Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing's Romain Febvre was also running a hot pace in the first race where he finished in fourth, right on the heels of the defending world champion Tim Gajser, but later fell victim to the ruthless nature of the circuit.
"I had a small crash on the second lap, and then I was coming back through the field when I decided to try and jump some breaking bumps. I got kicked sideways, it was almost 90 degrees sideways so it was too much to save, and I crashed. I hit my head, and strained the muscles in my neck, otherwise, I am okay."
Wilvo Yamaha Official's duo of Shaun Simpson and Arnaud Tonus debuted their YZ450F's in the premier class with both riders making some solid progress throughout the course of the day.
"We haven't spent a lot of time in the sand," Simpson said, "although I didn't feel too bad on the bike, we just struggled with set up a bit, but that is what we use these races for, to prepare." Tonus agreed, "it was not a bad day, we just haven't been in the sand enough, but we made some solid progress."
As the grand prix of Qatar and the commencement of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship draws ever closer, these pre-season races are essential to the MXGP riders and their preparation for what is bound to be an action-packed season.
Van Horebeek and Febvre will be back on the gate at round two of the International Italian Championship at Malagrotta next weekend, February 5th, while Simpson and Tonus will be racing in England at the Hawkstone International MX.
Main Photo: Jeremy van Horebeek