Yesterday’s announcement from the FIM that Michele Cervellin’s motorcycle fuel test had failed and that they would disqualify Team Italy from the 2018 MXoN sent shockwaves around the world of motocross.
After the news had sunk in that the Italians had been stripped from their second place, there were a lot of comments across social media.
One question asked multiple times across many social accounts, especially from British and Australian fans, was ‘but Team GB was fifth. Wasn’t it France, Italy, Netherlands, Australia and the UK?’. Well yes it was.
But the Motocross of Nations scoring isn’t that simple. You really need some serious spreadsheet skills or be a maths genius to work it out. I’m neither so I had to trawl through the old and new results to see what had happened.
So let’s break it down and look at four of the teams that finished in the top five on the day at RedBud, USA. That’s Team France, Team Netherlands, Team Australia, Team GB and how Team Italy’s disqualification impacted those four.
How does MXoN scoring work? The number of points a rider earns is determined by the place they finish in the moto. You finish first, you get one point. You finish 20th, you get 20 points.
The object is to accrue as few points as possible. The team with the least number of points wins and so on.
Just to make it a little more complicated, each team can drop their worst result. So for example, Aaron Plessinger finished 18th (before the Italians got DQ) which was the USA’s worst score and so was dropped from their total points haul.
Team France won the event, again, and the fuel test results have little impact on them – it just improved their score by three points and made their win look even bigger. At least that’s how it will look when we look back on this event in years to come. They now officially finish on 32 points.
How did that happen?
In Race 1 (MXGP + MX2) Tony Cairoli finished in sixth place with Dylan Ferrandis following him across the line in seventh.
With Cairoli’s race results being wiped out, Ferrandis move up to sixth and with it Team France reduced their score by one, remember, in MXoN scoring, less is more.
Over in Race 3 (MXGP + Open) Jordi Tixier rode home in 15th while two Italians, Cairoli and Alessandro Lupino, had decent motos. They finished fourth and fifth respectively. With their DQ, Tixier moved up to 13th and with it dropped another two points.
Team Netherlands moved up from third to second in the Nations classification with the DQ of Team Italy. Their score improved by two. They now officially finish on 39 points.
In Race 1 (MXGP + MX2) Calvin Vlaanderen suffered some significant roost to his eye socket and effectively DNF’d. Vlaanderen still gains two positions with Michele Cervellin and Cairoli finishing well ahead of the adopted Dutchman.
With Glenn Coldenhoff and Jeffrey Herlings smokin’ just about every other rider on track, Vlaanderen was the only Dutch pilot to gain, although with a rock to the face, he probably doesn’t see it that way.
Team Australia didn’t move at all in the standings and some may think they had been robbed of a medal. But it’s not as simple as finishing fourth and then moving up one spot when it comes to MXoN scoring.
Team Australia finished the Motocross of Nations on 48 points and following the fuel tests results and the subsequent DQ of Team Italy the Aussies dropped five points. Sadly, for Team Australia, that score improvement wasn’t enough to get a medal. They now officially finish on 43 points.
Here’s how that breaks down.
In Race 1 (MXGP + MX2) Hunter Lawrence benefitted from Cairoli’s removal from the results. Hunter would move up a position to seventh – dropping one point.
In Race 2 (MX2 + Open) Mitchell Evans had finished ahead of the two Italians (Lupino and Cervellin) so gained nothing by the removal of their results. However, he did get an improvement in Race 3 (MXGP + Open), gaining two places thanks to Cairoli and Lupino who had both finished ahead of the Aussie.
Additionally, in Race 3 (MXGP + Open), Kirk Gibbs also gained two places, bringing the Aussie total to five fewer points.
So last but not least, the big winners following the shock disqualification of Team Italy from the 2018 MXoN…Team GB.
How did Team Great Britain manage to leapfrog from fifth place to the medal spot of third and leave the Aussies empty handed?
The short and boring answer, they gained seven points. But let’s look at where they came from.
In Race 1 (MXGP + MX2) Tommy Searle had a disastrous start to his Sunday at RedBud after his bike was struck with an issue. This handed Searle and his team their worst result of the three motos. Remember, each team gets to scrap their worst score. The Italian DQ didn’t impact Searle’s result here other than it dropped from 34 to 32 but it was still the worst score and so doesn’t make a difference.
Thankfully, the Team Captain was able to come out fighting in his second moto, but more on that in a moment.
For Ben Watson in Race 1 (MXGP + MX2) he finished 15th, behind both Cairoli and Cervellin who finished sixth and 10th respectively. That would be two places gained for Watson and two points removed from GB’s score.
In Race 2 (MX2 + Open) Max Anstie finished right behind Team Italy’s Lupino, which moved the fiery Brit into 12th and reduced GB’s team score by one point.
So that’s three points to the good in the first two motos. But Team Great Britain gained massively from the Italian team’s DQ in the final moto of the day and that ultimately sealed the deal and scuppered the Aussies…
In Race 3 (MXGP + Open) Anstie had a more than solid moto, finishing in sixth place. That was directly behind the Italian duo of Cairoli and Lupino. With their results stricken from the records, Anstie moved up into fourth spot and dropped two points off Team GB’s scorecard.
It was a very similar story for Tommy Searle who also finished behind Cairoli and Lupino with 10th place on the day. That’s another two points knocked off the total.
Those seven points moved Team GB from 48 points to 41 and with it a place in the history books with a third-place medal. Italy’s loss is GB’s gain.
And as for Australia, sorry about that. But you’ve always got Rugby, oh wait. Well there’s The Ashes at least.