World champion Tony Cairoli bravely raced the Italian GP mudfest at Maggiora with two broken bones in his hand in a bid to keep his championship hopes alive, but lost points to series leader Max Nagl while Romain Febvre closed in by taking the overall win.

Cairoli crashed in yesterday's qualifying race and was checked in hospital last night, where it was discovered he'd broken two bones in his hand. But the KTM ace raced, and even led the first moto briefly. He held third for much of race one but dropped back to seventh at the flag - making some points up on Nagl who fell on lap one and pitted for new goggles. The German ended up 15th.

"My injury is pretty bad," said Cairoli on the start line for race two. "I have two fractures in my hand which are out of place. I also put my elbow out and I stretched ligaments, which has fluid in it. I can't feel much in my arm and I don't have a good feeling on the bike. The first moto was the longest of my whole career but I have much pain now and I'll try to finish."

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Cairoli was in severe pain and rode bravely around, taking his hand off the bars whenever he could for a rest. He ended up a gutsy 18th, and now trails Nagl by 30 points in the series after nine rounds.

Nagl holeshot the second moto and looked odds-on to win until Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos slipped by on the last lap to take the race win. Nagl was furious at losing the points.

Nagl said: "I'm disappointed because I should have got better results in both races. In the first moto I almost crashed at the start. My gate dropped OK, but then bounced back up as I went. I got up to about 10th without too many problems but that wasn't where I wanted to be. Then I got taken out by Bobryshev. I had to come into the pit area, change my goggles and get my bike worked on. I think I was there for around 25 seconds. 15th wasn't the result I was hoping for. I used a different gate for the second moto and got a great jump, and lead the race. I lead all moto until the last lap, when I went off line in a corner and into the mud. I'm so disappointed because I should have won the race. But I will take all of this into my home GP next weekend."

The overall went to Yamaha's Romain Febvre, who also won last week's French GP and is now only eight points behind Cairoli. Febvre won the first moto but crashed heavily second time out, bending his bars. He continued and finished sixth but took the overall from Strijbos and Aussie Todd Waters - the first podium finish for him. Waters was level on points with local hero David Philippaerts who came within four points of winning his first GP overall since 2011. Briton Shaun Simpson was a strong sixth.

In the MX2 class, Honda's Tim Gajser took the overall win despite not wining a moto, thanks to third and second place finishes. But Jeffrey Herlings extended his series lead to 139 points over Valentin Guillod was was a poor 14th overall and was almost lapped by Herlings who won the second moto.

A poor start in the sloppy mud of moto one saw Herlings finish sixth, way behind winner Alex Tonkov who took the holeshot and cleared off from Jordi Toxier and Gajser. In race two, Tonkov wiped out Pauls Jonass in a stupid overtaking attempt. The move ruined Tonkov's bid for overall victory and he ended up fourth overall. Tixier also fell.

Tonkov said: "Of course getting my first ever GP race win is a great feeling. It was a challenging GP, but I feel like in the first race I rode well. I started well, hand a big lead at one point, and controlled the race like I wanted. It was really easy to make mistakes but I didn't make any, which I was pleased with. Getting the win was great.

"In the second moto someone clipped my right hand in the first turn and took me into the mud. I was pretty mad because the start was mine. I pushed hard and came together with Jonass. I feel bad about the pass, it was my mistake that took us both down. I got way more traction than I was expecting and came into the corner too fast. After that, with mud on my hands, it was hard."

Brit Max Anstie took sixth overall, mainly thanks to a second moto where he finished a strong fourth. Ben Watson was 15th overall.

Marco Madii won the 300 class, level on points with Yentel Martens while Brits Damon Strydom was sevnth in front of Matt Moffatt. Lewis Gregory had machine problems and was a no-score. In the 125 class Maxime Renaux won from Josh Natzke while Brit Conrad Mewse was 14th.

Image: J P Acevedo