The opening day of the Red Bull FIM MXoN in Franciacorta, Italy, saw the home team come out on top and take the first spot at the end of the qualifying. France took second ahead of Belgium, while Great Britain and Australia rounded off the top five.
Defending champion USA (Jake Weimer, Ryan Dungey, Ivan Tedesco) was sixth.
Italians Antonio Cairoli (MX1), David Philippaerts (Open) and Frenchman Marvin Musquin (MX2) won the qualifying heats.
A strong start of Great Britain's Billy Mackenzie saw the Brit lead the opening part of the MX1 qualifying heat in dominant style. But Mackenzie went down and dropped his pace with Chad Reed, Clement Desalle, Cairoli and Josh Coppins giving chase for the top spot.
MX1 World Champion CaiMarvin Musquinroli then took Italy to the lead after he had worked his way up from the bottom of the top 10, setting the crowd on fire at every move. Before grabbing the number-one spot, the Italian moved past Desalle, who tried to fight back. The Belgian ended an eventual second but showed to be in top form for tomorrow.
Reed, who is representing Australia, finished third ahead of New Zealander Coppins and American Ryan Dungey.
Mackenzie was 13th eventually.
MX1 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, Yamaha), 25:00.050; ; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Honda), +0:03.418; 3. Chad Reed (AUS, Suzuki), +0:15.478; 4. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha), +0:27.514; 5. Ryan Dungey (USA, Suzuki), +0:31.680; 6. Gareth Swanepoel (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:34.569; 7. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:48.743; 8. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, KTM), +0:51.750; 9. Julien Bill (SUI, Aprilia), +0:51.837; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Yamaha), +0:55.445;
France absolutely dominated the MX2 qualifying with MX2 World Champion Musquin taking a fast start and leading the whole heat. Musquin made it to victory first time out at Franciacorta.
Working his way up after the start was Great Britain's Tommy Searle who sealed the runner-up spot at the end of a hard-fought moto.
Joel Roelants dropped down to third after he and Rui Goncalves started the moto in second and third behind Musquin. The Portuguese, Goncalves, took sixth.
Australia's Brett Metcalfe was fourth with former MX2 World Champ Tyla Rattray rounding off the top five.
Fifteen-year-olds Jerry Herlings (Netherlands) and Ken Roczen (Germany) were seventh and ninth, respectively, with American Jake Weimer sandwiched in between the two.
MX2 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Marvin Musquin (FRA, KTM), 25:16.123; ; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM), +0:08.405; 3. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), +0:12.384; 4. Brett Metcalfe (AUS, Honda), +0:19.868; 5. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:25.438; 6. Rui Goncalves (POR, KTM), +0:26.185; 7. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:27.911; 8. Jake Weimer (USA, Kawasaki), +0:31.013; 9. Ken Roczen (GER, Suzuki), +0:40.551; 10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, Yamaha), +0:50.359;
Italy's David Philippaerts grabbed the early lead in the Open race and led the pack into turn one, pushing to a dominant victory at the end of the 12-lap heat.
A surprising Gautier Paulin contributed in France's second place as the regular MX2 rider took a brilliant second despite a lack of bike time on the 450cc.
MXoN veteran Steve Ramon of Belgium was a strong third ahead of Shaun Simpson (Great Britain) and Ivan Tedesco (USA). At midrace, the latter felt the pressure of Team Estonia in the likes of Tanel Leok, who ended sixth.
OPEN Qualifying Race top ten: 1. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 24:46.590; ; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.349; 3. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:14.434; 4. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:19.320; 5. Ivan Tedesco (USA, Honda), +0:20.252; 6. Tanel Leok (EST, Yamaha), +0:23.459; 7. Michael Byrne (AUS, Suzuki), +0:37.450; 8. Carlos Campano (ESP, Yamaha), +0:48.675; 9. Antonio Jorge Balbi Jr. (BRA, Honda), +0:50.702; 10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:51.392;
Nations Qualifying Top Ten: 1. Italy; 2. France; 3. Belgium; 4. Great Britain; 5. Australia; 6. USA; 7. Republic of South Africa; 8. New Zealand; 9. Spain; 10. Estonia.
Complete results available at www.motocrossmx1.com/reslists.aspx
Circuit length: 1680 mt
Type of ground: hard pack
Temperature: 22° C
Weather conditions: sunny
Sunday: Warm-up B-Final at 8:40 am; Warm-up MXoN Group 1 at 9:10 am; Warm-up MXoN Group 2 at 9:40 am; B-Final at 11:00 am; MXoN Race 1 (MX1+MX2) at 1:08 pm; MXoN Race 2 (MX2+Open) at 2:38 pm; MXoN Race 3 (MX1+Open) at 4:08 pm.