepped in to help Barcia get turned around and back on track. Herlings went on to post the top time in the class, as well as come in as the fastest rider of the day through all three classes, followed by Belgium’s Ken de Dycker in second and Tanel Leok of Estonia in third.
Overall, the Germans go to Sunday’s races with three points, the Belgians have four and the Italians have six. Team USA amassed nine points and will have some ground to make up in the main events, but if they’re able to avoid the difficulties experienced during qualifying they have an opportunity to be competitive out front.
Team USA got off to a bumpy start at Lommel during qualifying, but they still have a chance to defend their MXoN title during Sunday’s races.
2012 MXoN MX1 Qualifying Results:
1. Tony Carioli, Italy (KTM) 25:24.630
2. Max Nagl, Germany (KTM) 25:34.119
3. Clement Desalle, Belgium (Suzuki) 25:55.290
4. Gautier Paulin, France (Kawasaki) 26:06.030
5. Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia (Honda) 26:10.512
6. Ryan Dungey, USA (KTM) 26:22.465
7. Marc de Reuver, Netherlands (Kawasaki) 26:29.873
8. Rui Goncalves, Portugal (Honda) 26:31.092
9. Joshua Coppins, New Zealand (Yamaha) 26:34.819
10. Tommy Searle, Great Britain (Kawasaki) 27:00.670
2012 MXoN MX2 Qualifying Results:
1. Ken Roczen, Germany (KTM) 24:24.394
2. Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium (KTM) 24:34.231
3. Blake Baggett, USA (Kawasaki) 24:44.451
4. Marvin Musquin, France (KTM) 25:02.392
5. Jake Nicholls, Great Britain (KTM) 25:08.546
6. Glenn Coldenhoff, Netherlands (KTM) 25:21.626
7. Alexander Tonkov, Russia (Honda) 25:22.831
8. Luke Styke, Australia (Yamaha) 25:30.093
9. Pritt Ratsep, Estonia (KTM) 25:32.609
10. Even Heibye, Norway (KTM) 25:41.822
2012 MXoN MX3 (Open) Qualifying Results:
1. Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands (KTM) 24:23.539
2. Ken de Dycker, Belgium (KTM) 24:25.563
3. Tanel Leok, Estonia (Suzuki) 24:52.400
4. Max Anstie, Great Britain (Honda) 25:09.897
5. Davide Guarneri, Italy (KTM) 25:35.424
6. Todd Waters, Australia (Suzuki) 25:47.437
7. Marcus Schiffer, Germany (Suzuki) 25:59.737
8. Valentin Guillod, Switzerland (KTM) 26:33.792
9. Luis Correis, Portugal (Yamaha) 26:34.704
10. Filip Bengtsson, Sweden (KTM) 24:30.108
2012 MXoN Points:
1. Germany, 3
2. Belgium, 4
3. Italy, 6
4. Netherlands, 7
5. France, 8
6. Great Britain, 9
7. USA, 9
8. Estonia, 12
9. Russia, 12
10. Australia, 14
11. Portugal, 17
12. Denmark, 23
13. Sweden, 25
14. Ireland, 25
15. Finland, 26