The 64th edition of the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations started with the MX1, MX2 and Open class qualifying races and it was Team USA who got the first spot at the end of the day.
Germany was second ahead of Puerto Rico, while Belgium and France finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The winners of the qualifying heats were Tony Cairoli for Team Italy in MX1, Trey Canard for Team USA in MX2 and other American Andrew Short in the Open class.
Right before qualifying started, all the teams were presented at the start of the Thunder Valley track and the international crowd gave them a warm welcome unveiling to be a confidence booster for the three eventual winners of the day.
2010 MXoN: MX1 Qualifying
After being the first one to choosing the starting gate, Paulin took the holeshot and put France in the lead of the MX1 qualifying heat.
However, already in the opening lap, 2010 MX1 World Champion Cairoli overtook the Frenchman and brought Italy the first victory of the weekend.
Paulin was second but Metcalfe overtook the French placing Australia in the second position until the end of the race.
Paulin fought until the end to get the second position back but he finally crossed the finish line less than a second after Metcalfe.
Dungey did not have a really good start but he overtook up to six riders placing USA in a final fourth position after obtaining the fastest lap of the heat in the penultimate lap.
Barragan, riding for Spain, got a consistent fifth position, followed by Belgian Ramon, Estonian Leok and Portuguese Gonçalves. Nicholls for Great Britain was ninth, despite the team being picked to start from last at the morning’s ballot, and completing the top ten was Coppins for New Zealand.
MX1 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 26:29.965; ; 2. Brett Metcalfe (AUS, Honda), +0:06.038; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:06.779; 4. Ryan Dungey (USA, Suzuki), +0:09.088; 5. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Kawasaki), +0:11.868; 6. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:37.916; 7. Tanel Leok (EST, Honda), +0:39.900; 8. Rui Goncalves (POR, KTM), +0:40.087; 9. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:07.046; 10. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Aprilia), +1:19.782
2010 MXoN: MX2 Qualifying
The MX2 qualifying race was characterized by the dogfight for victory in between Canard and Roczen. The American took the lead at the very beginning of the race but Roczen managed to overtake Canard with only three laps to go.
The German then made a mistake and lost the leadership, with Canard taking the first victory for Team USA being Germany the second classified.
Third position was for Belgian Van Horebeek, who did a really consistent race, and fourth was for Osborne from Puerto Rico.
MX2 World Champion Musquin did not have a good start and rode fifth from the beginning to the end of the qualifying race.
Ecuadorian Davalos was sixth, followed by Latvian Karro, while Italian Lupino, who had to give all his best in order to improve his initial fourteenth position, finished eighth.
Team Australia, who was 21st in today’s balloting, was ninth courtesy of Ferris, and completing the top ten was Kullas for team Finland.
MX2 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Trey Canard (USA, Honda), 24:45.677; 2. Ken Roczen (GER, Suzuki), +0:07.007; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:20.562; 4. Zach Osborne (PUR, Yamaha), +0:21.927; 5. Marvin Musquin (FRA, KTM), +0:27.612; 6. Martin Davalos (ECU, Yamaha), +0:47.511; 7. Matiss Karro (LAT, Suzuki), +1:04.191; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Yamaha), +1:09.399; 9. Dean Ferris (AUS, Honda), +1:11.155; 10. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), +1:13.230;
2010 MXon: OPEN Qualifying
In the Open qualifying heat Short was the clear dominator from beginning to end and handed Team USA the second success of the day, even being the 13th country to choose the gate for today’s races.
New Zealander Townley did also a superb race finishing second but he crossed the finish line nine seconds after the American.
Also Regal from Puerto Rico did an excellent race and kept his third initial position until the end of the heat. Fourth and fifth were GP winners Nagl (Germany) and Desalle (Belgium).
Brazilian Balbi finished sixth ahead of Swiss Tonus and British Anderson, while Japanese Atsuta contributed in the classification of his country with a solid ninth position. Completing the top ten was Australian Marmont.
French Boog was not fortunate today and could not finish the race due to a muscular problem to his calf. Fortunately, the young Frenchman will be back on his Kawasaki machine as his injury is not a serious one.
OPEN Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Andrew Short (USA, Honda), 24:49.054; 2. Ben Townley (NZL, Honda), +0:09.048; 3. Kyle Regal (PUR, Honda), +0:10.023; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:17.624; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:42.018; 6. Antonio Balbi (BRA, Kawasaki), +0:45.063; 7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Suzuki), +0:45.769; 8. Brad Anderson (GBR, Honda), +0:53.645; 9. Yoshitaka Atsuta (JPN, Suzuki), +0:55.683; 10. Jay Marmont (AUS, Yamaha), +0:57.071;
Nations Qualifying Top Ten: USA, Germany, Puerto Rico, Belgium, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Spain.