What went down during MXoN Qualifying at Ernée in France?
Taking us right back to the unforgettable FIM Motocross of Nations that took place at this exact track in 2005, New Zealand’s Ben Townley burst out of the gate for the holeshot ahead of Sweden’s Fillip Bengtsson and Team Belgium’s Ken De Dycker.
Team France’s Gautier Paulin started around fourth and had the fans in frenzy almost immediately when he set a lap time 1.2 seconds faster than anyone else out on track on lap 4. Despite his blistering fast pace, it took the Frenchman a few laps to get around De Dycker but eventually he got the job done.
The flying number 1 of Paulin then pulled the pin and hunted down Townley for the lead, which he easily took with lappers getting in the way of BT. Paulin checked out to win by 11 seconds over Townley.
Team Great Britain had luck on their side during balloting this morning when they drew #1 for first pick at the gate (for the first time since 1994) but Shaun Simpson didn’t see any of it when he was robbed of third after being landed on by a back marker on the final lap. Meanwhile Team USA’s Justin Barcia took advantage of Simpson’s misfortune after passing a fast fading De Dycker and finished third.
Team Germany’s Max Nagl had a spill on the second lap but was quick to regroup and bought it home for fourth while De Dycker managed to hold on for fifth.
MXGP Qualifying Heat top ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), 24:12.728; 2. Ben Townley (NZL, Honda), +0:11.703; 3. Justin Barcia (USA, Yamaha), +0:15.272; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:18.237; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:30.278; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:39.429; 7. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:50.594; 8. Filip Bengtsson (SWE, Honda), +0:53.112; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:02.719; 10. Priit Ratsep (EST, Honda), +1:04.952
With Gautier Paulin getting Team France off to the best start they could hope for, it was down to Marvin Musquin to keep the ball rolling. Musquin didn’t let the team down; he pulled the holeshot and checked out for a easy race win ahead of Team USA’s Jeremy Martin who rode to a lonely and unchallenged second.
Team Great Britain’s mixed fortunes continued when Max Anstie made a mistake coming out of the 180 before the downhill triple, stalled the bike and was landed on while trying to bump start it.
So gutted for @maxanstie and @shaunsimpson24 lucky shaun will be ok to race tomorrow but unfortunately not max. Sometimes I don’t know why we always have a bad streak of luck on team gb. I have struggled all day on set up and my riding but made some big changes and looking for a lot more out myself for tomorrow. Thank you all #teamGB fans for sticking by us I know how disappointing it is for everybody but we will give it our very best tomorrow…. @ktmusa @redbull @ansrmx @alpinestars @ride100percent @atlasbrace @toyotaescondido @ethika @shoeihelmetsusa @iamspecialized @coanent @teactionsports @maniacwrench
Meanwhile Team Austria’s Pascal Rauchenecker was the lethal dark horse in MX2 as he rode in third place for the majority of the race before Team Switzerland’s Jeremy Seewer found some extra drive and out dragged him for the spot. Seewer pulled a reasonable gap while Rauchenecker was forced to hold off the hard charging Belgian Julien Lieber, who eventually rounded out the top five.
MX2 Qualifying Heat top ten: 1. Marvin Musquin (FRA, KTM), 24:03.050; 2. Jeremy Martin (USA, Yamaha), +0:04.798; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:59.410; 4. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT, KTM), +1:08.214; 5. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +1:10.541; 6. Jorge Zaragoza (ESP, Honda), +1:11.143; 7. Harri Kullas (EST, Husqvarna), +1:12.702; 8. Nick Kouwenberg (NED, Honda), +1:21.290; 9. Toshiki Tomita (JPN, Honda), +1:26.685; 10. Henry Jacobi (GER, KTM), +1:27.690
Team USA’s young gun Cooper Webb pulled a mega holeshot with Team Australia’s Dean Ferris, Team Slovenia’s MX2 World Champion Tim Gajser and Team France’s MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre in tow.
Gajser passed Ferris one lap in but threw it away half a lap later when he got cross-rutted on one of the steep down hills and crashed. Then it was Febvre who made light work of the Australian who later curbed a rut in the latter stages of the race and binned it too.
With Webb and Febvre out front, the Open class was clearly a two horse race as the duo held nothing back in their battle for the lead. After bashing bars for half of the race, which had the massively enthusiastic French fans going ballistic, a small mistake from Webb saw Febvre make the pass and gap it to make it a perfect day for the defending champions.
A super-smooth Webb took a convincing second while Team Belgium’s Jeremy Van Horebeek and Team The Netherlands Glenn Coldenhoff bickered the entire moto and finished third and fourth in that order.
Team Great Britain’s Dean Wilson was slightly deflated by the bad luck his team-mates Shaun Simpson and Max Anstie faced, but soldiered on to round out the top five.
OPEN Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 23:57.211; 2. Cooper Webb (USA, Yamaha), +0:04.255; 3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:37.415; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:40.987; 5. Dean Wilson (GBR, KTM), +0:41.580; 6. Dennis Ullrich (GER, Suzuki), +0:48.674; 7. Dean Ferris (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:05.787; 8. Cody Cooper (NZL, Honda), +1:13.566; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), +1:15.185; 10. Günter Schmidinger (AUT, Honda), +1:33.317
Team France will be on pole after winning all three Qualifying races today. Team USA are the clear cut runners up while Team Belgium round out the top three. Solid performances by the Germans put them in fourth followed by Team New Zealand in fifth.