Combined with this coming weekend’s Hawkstone International, Sunday’s races at Mantova in Italy and Valence in France are seen as the best indicators of early-season form and there’s very little in the way of surprises for MX pundits to peruse…

The Italian Starcross sees victory going to world MX1 champ Antonio Cairoli whose 1-2-2 card beats the 2-1-3 results posted by his Red Bull KTM team-mate Jeffrey Herlings. The final race win is snapped up by 2010 British champ Evgeny Bobryshev to go with his earlier 3-4 moto finishes while David Philippaerts also shows well with a 4-3-4 card.

Up into France and it’s all about two men – Clement Desalle and Arnaud Tonus – who dominate the MX1 and MX2 divisions.


After seeing his title ambitions scuppered in 2011 with a shoulder injury the MX Panda wins both his motos plus the super final to show the motocross world that he’s bounced straight back to form.

“I just did my races at my own rhythm and didn’t look so much to my rivals,” explains Clement on the podium, “but I had a good feeling with my Suzuki and with the track. I was back on my bike late in December and it was great to be again riding after four long months at home. I’m happy with this win but I know that there’s still a long way before the first GP.”

The Belgian takes the overall from the French pairing of Gautier Paulin and Steven Frossard. Shaun Simpson comes home ninth with a 12-10-9 card.

Swiss star Tonus, the reigning British MX2 champ, wastes little time in hitting the front in both MX2 motos after overhauling Valentin Teillet who nails a pair of holeshots. The Bike It Cosworth Monster Energy Yamaha rider also comes home top 250F pilot with sixth in the mixed capacity final race. Teillet ends the day second ahead of British hero Jake Nicholls and a special mention has to go out to world enduro champ Antoine Meo who cards two top 10 finishes on a 125cc stroker.