The final leg of the FIM Motocross World Championship will start off with the Belgian GP in Lommel this weekend, when the action will restart after a three week break.
Cairoli leads the MX1 series with a handful of rivals, including Nagl and Philippaerts, ready to snatch the Italian’s leadership. Though Cairoli looks safe for Lommel as he holds a 53 points advantage over runner up Nagl, who won the latest GP in Sweden.
Musquin sits on top of the MX2 standings with a thin 13 point advantage over Paulin while Swedish GP winner Goncalves rounds off the top three.
Lommel will also put an end to the FIM Veterans World Cup where Nilsson holds the red plate with a strong lead.
The days preceding the Belgian Grand Prix will host also the MX Rookie, the Motocross competition dedicated to amateur riders which was successfully started last year in Lommel.
Yamaha Red Bull De Carli’s Cairoli stands on top of the MX1 points standings and is ready to begin the final stage of this hard fought Championship beginning this weekend in Lommel. Cairoli missed last year’s Belgian GP and the remainder of his last MX2 season due to a knee injury he picked up in South Africa, though he has a good feeling with the track where he and several other riders normally practice during the year.
Runner up in the Championship Nagl will try and close the gap from Cairoli as he will be back to action after his second season GP win in Uddevalla. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing representative rounded off last year’s Belgian podium after he took a strong second place in the final moto.
KTM Silver Action’s Barragan, who won the Belgian GP at Lommel in 2008, will be back this weekend after an injury kept him away from the Championship since France, stopping all his Title ambitions. Other riders in the comeback list should be Melotte, Bonini, Krestinov –who won his first and only MX2 Grand Prix here in 2008- Strijbos and Ramon.
Philippaerts sits in third in the Championship and needs a strong season’s finale to get closer to Italian countryman Cairoli and keep his Title hopes alive. Philippaerts had a troubled Belgian GP in 2008 but he needs no mistakes now, being 65 points adrift in the standings.
Racing at home may give LS Motors Honda’s Desalle a further confidence boost, with the youngster holding fourth in the Championship right ahead of experienced Coppins.
De Dycker is another home rider looking for a strong result in Lommel. The Teka Suzuki WMX1 man is sixth in the Championship and he is willing to start off a podium row after ending third overall in Sweden.
Last year’s Lovemytime MX1 Pole Position Award winner De Reuver is still injured but plans a comeback for his home GP at Lierop on the August 30 weekend. The Dutch sand master also won the opening moto of last year’s Belgian GP.
2008 MX1 PODIUM:
1. Jonathan Barragan
2. Ken de Dycker
3. Max Nagl
2008 MX1 POLEMAN: Marc de Reuver
By missing the Swedish GP Musquin, who did not race due to issues related to his recent switch of manufacturer, saw his two main rivals come closer courtesy of solid outings in Uddevalla.
Red Bull KTM factory Racing’s Goncalves won his fourth GP of the season to chip away at the gap from Musquin as the Portuguese is third in the points standings; Goncalves, who is based in Belgium, was second on the podium last year, finishing tied in points with eventual winner Krestinov. Runner up in the Championship Paulin was also on the Swedish podium; being third overall and just 13 points behind Musquin, the Bud Racing Kawasaki PSM rider has a solid chance to take back the red plate which he held from round one until round five.
Musquin is due to comeback at Lommel onboard the factory Red Bull KTM machine to defend his lead and consolidate his chances to win the first ever World Title, a goal which is shared by the trio sitting on top of the standings.
Yamaha Monster Energy Ricci Motocross’ Guarneri is fourth at a safe distance from fifth placed Frossard of CLS. Roczen, who just won his first ever moto in Sweden –another great achievement for the 15 year old debutant who already won his first GP in Teutschenthal- is sixth in the Championship but the Teka Suzuki Europe World MX2 sensation is expected to break into the top five by the end of the series.
With the Belgian GP being the home event for two of the three riders of the KTM Factory Junior Team MX2, Roelants and Spanish GP winner Van Horebeek, the duo is expected to perform strong in Lommel as both are the highest placed home riders in MX2 being respectively 10th and 11th in the Championship. Last year Van Horebeek took fifth overall in Lommel ahead of Roelants at his rookie season in the Championship.
2008 MX2 PODIUM:
1. Gert Krestinov
2. Rui Goncalves
3. Tommy Searle
Coming back to action after the penultimate round of the FIM Veterans’ World Cup in Latvia, current leader Nilsson will try and wrap up his first ever World Cup victory. The Swedish is pumped after Kegums’ dominant performance –he won both heats as Iven missed the event due to injury- and has a solid chance of winning the series this weekend: runner up Iven will miss this round as well while third placed Lhertiteau is 48 points away.
With Nilsson set to secure the eventual World Cup victory, Frenchman Lhertiteau aims at moving up to second but a close Hendrickx will give chase as the Dutchman has also a chance to take second in the World Cup.
Home rider Blancquaert now rounds off the top five ahead of Krestinov, though the Belgian was second on last year’s podium.