Thrilling Battle For Pole At Osaka Qualifier

Mat Rebeaud - Osaka Qualifier
Pagés mastered three of his Special Tricks

Tom Pages of France beat Osaka's hometown hero Taka Higashino in Friday's nerve-wracking Qualifying session in front of Osaka Castle ahead of the first-ever Red Bull X-Fighters event in Japan on Saturday. Defending World Tour winner Levi Sherwood crash-landed on his second run but still managed to take third.

Frenchman Tom Pages needed a world-class performance to beat Japan's high-flying ace Taka Higashino in a spine-tingling Red Bull X-Fighters Qualifying round on Friday in front of the majestic Osaka Castle, winning a thrilling battle for pole position going into Saturday's main event that will be held on Japanese soil for the first time. In the world's most prestigious freestyle motocross World Tour, riders perform gravity-defying tricks off their bikes while leaping up to 30 meters in distance and 15 meters high.

Pages aced three of the most exciting tricks ever created – the Volt, the Special Flip and a new version of the Flair – to take first with 87.6 points ahead of Osaka's very own Higashino with 86.9 points. New Zealand's Levi Sherwood had to settle for third with 86.2 points after he crash-landed on a second-round jump, flying off the back of his bike on an awkward upright landing. Spain's Dany Torres, the winner in Dubai, took fourth in Qualifying, American Adam Jones was fifth and Australia's Rob Adelberg, who won the last round in the United States, was sixth.

Pages, who won the 2013 season opener in Mexico City, dazzled the crowd of spectators on the compact track built with great care in Osaka's famous Nishinomaru Garden with the brightly lit Osaka Castle providing a spectacular backdrop for the first East Asian Red Bull X-Fighters ever.

"I did my absolute best tonight and don't think I can do anything better tomorrow," said Pages after the Special Flip off the seat of his bike, the Volt that left him spinning in mid-air above his bike and a Flair variation – turning 540 degrees in mid-air. "If I can do that again in the finals like that I'll be very happy. It was very stressful for me."

Earlier on Friday, Daice Suzuki (JPN) won the Japanese Wild Card competition and qualified for the main event on Saturday.

 

Red Bull X-Fighters Osaka Qualifier Result

1. Tom Pages (FRA)
2. Taka Higashino (JPN)
3. Levi Sherwood (NZL)
4. Dany Torres (ESP)
5. Adam Jones (USA)
6. Rob Adelberg (AUS)
7. Javier Villegas (CHL)
8. Mat Rebeaud (SUI)
9. David Rinaldo (FRA)
10. Daisuke Suzuki (JPN)
11. Todd Potter (USA)
12. Josh Sheehan (AUS)

Saturday's event will be streamed live from Osaka, Japan on
www.redbullxfighters.com or on www.redbull.tv

You can also watch it live on Fuel TV, on J Sports 3 Japan, SKY Sport 4 New Zealand, Pro7 Fun Germany or MCS Extreme France.
For all other countries please check your local listings.

Broadcast Times
1 June 2013
New Zealand: 10.15pm (NZST)

Australia: 8.15pm (AEST)
Japan:
7.15pm (JST)
Europe: 12.15pm (CEST)
USA: 3:15am (PDT)

You can also follow the event on redbullxfighters.com/results with real-time results tracking the winners from each heat.