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Dylan Ferrandis at the 2018 Motocross of Nations

France Continues MXoN Reign

Oct 082018

The 72nd running of the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations provided a sense of optimism for American fans, who were hoping to end years of frustration at the world’s biggest motocross race. The event was hosted on U.S. soil for just the fourth time in history, and Team USA boastedits most formidable lineup in recent memory with a trio of Monster Energy riders in Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia, and Aaron Plessinger. However, challenging conditions and an inability to grab good starts hindered the hopes of the host country all afternoon at legendary RedBud MX and they never factored into mix, to the dismay of the home crowd. Instead, Team France did what it has continued to do for that past five years at the MXoN – rely on unparalleled consistency to emerge triumphant, capturing their fifth consecutive Chamberlain Trophy.

One thing that was abundantly clear on Sunday afternoon was the value of a start. Thanks to its top qualifying effort, the Netherlands enjoyed the most successful individual performances of the day as both Glenn Coldenhoff and Jeffrey Herlings combined to take each moto win, with Coldenhoff going 1-1 from the Open division. Unfortunately, the Dutch’s hopes for a first MXoN win were dashed when MX2 rider Calvin Vlaanderen was forced to retire from competition with an apparent eye issue. That shifted the battle for victory into a showdownbetween France and Italy, which came down to the wire in the final race of the day with just a few positions separating the defending champs from their European rivals. In the end, France’s ability to take advantage of strong starts and minimize adversity gave them the edge, with Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis combining with veterans Gautier Paulin and Jordi Tixier to push the French to the top.

Moto 1 – MXGP & MX2


While the rain held off throughout race day, the track conditions from a weekend filled with wet weather meant the racing surface was treacherous. Mistakes were plentifuland the bikes were pushed to their limits, which made getting up front early that much more important as the field quickly stretched out. When the gate dropped on the opening moto it was Italy’s Antonio Cairoli who appeared to have the early advantage, but he slid out and ignited a multi-rider incident. That allowed Herlings to seize control of the lead, but he slid out as well and handed the lead over to Spain’s MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado. Herlingslost a couple spots, but quickly got back into the action.


As the field settled in, it was Prado up front, followed by Paulin, Herlings and Monster Energy rider Hunter Lawrence, of Australia. Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis put two Frenchmen inside the top six, while Monster Energy rider Tommy Searle, of Great Britain, and the U.S. duo of Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tomac and Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha’s Plessinger all sat inside the top 10. While the Americans were able to come away with decent starts from their mid-pack gate picks, they lost valuable ground jockeying for position on the opening lap and quickly lost touch with the front-runners.


Despite having nearly half the power, Prado was able to keep his 450cc counterparts at bay for half the moto, but eventually Herlings picked up the pace and made his march to the front, moving past Paulin and Prado over the course of two laps. As this unfolded Tomac was doing all he could for Team USA, fighting his way through the field like he did numerous times during the summer. Tomac gave chase to fellow Monster Energy rider Searle for fourth place for several laps until the Brit’s Kawasaki, which had been spewing smoke for most of the race, expired late. That also allowed Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle, of Belgium, to break into the top five.


While Tomac was living up to his role as Team Captain, MXoN rookie Plessinger learned first hand how difficult this race can be. After initially starting alongside Tomac,the newly crowned AMA 250 Class Champion lost ground early and then crashed, which dropped him to the tail end of the top 20.


Once out front Herlings easily pulled away from the field and cruised to the opening moto win. However, the victorywas muted following the DNF by Vlaanderen, which forced the Dutch to continue on with just two riders. Paulingot the French effort off to a stellar start in second, while Prado impressed with a third. Tomac led the way for Monster Energy in fourth, with Desalle fifth. Cairolirebounded from his early trouble to fight back to sixth, while Ferrandis gave France a pair of top-10 results in seventh, just ahead of Lawrence. Belgian Monster Energy rider Jago Geerts finished 13th in his first MXoN race, while his MXGP teammate Ben Watson finished 15th for Great Britain and Monster Energy in his debut. Plessingersoldiered home to an 18th-place finish, while Searle was credited with 34th.

Moto 2 – MX2 & Open


The second moto of the day provided an opportunity for a shakeup in the Nations Classification, and was arguably the moment for Team USA to get back in the hunt. When the gate dropped and the field emerged from the first turn it was Coldenhoff who kept the Netherlands at the forefront, ahead of Prado and Watson. Monster Energy/Alpinestars/Piller’s/Kawasaki’s Tyler Medagliaenjoyed a strong start for Canada in fifth, with Lawrence, Ferrandis, and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Van Horebeek, of Belgium, all inside the top 10. Team USA was in a tough spot immediately as both Barcia and Plessinger found themselves outside the top 20. Both riders made an aggressive push to break into 16th and 18th, respectively, on the opening lap, but the host nation’s hopes of challenging for the Chamberlain Trophy took a major hit.


