Advertisement | Advertise with Us

GP Report: Bulgaria

350, 250, 450. It didn’t really matter, as KTM motorcycles not only owned all three classes of MX1, MX2 and Women’s at a sun-splashed Sevlievo for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria but they also won all six motos for the opening round of the FIM Motocross World Championship. To-boot, on the same day, they also tied MX2 world champion and Sevlievo vanquisher Marvin Musquin to the company for another two years in a AMA assault in which the Austrians plan to re-organise their American racing set-up, under the gaze of Stefan Everts to some capacity.

  • Defending champion Marvin Musquin leads the charge into the first turn in the MX2 class.
  • 15-year-old Jeffrey Herlings finished third in the second MX2 moto, good for fourth overall on the day.
The grand prix campaign was opened at a venue fit for the occasion and the special attention paid to the track in conversion from a hardpack speed-fest to a soft, rutty and bumpy mangler caught many unawares. A relatively simple set of steep drags and quick jumps was in fact a punishing rout that had many riders talking of the demands on concentration and focus. Add the entirely pleasant and unexpected sunshine (welcome after Saturday chilly, rainy conditions) and it was a far from easy first toe-dip for the world championship fraternity.

KTM deservedly gain the headlines for several reasons. Musquin, on the Red Bull 250 SX-F, was elegance and efficiency personified and had the beating of Ken Roczen in MX2 (Teka Suzuki Europe World MX2). The 15 year old German slipped off while leading halfway through the first lap of Moto2 and the French number one had a clear path to another double (his fifth in ten GPs for KTM). CLS Kawasaki’s Steven Frossard might have completed the podium and gave acclaim to his new Pro Circuit powered KX250-F but the rider in fourth place was another astonishing facet of this event. The second 15 year old to make the grade was Dutch’man’ Jeffrey Herlings. The new factory rider led the Qualification Heat and ran at the front in both motos. His impact was lessened somewhat compared to the shock-and-surprise factor of Roczen’s emergence last year but his speed and unerring semblance to Tommy Searle (both on and off the track oddly) could not hide the fact that this was the best ever result by a MX2 rookie.

"I still feel young!” twenty-year old Musquin joked when it was pointed out that he was surrounded for most of the day by school children. “We have a long way to go but it is good for the championship and also for the team to win the first GP. I was a bit stiff on Saturday but could ride with my normal style today. The track and conditions were perfect. There were many good lines. It was quite easy but I still had to concentrate.” Musquin’s first moto speed was quite phenomenal. He was hitting similar if not better times to the MX1 guys. His race-time would have put him second in MX1, even allowing for slight, further degradation of the track.

In the premier class all eyes were on the figure of world champion Tony Cairoli. The Sicilian has Stefan Everts as a team manager and seemed to be doing a passable impression of the former sagacious multi world champ as the flamboyance and loose, stylish edge to ‘222’s riding was for the most part missing on his 350SX-F debut. Cairoli absorbed the first moto to adjust to the lighter machine and could only watch in the distance as team-mate Max Nagl vanished with the lead, but came out firing in Moto2 and pegged back a ten second deficit to the German. His first 25 points haul for the Austrians was memorable in its execution but also in vindication of his choice of the new bike; a landmark for the company and their belief in a new direction for motocross (when will the electric bike be ready?). Cairoli is an exceptional talent but the motorcycle gained some sort of partial spurs, making Mike Alessi’s decision to withdraw from his initial plan to race the first three GPs somewhat more mystifying. The Red Bull KTM team actually commented that the venue switch to Mantova for round two and the dislike Alessi has for the Italian sand was the motive behind his absence.

“I knew beforehand that this would be one of the hardest races for me on the 350,” said Cairoli. “It is also a track I don’t like so much because I don’t find it that technical even if I did enjoy the triple. I was still looking forward to coming here because all my preparation had gone well. In the first heat I made some mistakes and hit Pourcel when he crashed. I twisted my ankle but carried on pushing and to make the top five, it turned out to be a great race. I knew I would have to be in the top two or three at the start to have a chance of keeping with Max and I was glad to have a better start. After passing David I did my best to chase Max. I really believe in the 350 project so this win was important for me. I believe this is the future. When the tracks get rough the 450 is hard to push to the limit.”

  • Max Nagl (center) used a 1-2 to win the MX1 overall over Tony Cairoli and Clement DeSalle.
  • Tony Cairoli on his new KTM.
““I controlled the first race from the front and it was pretty easy,” commented overall winner Nagl. “Tony was coming a bit closer and in the second and then I started to get vibration from my engine so I slowed down a little bit. Steve was catching me up towards the end so I took the risk to push hard again. I am really happy to have the red plate for the first time. When the track gets rougher the 350 reaches the same level because you cannot use the full power of the 450 in some places anymore.”

While the third member of the MX2 KTM squad, Shaun Simpson, battled through a finger injury for some decent scores it was Women’s World Champion Stephanie Laier who added the third edge of dominance and her moto-double meant the smiles in the Mattighofen awning were almost as bright as the orange team livery. AMA champ Ashley Fiolek was a little off-key for 6th overall in the Women’s competition while Chiara Fontanesi maintained the theme of youth as the 16 year old squared-away her second podium in a row (the first at the end of 2009) with the runner-up berth.

