Honda World Motocross racer Max Nagl demonstrated a perfect start-to-finish performance today to take the qualifying race win for round seven of the MX1 World Championship in Beto Carrero, Brazil at his first attempt.
Following a change in his training programme, Nagl has slowly been coming back to form after the injury and sickness that has thwarted the early part of the season for the Honda racer. With this being an important event for Honda with heavy sponsorship from Honda Brazil, Nagl was keen to put on a strong performance for the many cheering fans in the stands, and he did not disappoint.
With a superb start from the gate, where he tussled for the lead into the first turn, Nagl grabbed first position for the opening lap of the 20-minute plus two-lap moto around the slippery Brazilian track. The Honda racer did find it a little uncomfortable in the opening stages, as he got to grips with leading a race again, but once he found a good speed and rhythm, he was able to control his advantage over Clement Desalle to take the race win and pole position for today’s Grand Prix, which will follow the Super Final format.
“It’s the first time here for me, but I really liked the look of it when I came here on Friday, as it’s like a stadium cross with a lot of jumping, said Nagl. “It’s a bit tight, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I also feel comfortable here in Brazil; we have good food, I have had no problem with anything, the hotel is comfortable and it’s a really nice place to be.
Speaking about the qualification Max said: “I had a good start in the race, and I could control the race from the front. It was difficult in the beginning, as it is a long time since I led a race and I was feeling quite alone, but I kept focused on the lap time on the pit board from Roger (Shenton), so I didn’t go too slow and I was feeling really good in the race.
“I’m happy I could win it, as it’s good for the team, myself and Honda after the long time we’ve had since a result. I know it’s just qualifying, but it’s still a win and I have a really good gate pick for tomorrow, where I hope we can do something similar, although a podium would be really nice. If it’s raining it will be tough, as the track is really slippery, because it’s quite hard underneath, but if it rains a lot then maybe it will become a bit softer and there will be more lines or ruts, which wouldn’t be so bad. I had a big mud race last weekend, so I’m also prepared if it’s like that.”
The Beto Carrero event welcomes Evgeny Bobryshev back to World Championship racing after missing three races due to a fractured fibula sustained in training just over one month ago. The 25-year-old Russian is still quite tentative and was struggling with arm-pump midway through the qualifying moto, although it was obvious he had begun to relax and found some confidence again to take 12th position. Bobryshev and Honda have set a goal to finish both motos today without incident and begin to build his speed to be able to fight for the front positions as seen earlier in the season.
“I’m really happy to be at this race, as I like the event and the track is good, although unfortunately it’s a lot tighter than last year,” said Bobryshev. “It is narrow and really difficult to pass or find the rhythm. In the opening two sessions we were testing different ways of taping my leg to find something comfortable, and with some pain relief the feeling wasn’t so bad. I only feel pain on the landings and in some of the corners, but in the right turns subconsciously my head is telling me to slow down and guarding the leg, so this is frustrating.
“I started to relax a little bit, but I had arm-pump from the lack of riding, so it’s difficult. I gained some confidence today, and tomorrow is another day, so we will see what happens.”
The weather has certainly been the main subject on everyone’s minds at this race, but so far only a light shower in the second half of the MX1 qualifying race has materialised, and although the forecast is for heavy rain today, the locals believe it should stay reasonably dry throughout the day.