U.S. GP Kicks Off with Qualifying Races
World Motocross riders got their first taste of the Glen Helen U.S. GP course today, where long laps and big air awaited. Like last year, the track is fast and jumpy with lap-times nearing three minutes, but riders lucked out with the weather this year. Cool temperatures in the low 70s and overcast skies left the soft, sandy terrain moist throughout the day, meaning lots of ruts for MXGP riders.
Clement DeSalle and Ken Roczen topped the qualifying races today, and will have first gate picks in tomorrow’s MX1 and MX2 races, respectively. Roczen led the way to an all-KTM podium in the qualifier race with Jeffrey Herlings and Marvin Musquin following suit. The Glen Helen GP marks Musquin’s first race since being sidelined with a torn ACL last fall. The defending MX2 champion will be racing the AMA Motocross Nationals this year, but is racing the U.S.GP as a warm-up for the season.
Russian phenom Evgeny Bobryshev wowed everyone by controlling the first several laps of the MX1 qualifier, but the Honda rider soon yielded to the factory Suzuki of Desalle, who ran away with the qualifier win. Max Nagl also got around Bobryshev to finish second, while the Russian held on for third. Antonio Cairoli had his work cut out for him after crashing on the first lap. The Italian KTM rider worked his way through the pack, coming from 13th to sixth in the 20-minute plus two-lap moto.
Despite the generous $100,000 purse up for grabs, it was a disappointing turnout for American riders at Glen Helen today. KTM’s Mike Alessi momentarily second-guessed his decision to sit out the GP after his Las Vegas crash. But as soon as it was rumored that he was going to show up, Alessi was reportedly out again. The top-qualifying American in the MX1 class is Weston Peick in a distant 19th place. Other US contenders in the premier class are Sean Borkenhagen, Mike Sleeter, Dennis Stapleton and Christian Craig.
In the MX2 division, Travis Baker got into the top 10, and the Troy Lee Designs Honda rider is the top-American qualifier with a ninth-place finish today. Scott Champion and Zach Osborne were also inside the top-20. Osborne is hoping to once again take home the Marty Moates Cup and a check for $5000 like he did last year as the top American at the U.S.GP.