By John Basher
Day two is complete and I managed to live through the Italian GP. I’m satisfied in saying that I didn’t see any Giuseppe Luongo hired snipers hiding on the hills, although a good sniper is never spotted anyway. I’m glad that I escaped the lion’s den.
The day was full of incredible racing in both classes, and the results were rather surprising. Hometown favorite Antonio Cairoli failed to finish either moto, while Marvin Musquin was beaten soundly by Ken Roczen. The usual GP suspects were towards the front of the pack, but with this being the final race of the series there were a number of top riders out due to injury. Teenage sensation Jeffrey Herlings was scouring the pits, but an injured shoulder kept him off the bike.
Take a look at some of the photos that I took today from the race. It should be noted that the Italian fans are both passionate and vocal about motocross racing. The American fans have a long way to go in terms of showing excitement at a sporting event.
Make sure to read the Mid-Week Report on Wednesday, as I will provide my opinion on the oft-argued subject of which racing series has the fastest riders. There will also be in-depth interviews with Marvin Musquin, Jimmy Albertson, and more. For now, enjoy the photos.
Belgian rider Joel Roelants finished the same position that he did in the season point standings, in fifth, but he did it all in style. The Nestaan JM Racing KTM rider went 6-6 while battling with American riders Zach Osborne and Michael Leib.
When you’re in a foreign country, it’s nice to speak with someone who shares a common language (even if you’re competition). Michael Leib and Zach Osborne discuss their desire to eat cheeseburgers and drive big trucks on the freeway while preparing for the first moto of the MX2 class.
As the gate dropped on the first MX2 moto, Marvin Musquin (1) grabbed the holeshot ahead of Gautier Paulin (21), Michael Leib (170), Jeremy van Horebeek (89) and Ken Roczen (94). Roczen eventually made his way around the MX2 champion for the first moto victory.
Kawasaki Team CLS rider Jeremy Van Horebeek avoids the outside wall, as well as the Italian crowd, en route to a third place finish in the first moto. He wouldn’t fare so well in the second moto, as he failed to finish. Horebeek finished 12th on the day and ninth in the point standings. His season can be summed up in one word – inconsistency.
Zach Osborne had a so-so day in Italy. He has the talent to win the MX2, as he has shown before, but he couldn’t overcome mediocre starts. Osborne ended up sixth on the day and fourth in the point standings (one point ahead of Joel Roelants).
Anticipation built before the gate dropped in the first MX1 moto. Antonio Cairoli was the hometown hero, but his qualifying race and practice times weren’t spectacular. Still, the Italian faithful were pulling hard for him. As you can see from the photo, Cairoli is nowhere to be seen. He suffered a mid pack start and wound up injuring his ankle midway through the race. The bum ankle spelled the end to his day. The question now centers around whether the Italian will be completely healthy for the Motocross des Nations in two weeks.
The 450 class had the best racing today. Clement Desalle (25) opened up a marginal gap for about half of the moto, but then Sebastien Pourcel (90), Xavier Boog (121) and Steve Ramon (11) began applying pressure.
Alfie Smith, of Great Britain, takes a moment to relax as he’s descending the steep drop-off. Shortly after this section riders must slow down for a turning tabletop. Only the fastest brave the braking bumps and slow down at the last second.
Belgium’s Steve Ramon takes a look back to see where his competition is. When the dust settled from the first moto, Ramon won by two seconds over Xavier Boog.
Generally speaking, the European riders are kind to one another when passing. You could say that they are the opposite of, say, Justin Barcia. Steve Ramon (11) goes inside of Clement Desalle, but he didn’t slam the door. A lap later Ramon made the pass stick.
The crowd found several interesting spots to watch the racing unfold. This hill is much steeper than it looks.
Marc De Reuver’s specialty is sand. The closest sand to the track was on the Adriatic Sea, some 15 kilometers away. De Reuver went 12-14 on the day.
Immediately following the first turn is a long straight that goes directly towards the finish line tabletop (above). This is the way the field looked on the opening lap of the second MX2 moto.
Marvin Musquin (1) and Ken Roczen (94) went at it again in the second moto. Ken stalked the French rider down and made quick work of him. Today was Roczen’s day.
An overview of the Italian GP in Fermo.
Musquin crashed out of the second moto and bruised the underside of his left arm. He should be okay, but it wasn’t the way that Marvin wanted to leave the GP series.
Ken Roczen celebrates his third win of the season with a big whip over the finish line. Now that the season has concluded and the points are settled, Musquin ended up winning the title by 61 points.
As the second MX1 moto shot out of the gate, it must have been difficult for the 450 stars to keep from staring off into the Italian countryside. Although the thought of 39 other riders vying for position would certainly be a wake-up call. When the race was over it was Clement Desalle who took the win.