Ramon starts the event looking to erase the absent Josh Coppins' 43 point world championship lead, but will face stiff competition from the likes of GPKR Kawasaki's Sebastien Pourcel - fourth in qualifying and the overall winner last time out in Belgium - as well as the top two qualifiers.

Kawasaki's Tanel Leok was sixth in the difficult conditions - in which only a handful of laps were completed - with Julien Bill, MX1 returnee Kenneth Gundersen and top Brit Billy Mackenzie completing the top eight.

In the MX2 class, Antonio Cairoli - looking to wrap up his second world title this weekend - took position during a revised event timetable caused by heavy rain. Jeremy Tarroux was a surprise second during the limited laps, with reigning champion Christophe Pourcel fifth and rising star Tommy Searle seventh - directly behind fellow Brit Carl Nunn.