Photo: MXGP

Welcome to the MXGPs, kid.

Ryan Villopoto didn't exactly have the overwhelmingly debut performance he hoped and everyone else thought he would for Round 1 of the Motocross World Championship on Saturday in Qatar. The four-time American Supercross Champion sputtered at the start, literally, in Race 1 when his engine stalled. He hit the dirt twice once he finally got going and finished ninth for his inaugural race in the MXGPs.

In Race 2, Villopoto finished eighth despite riding with a damaged rear break for half the race thanks to a rock. His overall though was a bit better coming in seventh. He ran neck-and-neck with the leaders during practice so who knows what could have been had the engine started as it should in that first race.

"I haven't raced since May last year, and it wasn't a good day but we scored points and that's definitively something we have to work on," Villopoto said. "I never had a schedule like that one for a long time, but I've got to get used to that and all the rest, including how the gate drops, how they do everything."

He reportedly will undergo bike testing for several days in Europe before heading to Thailand for Round 2 on March 8.

The highly anticipated battle against Italy's eight-time MXGP champion Antonio Cairioli was not only a dud, but Cairoli didn't exactly impress either taking third in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2 for a fourth overall though he tied in points with Gautier Paulin of France who took third overall. Max Nagl of Germany swept both races leading wire to wire each time and Clement Desalle of Belgium took second twice. Nagl leads with 50 points with Cairoli in fourth with 38 points and Villopoto has 25 points.

2015 MXGP Qatar Overall Results

  1. Max Nagl (1-1)
  2. Clement Desalle (2-2)
  3. Gautier Paulin (4-3)
  4. Antonio Cairoli (3-4)
  5. Jeremy van Horebeek (5-5)
  6. Romain Febvre 6-7
  7. Ryan Villopoto (9-8)
  8. Evgeny Bobryshev (8-9)
  9. Kevin Strijbos (12-6)
  10. Shaun Simpson (7-14)

2015 MXGP Season Standings

  1. Maximilian Nagl - GER (50)
  2. Clement Desalle - BEL (44)
  3. Gautier Paulin - FRA (38)
  4. Antonio Cairoli - ITA (38)
  5. Jeremy Van Horebeek - BEL (32)
  6. Romain Febvre - FRA (29)
  7. Ryan Villopoto - USA (25)
  8. Evgeny Bobryshev - RUS (25)
  9. Kevin Strijbos - BEL (24)
  10. Shaun Simpson - GBR (21)