Seven riders qualified directly for spots in Friday's Red Bull X-Fighters 2013 World Tour stop Dubai with strong performances on Thursday with Thomas Pages leading the way with his stunning array of tricks in front of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Thomas Pages of France took top honors in Qualifying on Thursday to claim pole position for the second stop of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in Dubai on Friday on a challenging track specially built for the freestyle motocross event in the shadows of the world's tallest building – the Burj Khalifa. The flying Frenchman mastered the sweeping Dubai track in Downtown Dubai, at Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, with leaps of up to 30 meters in distance and 15 meters high, just beating Spain's Dany Torres into second with Rob Adelberg of Australia into third in the warm-up for the world's most prestigious FMX series.
Pages had a spectacular first Qualifying run on the pleasant Dubai evening with two flairs, or 540-degree turns in mid-air, a "Special Flip" off the seat of his bike and the "Volt", where he let go of the bike in mid-air and did a quick spin before re-joining it just before landing. Pages was in the comfortable position of still being in first place ahead of his second run when Torres, Adelberg and last year's Dubai winner, Levi Sherwood, all failed to overtake him on their second runs so the Frenchman skipped all the difficult tricks on his final run.
"The first run was very good except for one little mistake that I don't think anyone noticed," said Pages after nailing the three difficult tricks and treating the spectators to two flairs en route to winning 85.8 points from the panel of judges an beat Torres with 85.0 points. "I was in first after the first run and because 'Special Flip' and 'Volt' are very hard I didn't do them again but worked on other things like speed through the track. "
Josh Sheehan did eye-popping double back-flips in both his Qualifying runs but couldn't quite stay in control on his bike while landing and came off both times. It was a brave performance from the Australian with one of the most difficult tricks ever created but not quite nailing it left Sheehan in 10th place. Japan's Daisuke Suzuki aborted a jump in mid-air because he said he got stuck in first gear while approaching the ramp, spectacularly leaping off his bike just before it crash-landed on a dirt mound. Switzerland's Mat Rebeaud slightly injured his hip when his attempt to do a flair went wrong but he will take part on Friday. France's Remi Bizouard broke his leg in training.
This will be the third straight year that the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour has made a stop in Dubai but the first in Downtown Dubai. The Burj Khalifa, which opened in 2010, stands 829 meters high and has 163 floors. In 2011 and 2012 the Red Bull X-Fighters was staged in Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.
Red Bull X-Fighters Dubai, UAE - Qualifying Results
1 Thomas Pagès (FRA) - 85.80 Points
2 Dany Torres (ESP) - 85.00 Points
3 Rob Adelberg (AUS) - 84.30 Points
4 Levi Sherwood (NZL) - 83.60 Points
5 David Rinaldo (FRA) - 81.50 Points
6 Libor Podmol CZE) - 81.40 Points
7 Mat Rebeaud (SUI) - 80.50 Points
8 Maikel Melero (ESP) - 80.20 Points
9 Daice Suzuki (JPN) - 77.9 Points
10 Josh Sheehan (AUS) - 76.00 Points
11 Todd Potter (USA) - 75.70 Points
Overall Standings & Live Results can always be found at www.redbullxfighters.com/results