Irvine, Calif. – Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett both earned victories for Team USA in their respective classes during the Saturday qualifying races at the Motocross of Nations (MXON) at Circuit du Puy de Poursay in St. Jean-D’Angely, France. Helping Great Britain qualify seventh for Sunday’s race by earning third in the MX2 class, Dean Wilson came from behind to land on the podium. In his first race aboard the 2012 Kawasaki KX™450F, Tyla Rattray made his move to finish fifth in the MX1 class, helping South Africa qualify sixth.
Getting out to the lead after the first turn, Villopoto turned up his speed to lead by more than 10 seconds at one point in the race. With two motos run before him, Villopoto was faced with a tough track to tackle aboard his championship winning 2012 Kawasaki KX450F.
“I was the last moto and the track had deteriorated pretty bad,” said Villopoto. “I knew with our 1-1 going into the third race we were in and my goal was to get out there and to get some track time.
After showing good speed during the 40-minute free practice session, Baggett was ready to prove he didn’t have any first-time jitters racing representing the USA against the best riders in the world. Although he is a rookie to the MXON, Baggett was clearly not letting the nerves get to him as he pulled the holeshot and led until the finish.
“I am really liking this track,” said Baggett. “It feels like home in California the way the dirt has been. It was great to get the holeshot because I haven’t been the best at starts at the past few races. I felt good the entire race and it really is getting me excited for the race on Sunday.”
Wilson entered the qualifying race after finishing fourth in the morning practice session. Representing his home country, Scotland, for the team Great Britain, Wilson got off to a tough start in the qualifying race, but didn’t give up. After breaking into the top-five he continued to put on the pressure and worked his way up to finish third.
“I think the race went pretty good considering I’m still riding with a hurt wrist,” said Wilson. “After my crash during practice at Pala, my wrist has been hurting a bit, but I’ll be good. The track was getting a little rough. but I think that helped me push to the front. I’ll be resting tonight to hopefully put my team in a good position Sunday.”
Five Place in First Race
In Rattray’s first race aboard the Kawasaki KX450F, he put together a solid 20 minutes plus two laps to finish fifth amongst the best in the world. He was able to start inside the top 10 and work his way around riders during the short qualifying race for a top-five finish.
“I am having a lot of fun riding the big bike,” said Rattray. “It still is a learning experience and I know my class is really stacked with talent, so overall I’m happy with my result. The track will be pretty gnarly for my final race of the day since it’s the last one on the track, but I think it will suit me well.”
Motocross of Nations
Circuit du Puy de Poursay – St. Jean-D’Angely, France
September 17-18, 2011
MX1 Qualifier Race Results
1. Ryan Dungey, USA, Suzuki
2. Antonio Cairoli, Italy, KTM
3. CHRISTOPHE POURCEL, FRANCE, KAWASAKI
4. Chad Reed, Australia, Honda
5. TYLA RATTRAY, SOUTH AFRICA, MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
6. Rui Goncalves, Portugal, Honda
7. Tanel Leok, Estonia, KTM
8. Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, Honda
9. TOMMY SEARLE, GREAT BRITAIN, KAWASAKI
10. JOHNATHAN BARRAGAN, SPAIN, KAWASAKI
MX2 Qualifier Race Results
1. BLAKE BAGGETT, USA, MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
2. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM
3. DEAN WILSON, GREAT BRITAIN, MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
4. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM
5. Joel Roelants, Belgium KTM
6. Alessandro Lupino, Italy, Husqvarna
7. Pascal Rauchenecker, Austria, KTM
8. Stefan Kjer Olsen, Denmark, Yamaha
9. Jose Antonio Butron, Spain, KTM
10. Stuart Edmonds, Ireland, KTM
MX3 Qualifier Race Results
1. RYAN VILLOPOTO, USA, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
2. DAVIDE GUARNERI, ITALY, KAWASAKI
3. Gautier Paulin, France, Yamaha
4. Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Suzuki
5. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Suzuki
6. Gareth Swanepoel, South Africa, Yamaha
7. Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM
8. Arnaud Tonus, Yamaha
9. Carlos Campano, Spain, Yamaha
10. Martin Michek, Czech Republic, KTM
Country Qualification for Sunday
6. South Africa
7. Great Britain