This is One of the Biggest First Turn Pile-Ups We’ve Seen

Motocross race starts are always risky, and the second moto start from last weekend’s MXGP of Italy showed how wrong it can go

First turn crash, 2024 MXGP of Italy. - YouTube/MXGP
First turn crash, 2024 MXGP of Italy. - YouTube/MXGP

The MXGP World Championship has been an intense battle so far between Spain’s Jorge Prado and Slovenia’s Tim Gajser. The MXGP of Italy added yet another twist.

Hosted at the historic Maggiora Park, the conditions were — as has become the norm in recent years — muddy. This was especially true on Saturday, when the Womens’ World Championship race was red flagged.

Jorge Prado, 2024 MXGP of Italy. - GasGas/Juan Pablo Acevedo
Jorge Prado, 2024 MXGP of Italy. - GasGas/Juan Pablo Acevedo

Credit: GasGas/Juan Pablo Acevedo

The MXGP Qualifying Race went off, in any case, and was won by Tim Gajser. In Race 1 on Sunday, Gajser converted his pole position into a victory, narrowly ahead of Prado and Jeffrey Herlings, with all three evenly matched on speed but unable to find overtaking opportunities around a muddy-but-drying, one-line Maggiora.

Race 2 provided the major moment of the GP, though, as Gajser made the holeshot exiting the first corner, just ahead of Prado. But the Spaniard’s GP would be over just a few metres after the holeshot line, as a collision with Valentin Guillod sent them both to the floor. Behind, the rest of the pack arrived, and a significant number of them piled into the fallen bikes ahead. One, factory Yamaha rider Calvin Vlaanderen, landed on Prado.

The Spaniard eventually got back up and tried to finish the race in the hopes of scoring as many points as possible, but pain in his knee prevented him from reaching the chequered flag.

 

 

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Instead, Prado, who before Maggiora had been unbeaten in 2024’s dry races, had to watch Gajser finish the race in second (he was leading throughout, but fell late on to hand the victory to Herlings), take a Grand Prix victory, and establish a 34-point lead in the championship.

There was concern during the race and in the immediate aftermath that Prado could be injured to an extent that would jeopardise his participation in the two upcoming back-to-back Indonesian races, the first of which is scheduled for 29-30 June. But it became clear by the end of Sunday that, in fact, his participation there shouldn’t be an issue.

The gap to Gajser, though, likely will be. The Slovenian has won five Motocross World Championships — one in MX2 and four in MXGP — and especially those in the premier class have been won on consistency. The experienced #243 knows how to manage a championship, but Prado — reportedly destined to replace the retired Adam Cianciarulo in the American factory Kawasaki team for the 2025 AMA SuperMotocross series — is arguably the faster rider.

It means that the MXGP of Italy has left the World Championship in a fascinating scenario, with the younger, faster Prado trying to use his speed to hunt down the experienced, reliable Gajser.

Lead image credit: MXGP/YouTube.

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