World championship leader Tony Cairoli crashed hard and had to pull out of the MXGP qualifying race in Russia. He was holding fifth place but lost the front coming down a hard-packed hill and hot the ground hard. Clement Desalle was right behind him and laid his bike down to avoid the fallen Italian.
Cairoli was holding his side but slowly got back on and rode back to the pits. He’ll go to the line 25th.
And Cairoli’s team-mate Jeffey Herlings, making his GP debut this year since coming back from his broken foot, also crashed in very similar conditions on the same downhill as Cairolio on the opening lap. He was in the top six but lost the front and fell. He remounted last and pulled through the pack to a 16th place.
The track also claimed Ivo Monticelli who crashed and Tommy Searle who also had a DNF, sitting on his KXF at the side of the track. And Alex Lupino was carried off by the medics after a fall.
The race was a start-to-finish win for Romain Febvre who took his second qualifying race win of the year. He led from the first lap. Honda’s Tim Gajser came through from a top ten start to second place, 1.6 seconds behind, which he inherited when Gautier Paulin slipped off with two laps to go. Paulin remounted for this with Max Anstie fourth from Jeremy Seewer and Desalle, with Arminas Jasikonis and Jordi Tixier behind him.
“I pulled a gap and controlled the race,” said Febvre. “It’s very hot so I’m trying to save energy for tomorrow’s race.”
In the MX2 race, Jorge Prado once again took the win from Thomas Kjer Olsen and Jago Geerts with Adam Sterry top Briton in 16th. Ben Watson was 25th after a big crash on a jump.