Nine times world champ Tony Cairoli threw away a certain win in the MXGP qualifying race by crashing twice on the charge to the flag. The Italian stole the holeshot and just cleared off to what looked like being a dominant win from Tim Gajser in second.
But in the very last minutes of the race, he slipped off and by the time he remounted, the Honda man had got by. Cairoli set off in high speed pursuit and went for a banzai move around the outside to take the win on the final corner.
But again he fell, allowing Gajser to take the victory. Cairoli cruised over the line for second, with Honda’s privateer ace Jeremy Van Horebeek a strong third place after battling by Jeremy Seewer and Gautier Paulin.
Although Gajser wasn’t close enough to mount a serious attack on the KTM man, he had been setting very fast lap times and matched his pace as he came through the pack. It sets up a close race for tomorrow’s GP.
Paulin eventually took fourth place from Seewer and Tonus in a Yamaha show of strength.
Disaster hit two of the Brits as Tommy Searle gates fifth but his bike died on the opening lap. It was an aftermarket battery that failed, he claimed. And Josh Spinks crashed in a corner and was taken off with a suspected broken leg.
Max Anstie was the top British finisher, coming through from a mid-pack start to take seventh at the flag, right behind Tonus. Shaun Simpson fought to hold the fellow Briton at bay but slipped back to 12th place at the flag.