Ryan Villopoto left no doubt who’s going to be the rider to beat in the MX2 class in tomorrow’s Red Bull MX of Nations. The Team USA/Kawasaki rider flat out crushed the competition in the MX2-class qualification race which just concluded, scoring a seemingly easy wire-to-wire victory. Villopoto grabbed the holeshot and opened up a big lead right away. By the halfway point of the 20-minute plus-two-lap race, Villopoto held a 40-second lead over MX2 World Champion Antonio Cairoli.
Cairoli came from behind after getting off to a sixth-place start, picking off riders such as France’s Nicolas Aubin, Great Britain’s Tommy Searle, Portugal’s Rui Goncalves and South Africa’s Gareth Swanepoel along the way. But by the time the Italian got into second, Villopoto was already long gone.
Unfortunately, the long-anticipated battle among Villopoto, Cairoli and Ben Townley will not happen this year.
Townley did not ride the MX2 qualifier. Earlier in the day, Townley injured his shoulder in practice, and then his teammate Daryl Hurley crashed and suffered a concussion in his Open-class practice session, putting him out for the weekend. With that in mind, Townley chose not to compete, thus officially putting Team New Zealand out of this year’s Motocross of Nations.
Each team’s two-best moto finishes are counted towards qualification.
Puerto Rico’s Tarah Gieger finished 29th.
MX2 Qualification Results Top 10
1. USA – Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Italy – Antonio Cairoli (Yam)
3. South Africa – Gareth Swanepoel (Kaw)
4. France – Nicolas Aubin (Yam)
5. Great Britain – Tommy Searle (KTM)
6. Australia – Andrew McFarlane (Suz)
7. Portugal – Rui Goncalves (KTM)
8. Canada – Colton Facciotto (Kaw)
9. Ireland – Martin Barr (Yam)
10. Spain – Carlos Campano (Yam)