Following the German round in Teutschenthal, the Latvian Grand Prix will take place this weekend to mark the ninth stop of 15 in the FIM Motocross World Championship calendar. Having won Latvia in 2009, MX1 series leader Tony Cairoli looks forward to racing on one of his favourite tracks while team mate Marvin Musquin will try to win in this venue where he has not yet celebrated an overall success.
With five different GP winners in the last five GP's, Cairoli will try to establish his position of MX1 series leader by winning at Kegums, where last year he fought tooth and nail with current runner up Clement Desalle. David Philippaerts completes the top three in the Championship ahead of German GP winner Ken De Dycker. For this Grand Prix, Japanese Tomoya Suzuki will make his maiden appearance in the series.
In the MX2 class Musquin dominates but runner up Ken Roczen has found renewed confidence through his second moto win in Germany. The German will try to make up ground in Latvia and at the same time keep third placed Steven Frossard at a safe distance.
The FIM Veterans' World Cup will be back to action in Kegums with series leader Mats Nilsson to face runner up Erwin Hendrickx and third placed Pascal Bal on the soft Latvian soil.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX1's Cairoli leads the MX1 standings with an advantage of 65 points from runner up Desalle. The Italian is seeking success in Latvia like he did in 2009, when the series made its maiden appearance in the country. Despite missing the podium in Germany, Cairoli has been consistent and limited the damage with a fourth place overall.
Being currently second in the Championship, Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1's Desalle was Cairoli's main opponent in Latvia last year, when the Belgian took a break from Suzuki to steer a private Honda machine. Desalle is mounting on the podium since the American GP and is determined to chase Cairoli until the Title chase remains alive.
Another one being consistent is Yamaha Monster Energy Motocross' Philippaerts, the 2008 MX1 World Champion. Philippaerts managed to get a podium despite riding ill in Germany and is now nine points behind Desalle with the duo battling for second in the Championship.
Yamaha fellow rider De Dycker stormed to fourth in the Championship courtesy of two moto wins in Teutschenthal last weekend. The Belgian is 16 points behind Philippaerts and seems to have finally found the right feeling with the bike, which was dramatically changed in terms of engine and general set up before the German Grand Prix and gave De Dycker renewed confidence.
A broken left collarbone did not prevent Nagl from racing at home in Germany, so that he could defend his Championship classification where he sits in fifth place.
Ramon and Boog are respectively sixth and seventh ahead of Estonian Leok, who is expecting many home fans to cross the border and offer their support in Latvia. With Pourcel out after a massive crash in Germany and Barragan recovering from an early season injury, Boog will be the sole Kawasaki Racing rider in Kegums.
Having taken a podium in Latvia Last year, Coppins still seeks his first podium on the Aprilia while last year's MX2 overall winner Gonçalves sits in 16th place as he is still adapting to the MX1 class.
Making the trip from Japan to debut in the Grand Prix series this weekend is Tomoya Suzuki, appointed by the Asian Motorcycle Union to represent the continent this weekend as he is currently the best rider in their continental Motocross and Supercross series.
Latvia Honda Elksni racer Steinbergs looks forward to his home Grand Prix and aims at a strong outing in front of his home fans.
Having been struck by bad luck at the start to his second FIM Motocross World Championship season, Teka Suzuki Europe World MX2's Roczen seemed to be finally back to business when he wrapped up his second heat win of the season in Teutschenthal's second moto. The 16 year old from Apolda, Germany, was second on the podium and remained second in the Championship but he is now out with victory ambitions for the final half of the series.
While Roczen was struggling, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX2's Musquin went on to take an enormous amount of victories – seven out of eight – and Championship points. The French won his maiden Title last year and is now on top of the Championship with a 77 point advantage over Roczen. Musquin, who missed victory only in Valkenswaard, aims at taking his first career win in Latvia where last year he arrived a close second to Gonçalves.
Kawasaki CLS's Frossard is third in the Championship but missed the podium in Germany. Frossard was tenth in Latvia last year but a successful sand riding preparation over the winter has improved his riding skills dramatically and the he will be hunting a podium finish this weekend. Frossard actually took his maiden podium on the sand this year at Valkenswaard.
Other Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX2 representative Herlings struggled in the last GP's and has dropped down to fourth in the Championship with a strong Osborne chasing him from fifth. The Bike-it Cosworth Yamaha UK racer is on the podium since his home GP in America while Herlings' last podium was in Portugal. For both rivals the track will be all news as both missed the Grand Prix last year - even though Osborne raced a Junior World Championship event there in 2003.
Simpson is a close sixth to Osborne while Tonus, Van Horebeek, Roelants and Nicholls complete the top ten.
Paulin, who completed the Latvian podium in 2009, has a lot of ground to make up due to a leg injury which prevented him from racing until the Catalan GP.
With 16th in the Championship, Karro is the best placed home rider followed by Latvia Honda Elksni's Justs in 43rd position.
Picture credit: Archer R