Elsewhere Rockstar Teka Suzuki’s Clement Desalle captured a solid third position in his first podium result for the factory team. The Belgian held off a rampant David Philippaerts (Yamaha Monster Energy Motocross Team) on the final lap of Moto2. The Italian had been quick all day on the new YZ450FM, finishing second to Nagl earlier on, but a crash upon losing traction with the rear-wheel on one of the descents meant he was battling back to reach the top five. Attacking Desalle, Philippaerts could not count against the looming Jonathan Barragan and the Spaniard on his Kawasaki bow overtook the Yamaha in the final dash to the line, dumping Philippaerts to fourth. Josh Coppins took a top ten finish on his debut with the twin cylinder Aprilia, Xavier Boog was the highest MX1 rookie on the works Kawasaki and perhaps Seb Pourcel should have been higher if a crash and damaged machine in race one had not limited his chances.

And the yanks? Well, Zach Osborne acquitted himself well with 7th overall on the new Cosworth-powered Yamaha. The 20 year old had recently recovered from bronchitis but was pleased with his rides to 8th and 7th before revealing that he might be taking advantage of the planned later scheduling in 2011 to head home with the British squad. “I am not at my peak yet and a few week away from being my best. I have goals for this season and I hope to go back to America next year to do supercross with this team.”

  • Marvin Musquin signs his 2011-12 contract to race the AMA circuit with help from KTM's Stefan Everts, Pit Beirer, and Heinz Kinigadner.
Jimmy Albertson had a tough day in qualification on Saturday and it didn’t get much better on a rough maiden performance as part of the works Martin Honda squad. The likeable Californian was his own harshest critic as he admitted he was not up to the task in Sevlievo with 18th overall.

“The weekend started and finished pretty badly. I was behind in the times during practice and could not make it right in the motos. I was trying so damn hard but it was just not coming to me. I want to do well and I am much better than where I finished. I need to re-group this week. I have been training so hard up this that now maybe I have to take a step back and get things right in my head. I knew the guys here would be fast but I thought I would be also. They were haulin-ass, those guys are top notch. I honestly thought I would come here and hang with them for a little bit but that wasn’t the case. Mantova is next and although I know the track that does not give me an excuse for here; I had a whole day to learn Sevlievo. I owe it to myself and the team to get better next weekend.”

Round two is up next week with the trip to the inner-city venue of Mantova. The sandy and jumpy course plays host to the Grand Prix of Lombardia and possibly the only trip to Italy with rumours abound that the final event in Fermo will be swapped for an as un-yet announced British Grand Prix.

MX1 Moto1
1. Max Nagl (KTM); David Philippaerts (Yam); 3. Clement Desalle (Suz); 4. Ken De Dycker (Yam); 5. Tony Cairoli (KTM); 6. Jonathan Barragán (Kaw); 7. Steve Ramon (Suz); 8. Xavier Boog (Kaw); 9. Josh Coppins (Apr); 10. Davide Guarneri (Hon); 11. Gareth Swanepoel (Hon); 12. Tanel Leok (Hon); 13. Manuel Monni (Yam); 14. Marc De Reuver (Suz); 15. Kevin Strijbos (Suz); 16. Jimmy Albertson (Hon); 17.Tom Church (CCM); 18. Tom Söderltrön (Yam); 19. Cedric Soubeyras (Yam); 20. Filip Neugebauer (Kaw);

MX1 Moto2
1. Tony Cairoli (KTM); 2. Max Nagl (KTM); 3. Steve Ramon (Suz); 4. Sebastien Pourcel (Kaw); 5. Clement Desalle (Suz); 6. Jonathan Barragán (Kaw); 7. David Philippaerts (Yam); 8. Ken De Dycker (Yam); 9. Xavier Boog (Kaw); 10. Josh Coppins (Apr); 11. Anthony Boissiere (TM); 12. Davide Guarneri (Hon); 13. Gareth Swanepoel (Hon); 14. Manuel Monni (Yam); 15. Evgeny Bobryshev (Hon); 16. Gregory Aranda (Kaw); 17. Tanel Leok (Hon); 18. Cedric Soubeyras (Yam); 19. Julien Bill (Apr); 20. Jimmy Albertson (Hon);

MX1 Overall Result
1. Max Nagl (KTM); 2. Tony Cairoli (KTM); 3. Clement Desalle (Suz); 4. David Philippaerts (Yam); 5. Steve Ramon (Suz); 6. Ken De Dycker (Yam); 7. Jonathan Barragán (Kaw); 8. Xavier Boog (Kaw); 9. Josh Coppins (Apr); 10. Davide Guarneri (Hon); 11. Sebastien Pourcel (Kaw); 12. Gareth Swanepoel (Hon); 13. Manuel Monni (Yam); 14. Tanel Leok (Hon); 15. Anthony Boissiere (TM); 16. Marc De Reuver (Suz); 17. Evgeny Bobryshev (Hon); 18. Jimmy Albertson (Hon); 19. Kevin Strijbos (Suz); 20. Gregory Aranda (Kaw);

