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Cairoli crowned MX1 world champion
31 August 2009
Antonio Cairoli has won the MX1 Motocross World Championship at his first attempt, with a safe sixth place finish in Sunday's Grand Prix of the Netherlands, the penultimate round.
The 23 year old celebrated with his Italian team as he converted twelve of fourteen rounds as the 'red plate' holder into a maiden title success, becoming the youngest MX1 winner, with his third career championship, also the first to claim crowns in both the MX2 and MX1 classes.
Cairoli came into the meeting with discomfort in his left knee as a consequence of a meniscus problem. He tentatively rode to 12th place in the qualification heat while main rival Max Nagl was 3rd.
In the first race a conservative pace brought him up to fifth, three places ahead of the German after the latter had crashed. A tense second moto took place later in the afternoon as Cairoli gave chase to Nagl, requiring just two points and an overtaking move to mathematically begin celebrations. T
he four-time GP winner in '09 made light work of his pass and rode comfortably to fourth, confirming the championship with one round remaining.
"This means so much to me and I am a little lost for words at the moment,” said Toni, who will switch to KTM, alongside Nagl, next season. “I did not expect this in my first season and was already a bit surprised to have the red plate by the third round, and then keep it until the end.
“If you look at most of the MX2 riders who move up to MX1 they need a season or two to establish themselves so this is a big achievement for us and I am very proud.
“In the second moto here my goal was just to pass Max and push as much as I could to get away. I could not walk well on Friday so I was full of a lot of doubt for this GP; I just took it steady, when the track got rougher I could push a little bit more. I want to say thanks to everybody, all my team, my family; I am so happy."
At the front end of the field Teka Suzuki's Ken de Dycker dominated the event with two moto victories through the rough and rutted sand. It was the second win of the season for the Belgian and the works RM-Z450 and he was only denied a 'perfect set' across the weekend when he was second in the morning warm-up!
de Dycker, who confirmed his fourth pole position of 2009 on Saturday with a dominant performance that saw him fastest in both practice sessions and then peerless in the Qualification Heat, took the lead early in both sprints and was able to animate the many Belgian fans in the crowd with a comfortable speed advantage.
"I was having so much fun out there and it really helped me,” said Ken. “It was not so easy because the track was so demanding and coming up to lapped riders I really had to concentrate. Sometimes I could look around and saw a lot of people cheering so I was waving to them when I could; it was a really nice experience. This was not a simple GP so I am really pleased with the result."
Second overall was Monster Yamaha's Josh Coppins, with 4-2 race results, with LS Honda's Clement Desalle third with 6-3 race finishes. Outgoing champion David Philippaerts had been second to de Dycker in race one, but managed only eighth in race two.
The closest fight at the sharp end of the world championship is now between Philippaerts, Desalle and de Dycker for third. The trio will start the final round just four points apart.
The MX2 title will go down to the wire, although Marvin Musquin will start the season finale with a healthy 22 point advantage over factory KTM team-mate Rui Goncalves after victory at Lierop.
Goncalves beat Musquin in race one, when the Frenchman fought back from an opening lap fall to claim second, but fortunes were reversed in race two when Goncalves fell twice, damaging his right shoulder and leaving him third at the flag.
The Grand Prix of Brazil will be the fifteenth and final round of the championship, in two weeks' time.
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