Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX1 defending Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli took victory at yesterday’s United States Grand Prix by winning moto one and taking third in moto two, a memorable event in the series first visit Stateside in 11 years.
What the fans will remember is surely the Italian’s performance in heat one, when he was leading until he broke the gear lever of his KTM 350 SX-F. American AMA contender Mike Alessi took the chance to move past and get the lead, but a gusty Cairoli made it back to first and took victory despite his bike being stuck in third gear.
Jägermeister Factory KTM’s Alessi, also onboard the KTM 350, was second overall. After taking second in moto one, the Californian battled it out with Cairoli for third but eventually dropped down to fourth after the two passed each other several times.
Clement Desalle of Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1 made his comeback to the podium courtesy of third overall. The Belgian was fifth in moto one but made up for that in moto two where he took a solid second place behind moto winner and former MX2 World Champion Ben Townley. Earlier in moto one the New Zealander crashed twice and pulled out, having to settle for eighth overall.
“It was awesome and a great feeling to win,” Townley said of his moto two victory. “It doesn’t matter what race it was but to beat the best people in the world – whether in America or Europe – is the goal I was aiming for.
“I am not anywhere near how could I can be and when that point arrives then it will be pretty cool. I felt like I had some of the old magic back a little bit after the qualification race yesterday and it came together today. Following Mike and Tony was not hard for me, so speed-wise I don’t have a problem.”
Kawasaki Racing’s Xavier Boog was fourth overall as he put together a sixth and a fifth place finish in the moto’s. Other Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1 rider Steve Ramon completed the top five.
After a third place in moto one, KTM’s Max Nagl crashed in moto two and did not score points. The runner-up in the championship has now a gap of 41 points from leader Cairoli.
Monster Yamaha’s Davide Philippaerts struggled with the track to take only a 15th place overall and drop down to fourth in the championship while Desalle is now in third.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX2’s Marvin Musquin was his solid self in the United States where he took two moto wins and the overall victory in the MX2 class on his 250 SX-F.
The Frenchman took two good starts and led the races from the opening lap already, opening up an initial gap then racing on his own until the chequered flag.
Taking his first podium of the season was home rider Zach Osborne of Bike It Cosworth Yamaha UK. The American could not go catch Musquin for first as he had to get rid of Shaun Simpson in both heats. The duo fought tooth and nail in heat one, with Osborne taking fourth eventually, and in heat two when Osborne took his best heat result of the season courtesy of a second place.
Kawasaki CLS’ Steven Frossard made it to third on the podium despite a tough qualifying heat yesterday, when he crashed and injured his right thumb. The French raced a superb heat one, taking an eventual second before in moto two he was fourth. Frossard is now third in the championship which is a confidence booster ahead of his home GP next weekend.
Teka Suzuki Europe World MX2’s Ken Roczen was a bitter fourth overall. The German recovered to third in heat one after he was involved in a tangle but went down in the final moto due to another tangle – eventually he was fifth.
Other Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX2 man Simpson rounded off the top five while teammate Jeffrey Herlings was 14th overall after crashing in both heats.
Despite taking third in yesterday’s qualifying, American wildcard Max Anstie struggled and crashed on race day, finishing 17th overall.
With the Grand Prix of USA marking the event’s comeback to the country after an 11-year absence, Osborne of Bike It Cosworth Yamaha UK was awarded with the special Marty Moates Cup.
Taking second in the MX2 class and going 4-2 in the heats, Osborne was the best placed American in the overall classification of both the MX1 and MX2 classes as the trophy pays tribute to Moates, the first American to win a USA Grand Prix back in 1980.
The Marty Moates Cup is a special trophy reserved to American riders, all looking at Moates as one of their models when it comes to racing because Moates was the first American to win a home GP at Carlsbad in 1980. Six years later, again at Carlsbad, Ricky Johnson became the last American to win a home Grand Prix.
The latter was directly involved in the Marty Moates Cup project alongside Glen Helen Raceway and its president Bud Feldkamp, former GP winner Brad Lackey, veteran rider Dough Dubach, MX Files producer Todd Hoffman and Resmarket president Scott Cox.
American Doug Dubach was the first one to break Mats Nilsson’s dominance of this 2010 FIM Veterans’ World Cup as he went on to take victory in both heats at Glen Helen Raceway. Dubach topped the podium from former GP winner Darryl King of New Zealand, who went 2-2 in the heats. Nilsson was third overall to maintain the series lead, while Kurt Nicoll and Ty Davis completed the top five.
The seventh round of the MX1 and MX2 World Championships will be held at St. Jean D’Angely in France on 6 June.