Red Bull KTM Factory riders Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings swept the first-ever FIM Motocross World Championship held in Mexico, in Guadalajara, May 13. Cairoli went 1-3 in the MX1 class, and Herlings went 1-1 in the MX2 division.
The GP got off to a rocky start on Saturday, as racers threatened to not to ride because of the dry and dusty conditions of the Nicolas Espana circuit, and most of the top racers did not race Saturday’s qualifying motos out of protest. But the promise of a better and wetter track for Sunday had everyone coming back and racing the next day.
Cairoli passed fast starters Clement Desalle (Suzuki) and Christophe Pourcel (Kawasaki) in the first moto before taking the win over Belgium’s Desalle and Ken de Dyker (KTM).
In the second moto, Cairoli fell early on and had to make his way back up from sixth. He eventually finished third behind Yamaha’s David Philippaerts and Desalle. Cairoli edged out Desalle by one point and was awarded the overall win.
Philippaerts joined Cairoli and Desalle on the podium with a 10-1. He and de Dyker (3-5) tied on points for the day, but the tie-breaker went to the former World champion Philippaerts for his higher placing in the second moto.
Estonia’s Tanel Leok (Suzuki) finished fifth overall, followed by France’s Xavier Boog (Kawasaki), Belgium’s Kevin Strijbos (KTM), Spain’s Jonathan Barragan (Honda), Portugal’s Rui Goncalves (Honda) and Pourcel.
Pourcel led the start of both MX1 motos but was slowed when he got fencing stuck in his wheel in the first moto and simply slipped to fourth in the second moto.
Cairoli has a comfortable lead in the MX1 Championship with 178 points to Desalle’s 149. Frenchman Gautier Paulin, who was unable to compete in the second moto after his bike wouldn’t start before the race, is third with 134.
Steven Frossard, third overall in the opening round in The Netherlands, reinjured his knee, leaving the rest of his season in doubt.
Herlings had little difficulties winning both MX2 motos. He finished out both motos well clear of Kawasaki rider Tommy Searle. Herlings had five seconds on Searle in the first moto and 24 seconds in the second moto.
Belgium’s Jeremy van Horebeek finished third both times out for third overall.
Jeffrey Herlings breezed to victory in the MX2 division.
Fourth overall went to Belgian Joel Roelants (Kawasaki), followed by Frenchman Christophe Charlier (Yamaha).
Jordi Tixier, Jake Nicholls, Max Anstie, Glenn Coldenhoff and Alessandro Lupino completed the top 10 overall.
American Michael Leib, who his filling in for the Monster Energy Yamaha team and who finished on the podium at the previous GP, was sidelined early in the first moto when he crashed into a fallen rider and injured his hand, dislocating two of his fingers.
Just four rounds into the GP, Herlings already enjoys a 40-point lead over van Horebeek, who is just one point ahead of Searle.