With a clear track ahead of him, Coldenhoff set sail and left the field in his wake. Soon enough all the attention centered on an epic battle for second amongst a trio of rising stars in the MX2 division as Prado, Lawrence, and Watson were all over each other. As the lead rider for France in the moto, Ferrandis made the conscious decision to ride conservatively, hovering around the top five for the majority of the moto. It proved to be beneficial for France’s big-picture effort as Open rider Jordi Tixier later dropped out of the race when his bike expired.


Even though he found himself mired deep in the field, Barcia’s experience at the MXoN helped him mount a charge through the field aboard his Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing machine. He broke into the top 10 about a quarter of the way through the moto, but couldn’t gain any more positions due to how spread out the field had become.


The three-rider MX2 battled for second waged on, with Watson putting heavy pressure on Prado. However, strong defensive riding by Prado kept the Brit at bay and ultimately allowed Lawrence to take advantage, clawing his way around both riders to go from fourth to second.


Coldenhoff led wire-to-wire to keep the Netherlands undefeated, but the absence of Vlaanderen effectively took them out of contention in the overall battle. Lawrence continued to carry the load for Australia in second, with Prado holding off Watson for third. Van Horebeek finished in sixth, while Ferrandis recovered from a late crash to bring home another top 10 in eighth. Barcia gave a valiant effort to finish ninth and put five Monster Energy riders in the top 10. Plessinger did all he could to finish 16th, which offered a slight improvement on his finish from the first moto, but it put added pressure on the Americans entering the final moto. Geerts followed up his solid first moto with an 18th, while Medaglia’s bike expired and resulted in a 34th-place finish.

Moto 3 – MXGP & Open


It was a bit of a shock to see Australia atop the Nations Classification entering the final moto, which was largely the result of Lawrence’s exceptional performance. The Aussies carried an eight-point advantage over Belgium and Italy, while Spain, the U.S. and France were all in the hunt as well. Several of these teams, most notably France, had already collected a result they’d likely eliminate in the final scoring, which left little room for error for the riders contesting the deciding race.


When the gate dropped on the third and final moto,Coldenhoff once again seized the moment and surged out to the early lead over Italy’s Alessandro Lupino, with Paulinand Germany’s Ken Roczen giving chase. Herlings started fifth, but he was determined to join the battle with his teammate up front.


The early battle for the Chamberlain Trophy saw France and Italy put themselves in the best position, as the Aussies, Belgians, Spaniards and Americans all were mired mid-pack. While hopes still remained high for Team USA to step up and make things interesting, Barcia and Tomac started in 12th and 14th, respectively. Given the contending countries already in the upper portion of the field, the host nation’s hopes of ascending back to the top of the motocross world and maintaining their undefeated record on home soil felt like a long shot.


It didn’t take long for Herlings to work his way up to second, but once he did he was well back of his fellow Dutchman as Coldenhoff was once again in cruise control. As they pulled away, Paulin settled in behind Lupino as France and Italy continued their battle in Nations Classification. Italy received an added boost from Cairoli, who climbed up into the top five, while Tixier was doing all he could to move up from 14th for France.


Barcia and Tomac connected early in the moto and looked to push one another on a charge through the field, but Barcia’s back-to-back motos started to have an effect as he gradually lost ground and started to drop positions. Tomac, meanwhile, continued to charge ahead.


Cairoli’s march forward carried him past Paulin into fourth,and for a short period of time Italy was atop the standings by running third and fourth on the track. Shortly after that, however, Cairoli made the risky decision to ditch his goggles. It impacted the multi-time world’s champion’s speed immediately, and he dropped several positions. This change effectively put France back in control as Paulin got a second wind and mounted a late charge that would secure another win for his country.


Coldenhoff and Herlings capped of an utterly dominant performance by the pair, who single-handedly brought the Netherlands into a podium spot despite being down a rider.Paulin closed things out with a stellar third-place effort, while Cairoli withstood the roost to finish fourth, just ahead of Lupino. The standings were still tight after the top five took the checkered flag, and it wasn’t until Tixier crossed the line in 15th that France clinched the victory.


Tomac led the way for Monster Energy with a seventh-place finish, with Searle in 10th. Van Horebeek followed in 11th while Barcia couldn’t muster more than a 13th-place finish. Medaglia followed in a distant 23rd, with Desalle in 27th.


When the final results were tallied, France (35 points) edged out Italy (37 points) by just two positions, putting Monster Energy atop the podium with Ferrandis, who contributed a pair of top-10 finishes to complement Paulin’s pair of podiums. France became just the third country to amass a five-year winning streak in the history of the MXoN, joining the U.S. and Great Britain. TheNetherlands (41 points) earned its third straight podium result in third. Fittingly, the top three teams on Sunday also earned the top three spots in Saturday’s qualifications, emphasizing the importance of gate selection at a unique event like the MXoN.


