Ken Roczen and David Philippaerts dominated the MX2 and MX1 qualifying races at the sunny Brazilian GP on Saturday.
Riding on the Honda-owned Indiaituba circuit near Sao Paulo – where even the soil is bright red – the pair proved their dominance by taking easy wins in front of a huge and vocal crowd.
In the MX2 race, Roczen took the holeshot but Briton Tommy Searle was right on his heels from Roczen’s KTM team-mate Jeffrey Herlings.
Roczen began to ease away slightly, until Searle’s charge came to a halt when he slipped off and struggled to restart his Pro Circuit Kawasaki.
Herlings inherited runner-up spot but could not make any impression on Roczen. The three had been the only of the top men to clear a huge uphill step-up jump. Third place Gautier Paulin didn’t do the jump and his lap times suffered for it.
After a big crash in practice, Zach Osborne bounced back to beat his team-mate Arnaud Tonus for fourth, with Max Anstie a strong sixth.
In the MX1 class, Philippaerts sneaked past holeshot man Steven Frossard to clear off to an easy win. The Monster Yamaha pair were initially chased hard by Evgeny Bobryshev, but he fell several times and dropped back.
Tony Cairoli, cheered on every bit of the way by the crowd, came from just inside the top ten to take third from Xavier Boog on the final lap.
It wasn’t so good for the British riders Shaun Simpson and Jason Dougan. Both crashed and went down hard.
Simpson remounted to finish 21st but Dougan retired with a hurt hand. It’s not known whether he’ll race tomorrow.
Words and images by Adam Duckworth