News 6 May 2010

World MX: Cairoli and Roczen lead into Portuguese GP

Cairoli holds the MX1 red plate on KTM's 350 SX-F.

Cairoli holds the MX1 red plate on KTM's 350 SX-F.

Coming back to action after Valkenswaard, Motocross World Championship MX1 and MX2 series leaders Antonio Cairoli and Ken Roczen are all set for this weekend’s Portuguese GP in Agueda, a well known venue for its hard pack track and high temperatures.

Cairoli is confident after winning the latest two GP’s, furthermore he took victory in Portugal in 2009. Runner up Max Nagl follows with a gap of 18 points while Steve Ramon is in third.

Cairoli’s winning streak has earned the Italian an 18 point advantage over Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX1’s team mate and runner up Nagl. Defending MX1 Champion Cairoli has lead the series since Mantova and is confident for this fourth round.

Last year in Agueda Cairoli took a clean sweep to win the Portuguese GP from Belgians Ken De Dycker and Clement Desalle.

Nagl missed the podium in the Netherlands and has to make up for that as well as for a fifth place in last year’s Grand Prix of Portugal. In the meantime he holds on in second place in the championship after holding the red plate in Sevlievo.

Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1’s Steve Ramon took his first season’s podium in Valkenswaard and looks forward to building on his third place in the championship. Yamaha Monster Energy Motocross’ David Philippaerts is right behind him in fourth place at just one point from the 2008 MX1 World Champion.

Yamaha Monster Energy Ricci’s De Dycker rounds off the top five ahead of Desalle, who will make a late decision about his participation depending on the strength of his injured shoulder from Valkenswaard.

Good news for the Portuguese fans was home rider Rui Gonçalves’ comeback to action in Valkenswaard after a winter shoulder injury. The winner of the 2009 Portuguese MX2 Grand Prix is now 23rd in the points standings as he is still catching up after a lack of bike time – Gonçalves is the second rider to steer the brand new KTM 350 SX-F at his first year in the MX1 class.

French rider Nico Aubin will reinforce the MX1 class line up at Agueda as he will make his MX1 GP debut this weekend after starting the first three GP’s of 2010 in the MX2 class.

In the MX2 class Roczen, who actually debuted in Portugal last year, just took the red plate and leads the championship from Marvin Musquin and Jeffrey Herlings, the latter winning the latest GP.

Making his comeback to the venue of his maiden Grand Prix in the MX2 class, youngster Roczen of Teka Suzuki Europe World MX2 is a much more experienced racer now as he holds his first ever red plate since the Dutch GP.

The German, who turned 16 last week, is yet to win a Grand Prix this year but is so far the only rider to have always finished on the podium courtesy of three second place finishes.

A bad weekend in Valkenswaard saw defending champion Musquin of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX2 drop down to second in the championship but the winner of the first two GP’s suffers a gap of just one point from Roczen.

His teammate Herlings is probably the most confident rider of the moment as he enters Portugal after his maiden GP win at home in Valkenswaard. Having started the grand prix series only this year, the 15-year-old is already third in the MX2 points standings with a gap of seven points from Musquin.

Kawasaki CLS’ man Gordan Frossard is fourth but the hard pack specialist of France counts on making up ground this weekend at Agueda, one of his favourite courses where he took a podium in 2009.

Suzuki’s Arnaud Tonus completes the top five ahead of Shaun Simpson, riding stronger and stronger as he is recovering from an off season hand injury.

With Aubin having moved to the MX1 class, Rockstar Energy Bud Racing Kawasaki entered American Michael Leib to replace the French.