Another stellar showing at the MXoN by Lawrence carried Australia to an impressive fourth-place finish, followed by Great Britain in fifth. Team USA finished sixth, posting just three top-10 finishes and one top-five result. While it was no doubt a tough pill to swallow, the host nation’s inability to generate good starts ultimately prevented them from getting into the mix.


Monster Energy was represented by half of the top 10 finishing countries. Tomac led the way for the Monster Army in MXGP by finishing fourth in the individual classification, while Lawrence was tops in MX2 with a runner-up performance, just ahead of Ferrandis in third and Watson in fourth. Van Horebeek led the way in the Open division in third.


The 2019 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations will take place at the Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands, September 28-29.


Motocross of Nations Overall Results

1. France – 35 points

MXGP – Gautier Paulin (2nd place – 2 points)

MXGP – Gautier Paulin (3rd place – 3 points)

MX2 – Dylan Ferrandis (7th place – 7 points)

MX2 – Dylan Ferrandis (8th place – 8 points)

Open – Jordi Tixier (15th place – 15 points)

Open – Jordi Tixier (32nd place – 32 points)


2. Italy – 37 points

MXGP – Antonio Cairoli (4th place – 4 points)

Open – Alessandro Lupino (5th place – 5 points)

MXGP – Antonio Cairoli (6th place – 6 points)

MX2 – Michele Cervellin (10th place – 10 points)

Open – Alessandro Lupino (12th place – 12 points)

MX2 – Michele Cervellin (14th place – 14 points)


3. Netherlands – 41 points

Open – Glenn Coldenhoff (1st place – 1 point)

Open – Glenn Coldenhoff (1st place – 1 point)

MXGP – Jeffrey Herlings (1st place – 1 point)

MXGP – Jeffrey Herlings (2nd place – 2 points)

MX2 – Calvin Vlaanderen (36th place – 36 points)

MX2 – Calvin Vlaanderen (DNS – No points)


4. Australia – 48 points

MX2 – Hunter Lawrence (2nd place – 2 points)

MX2 – Hunter Lawrence (8th place – 8 points)

Open – Mitchell Evans (10th place – 10 points)

Open – Mitchell Evans (14th place – 14 points)

MXGP – Kirk Gibbs (14th place – 14 points)

MXGP – Kirk Gibbs (33rd place – 33 points)


5. Great Britain – 48 points

MX2 – Ben Watson (4th place – 4 points)

Open – Max Anstie (6th place – 6 points)

MXGP – Tommy Searle (10th place – 10 points)

Open – Max Anstie (13th place – 13 points)

MX2 – Ben Watson (15th place – 15 points)

MXGP – Tommy Searle (34th place – 34 points)


6. USA – 49 points

MXGP – Eli Tomac (4th place – 4 points)

MXGP – Eli Tomac (7th place – 7 points)

Open – Justin Barcia (9th place – 9 points)

Open – Justin Barcia (13th place – 13 points)

MX2 – Aaron Plessinger (16th place – 16 points)

MX2 – Aaron Plessinger (18th place – 18 points)


7. Belgium – 53 points

MXGP – Clement Desalle (5th place – 5 points)

Open – Jeremy Van Horebeek (6th place – 6 points)

Open – Jeremy Van Horebeek (11th place – 11 points)

MX2 – Jago Geerts (13th place – 13 points)

MX2 – Jago Geerts (18th place – 18 points)

MXGP – Clement Desalle (27th place – 27 points)


8. Spain – 63 points

MX2 – Jorge Prado (3rd place – 3 points)

MX2 – Jorge Prado (3rd place – 3 points)

MXGP – Jose Butron (17th place – 17 points)

MXGP – Jose Butron (18th place – 18 points)

Open – Carlos Campano (22nd place – 22 points)

Open – Carlos Campano (22nd place – 22 points)


9. Estonia – 71 points

Open – Harri Kullas (7th place – 7 points)

Open – Harri Kullas (12th place – 12 points)

MXGP – Tanel Leok (12th place – 12 points)

MXGP – Tanel Leok (19th place – 19 points)

MX2 – Hardi Roosiorg (21st place – 21 points)

MX2 – Hardi Roosiorg (24th place – 24 points)


10. Germany – 78 points

Open – Max Nagl (8th place – 8 points)

MXGP – Ken Roczen (9th place – 9 points)

Open – Max Nagl (11th place – 11 points)

MX2 – Henry Jacobi (25th place – 25 points)

MXGP – Ken Roczen (25th place – 25 points)

MX2 – Henry Jacobi (37th place – 37 points)