MX1 World Championship standings after 1 of 15 rounds
1. Max Nagl (47); 2. Tony Cairoli (41); 3. Clement Desalle (36); 4. David Philippaerts (36); 5. Steve Ramon (34); 6. Ken De Dycker (31); 7. Jonathan Barragán (30); 8. Xavier Boog (25); 9. Josh Coppins (23); 10. Davide Guarneri (20); 11. Sebastien Pourcel (18); 12. Gareth Swanepoel (18); 13. Manuel Monni (15); 14. Tanel Leok (13); 15. Anthony Boissiere (10); 16. Marc De Reuver (7); 17. Evgeny Bobryshev (6); 18. Jimmy Albertson (6); 19. Kevin Strijbos (6); 20. Gregory Aranda (5);


MX2 Moto1
1. Marvin Musquin (KTM); 2. Ken Roczen (Suz); 3. Steven Frossard (Kaw); 4. Arnaud Tonus (Suz); 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (Kaw); 6. Jeffrey Herlings (KTM); 7. Shaun Simpson (KTM); 8. Zach Osborne (Yam); 9. Joel Roelants (KTM); 10. Jake Nicholls (KTM); 11. Harri Kullas (Yam); 12. Dennis Verbruggen (KTM); 13. Nick Triest (KTM); 14. Christophe Charlier (Yam); 15. Mel Pocock (Yam); 16. Alessandro Lupino (Yam); 17. Ceriel Klein Kromhof (Yam); 18. Nikolaj Larsen (Hon); 19. Glenn Coldenhoff (Yam); 20. Matiss Karro (Suz);

MX2 Moto2
1. Marvin Musquin (KTM); 2. Ken Roczen (Suz); 3. Jeffrey Herlings (KTM); 4. Steven Frossard (Kaw); 5. Arnaud Tonus (Suz); 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (Kaw); 7. Zach Osborne (Yam); 8. Jake Nicholls (KTM); 9. Shaun Simpson (KTM); 10. Christophe Charlier (Yam); 11. Nick Triest (KTM); 12. Harri Kullas (Yam); 13. Nicolas Aubin (Kaw); 14. Nikolaj Larsen (Hon); 15. Alessandro Lupino (Yam); 16. Rudi Moroni (Yam); 17. Petr Smitka (KTM); 18. Mel Pocock (Yam); 19. Dennis Verbruggen (KTM); 20. Matiss Karro (Suz);

MX2 Overall Result
1. Marvin Musquin (KTM); 2. Ken Roczen (Suz); 3. Steven Frossard (Kaw); 4. Jeffrey Herlings (KTM); 5. Arnaud Tonus (Suz); 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (Kaw); 7. Zach Osborne (Yam); 8. Shaun Simpson (KTM); 9. Jake Nicholls (KTM); 10. Harri Kullas (Yam); 11. Christophe Charlier (Yam); 12. Nick Triest (KTM); 13. Joel Roelants (KTM); 14. Dennis Verbruggen (KTM); 15. Nikolaj Larsen (Hon); 16. Mel Pocock (Yam); 17. Nicolas Aubin (Kaw); 18. Rudi Moroni (Yam); 19. Petr Smitka (KTM); 20. Ceriel Klein Kromhof (Yam);

MX2 World Championship standings after 1 of 15 rounds
1. Marvin Musquin (50); 2. Ken Roczen (44); 3. Steven Frossard (38); 4. Jeffrey Herlings (35); 5. Arnaud Tonus (34); 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (31); 7. Zach Osborne (27); 8. Shaun Simpson (26); 9. Jake Nicholls (24); 10. Harri Kullas (19); 11. Christophe Charlier (18); 12. Nick Triest (18); 13. Joel Roelants (12); 14. Dennis Verbruggen (11); 15. Nikolaj Larsen (10); 16. Mel Pocock (9); 17. Nicolas Aubin (8); 18. Rudi Moroni (5); 19. Petr Smitka (4); 20. Ceriel Klein Kromhof (4);


WMX Overall Result
1. Stephanie Laier (KTM); 2. Chiara Fontanesi (Yam); 3. Maria Franke (KTM); 4.Livia Lancelot (KTM); 5. Ashley Fiolek (Hon); 6. Larissa Papenmeier (Suz); 7. Nathalie Kane (KTM); 8. Elin Mann (KTM); 9. Elien de Winter (KTM); 10. Marielle De Mol (Yam);

FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship standings after 1 of 7 rounds
1. Stephanie Laier (50); 2. Chiara Fontanesi (42); 3. Maria Franke (38); 4.Livia Lancelot (33); 5. Ashley Fiolek (33); 6. Larissa Papenmeier (33); 7. Nathalie Kane (30); 8. Elin Mann (27); 9. Elien de Winter (21); 10. Marielle De Mol (20);
122 Vista Del Rio Drive, Morgantown, WV 26508 | 304-284-0084 | Contact Us
©1999 - 2014 Racer Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
designed at: Website DesignImpulse Studios