The new season of the FIM World Motocross Championship finally got to the start gate on Saturday night at Losail, Qatar. It’s the first time the MXGP has visited the region and of course the first time the riders had raced a World event under floodlights. Completing a trio of firsts we experienced the first Super Final.


MX2 riders were the first on the track and Herlings started his season picking up where he left off in 2012, winning the race by 25 seconds. This was perhaps made even more impressive considering the crash he had in Lommel just days before the MXGP.


Out of the first corner the Standing Construct KTM rider, Glenn Coldenhoff got the GET Athena holeshot with Rockstar BUD Racing Kawasaki’s Valentin Teillet in second, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Christophe Charlier in third and the Dutch teenager, Herlings was fourth.

Herlings quickly jumped passed Charlier to take third place and it wasn’t long before he was pushing past Teillet for second. He quickly got himself on the back wheel of race leader Coldenhoff and on lap three the Red Bull KTM Factory rider came inside Coldenhoff and took the lead.

Teillet continued to drop positions and the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe rider Max Anstie passed him to go fifth. That was as good as it got for the British rider – midway through the race he took a bad fall that clearly knocked the wind out of him. Anstie rejoined the race near the back and had to rely on LCQ to make the Super Final. Anstie rode well in LCQ finishing first in the MX2 class.

Monster Energy Yamaha’s British rider, Mel Pocock was back in eighth with the Belgium rider, Kevin Fors pushing him hard – a little too hard as he lost the front wheel in a corner causing him to lose a position to the Frenchman, Maxime Desprey. Mel Pocock finished Race 1 the best placed Brit in 9th.

Race 1, MX2:

1. Herlings
2. Coldenhoff
3. Charlier

British riders finished: Pocock (9th), EBB (12th), Nicholls (18th), and Anstie (29th)


Just minutes before the start of MXGP, KTM’s PR machine was in full swing – announcing Tony Cairoli’s contract extension. The Italian rider will now be at Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for a total of four years (including this season).

Cairoli didn’t get off to the best start and came around the first corner in thirteenth. Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Kevin Strijbos got the GET Athena holeshot and following him around the first corner, Evgeny Bobryshev (Honda World Motocross Team) grabbed second, and ICE1 Racing’s Rui Goncalves was in third. Top British rider, Tommy Searle (CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit) got out of the gate well and came through lap 1 in fifth.

Goncalves soon gets passed by Red Bull KTM’s Ken De Dycker for third and Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Clement Desalle has a great couple of corners – taking Searle and Goncalves to move up into forth.

It doesn’t take long for Cairoli to start showing his class – picking his way through the other riders and finding the rear wheel of Tommy Searle. Cairoli tries early and attempts the inside line but Searle kept the door shut. Cairoli then held his position and waited for the right time to make his move and when it came he made it look easy.

Within minutes the top riders had all changed race positions – on lap 7 De Dycker takes the lead from Strijbos in an almost identical move teammate Cairoli made on Searle.

Strijbos then makes a mistake – running wide and letting Bobryshev take second. Within a few corners Strijbos makes another error and leaves the door open for teammate Desalle to take third.

The Honda World Motocross rider Bobryshev had been running smooth but he made a mistake and Desalle didn’t waste any time taking the gift from the Russian, taking second.

Desalle made the best pass of the night – taking an unsuspecting De Dycker, going wide and then hitting the gas to take the lead. Cairoli took third from Bobryshev with just two laps to go and Evgeny continued to drop as Gautier Paulin took fourth before the chequered dropped.

Clement Desalle:

“It is a good feeling to start the season with the red plate but it doesn’t mean so much because the year is very long. I have always said that when I have fun on my bike, then the results go well and that’s really important. I didn’t make many mistakes today and my starts were much better than we saw in the pre-season races; that was a good point. I had some difficult moments last season and also coming back from some injuries, but I feel good on the bike now and wasn’t pushing too hard. I want to say a big thanks to my team because they made a big job in the last few weeks. It was tough to start the championship a month earlier than usual.”

Race 1, MX1:

1. Clement Desalle
2. Ken De Dycker
3. Tony Cairoli

Top finishing British riders: Searle (6th) and Simpson (8th)

Super Final

The winner of Race 1, Clement Desalle, continued his great form going into the controversial first Super Final of the season grabbing the holeshot from Cairoli and Bobryshev. Cairoli patiently waits until the race is several laps in before making a pass on Desalle for the lead – off course, he makes it stick.

Apart from that and Gautier Paulin taking third from Bobryshev – the race up front was relatively uneventful. Tommy Searle rode smooth and must have been satisfied coming fifth after a disrupted pre-season with no race time at all on his CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki machine.

The top six finishers were all MX1 leaving Red Bull KTM’s Herlings to finish the top MX2 rider with seventh place.

Crossing the line second in the MX2 class and thirteenth on the track was Monster Energy Yamaha’s Dean Ferris marking an outstanding debut and becoming the first Aussie since 2005 to walk the Box as runner-up.

The overseas events continue this week as the MXGP moves further east for round 2 in Thailand.

British riders Super Final: Shaun Simpson (17th), Jake Nicholls (19th), Max Anstie (25th), EBB (30th), Mel Pocock (31st) and Jason Dougan (38th)

FIM World Motocross Championship Rd 1 – Losail, Qatar

MX1 Standings:
1. Desalle, 47
2. Cairoli, 45
3. Paulin, 38
4. De Dycker, 36
5. Bobryshev, 34
6. Searle, 30
7. Strijbos, 30
8. Goncalves, 23
9. Frossard, 22
10. Simpson, 20

MX2 Standings:
1. Herlings, 50
2. Ferris, 38
3. Febvre, 38
4. Coldenhoff, 36
5. Charlier, 33
6. Tixier, 30
7. Butron, 26
8. Lupino, 25
9. Lieber, 24
10. Nicholls, 21