MATTERLEY BASIN, ENGLAND, SEPT 23: Team USA sat in relatively good position after the free practice rounds held this morning in preparation for the Fox Motocross of Nations to be held tomorrow at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, England.

In the very muddy opening session, which was for the MX1 class, James Stewart (right) overcame a thrown chain on the second lap of the session to roar back with the fastest time, topping fellow Kawasaki rider Sebastien Pourcel of France by nearly a second. Third-fastest in the division was Tanel Leok of Estonia (Kaw), with 10-time World Champion Stefan Everts bringing his Yamaha around with the fourth-fastest time.

In the MX2 class, which saw a much dryer track, 2005 MX2 Champion Antonio Cairoli set the fastest practice time, followed by newly-crowned MX2 Champ Christophe Pourcel of France, Norway’s Kenneth Gundersen, and Team USA’s Ryan Villopotto (below).

In the MX3 division, it was Belgian Steve Ramon on the factory Suzuki who posted the fastest lap of the day, with Carl Nunn of Great Britain right behind. Ricky Carmichael’s replacement, Ivan Tedesco, was sixth-fastest in the session.

At least in practice, the French team looked like strong challengers for the title with the Pourcel brothers each turning the second-fastest times in their respective classes, while Belgium cannot be ruled out after the strong showing of Ramon, Everts and Strijbos.

The qualifying races are scheduled for later this afternoon.

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MX1 Times:

1. James Stewart (USA) 2:09.499

2. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA) 2:10.327

3. Tanel Leok (EST) 2:10.675

4. Stefan Everts (BEL) 2:11.309

5. Jonathan Barragan (SPA) 2:11.796

6. Marc De Reuver (NED) 2:11.979

7. Josh Coppins (NZL) 2:11.996

8. David Philippaerts (ITA) 2:12.111

9. Billy MacKenzie (GBR) 2:12.905

10. Mix Nagl (GER) 2:14.040

MX2 Times:

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA) 2:8.295

2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA) 2:08.356

3. Kenneth Gundersen (NOR) 2:08.878

4. Ryan Villopoto (USA) 2:09.036

5. Ben Townley (NZL) 2:09.037

6. Tyla Rattray (RSA) 2:09.219

7. Rui Goncalves (POR) 2:10.140

8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL) 2:10.705

9. Tommy Searle (GBR) 2:11.268

10. Carlos Campano (SPA) 2:12.012

MX3 Times: 1. Steve Ramon (BEL) 2:07.379

2. Carl Nunn (GBR) 2:07.442

3. Wyatt Avis (RSA) 2:08.683

4. Jussi Vehvilainen 2:09.913

5. Yves Demaria (FRA) 2:10.008

6. Ivan Tedesco (USA) 2:10.589

7. Alvaro Lozano (SPA) 2:10.883

8. Aigars Bobkovs (LAT) 2:11.069

9. Yoshitaka Atsuta (JPN) 2:12.088

10. Cody Cooper (NZL) 2:12.118.

Shan Moore

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