Philippaerts, Rattray crowned at Faenza
15 September 2008
David Philippaerts (MX1) and Tyla Rattray (MX2) have won the 2008 Motocross World Championships at the 15th and final round of the season at Faenza on Sunday.
In the premier 450cc class, Philippaerts arrived in front of his home fans needing to protect a 14 point lead over reigning world champion Steve Ramon.
On a day when KTM's Max Nagl claimed two perfect moto wins, Philippaerts soaked up the pressure to rise from eighth to third in moto one, while Ramon managed only eleventh.
Indeed, with Teka Suzuki team-mate Ken de Dycker claiming second place, Ramon lost second in the championship heading into the final moto of the year - when Philippaerts needed only three points to secure his first world crown.
The Italian made a made a fast start, but was ultimately content to slip back to a safe ninth, whilst Nagl led from start to finish and Ramon retook second in the championship by finishing 5.7secs behind the untouchable German.
de Dycker suffered a poor start and could only reach fifth by the chequered flag, enough to secure second overall behind Nagl in the grand prix, but costing him second in the final standings by just five points to Ramon.
Philippaerts finished the season 14 points clear of Ramon and, although he never claimed a single pole position, the consistent 24-year-old lifted the crown courtesy of two grand prix wins and seven podiums.
"It was a very long season, both Steve and Ken have been very fast and I am very happy about this title, there is not much else to say," he smiled. "I have been taking this championship race by race, I think the moment I realised I could actually be World Champion was the second moto today!
"Consistency has been one of the reasons of my success, I finished most of the motos and scored good points. I would like to thank my girlfriend Alice, my sponsors, Michele [Rinaldi] who helped me very much this year and all the people around me."
"I won many titles with foreign riders, this time it is an Italian rider winning and most of my team is made of Italians so it is something very special," said team manager Rinaldi. "The crowd today was very warm and I think it has been a special day for the press and us as well."
Suzuki secured the manufacturers' crown, while KTM's Jonathan Barragan - third overall at Faenza - finished fourth in the points, nine ahead of Philippaerts' team-mate Josh Coppins. Nagl was just two points further back, with Sebastien Pourcel the top Kawasaki rider in seventh, one place clear of KX colleague Tanel Leok. The lead Honda rider was only ninth (Billy Mackenzie), with fellow red rider Marc de Reuver tenth overall.
In MX2, Rattray brought a comfortable 33 point lead over KTM team-mate Tommy Searle into Faenza and, although Searle was able to win race one, second place for the South African secured his long awaited first world championship with one moto to spare.
Searle, who will race in the AMA next season, then finished his MX2 career in perfect style with victory in race two, while Rattray took a relaxed fourth. With Joel Roelants claiming the final overall podium position, courtesy of 8-2 race finishes, it was an orange one-two-three at Faenza.
"It feels great after I had some tough last years especially with my ACL [injury]. Coming back this year and winning the championship is great," said Rattray, who finished the season 23 points clear of Searle. "I want to thank my parents, my mum and Wayne - they have been there since day one. They have been behind me all the way. I would like to thank also my trainer Russell and all the people around me including Stefan [Everts] and the whole KTM team. To me this is like a dream come true, the Championship was everything for me."
"Winning it as a rider is much different, now I feel like a little part of this achievement," said former ten time world champion Everts. "I tried to have the whole team going into one direction and I am happy to be world champion again with Tyla.
"I think what people should remember is that Tyla was leading the championship when Toni [Cairoli] got injured, the pressure was on his shoulders. He has won this championship fair and square. Our plan was to challenge the MX2 Title in 2008, we won it and I want to thank the whole team," added the Belgian legend.
KTM also won the MX2 manufacturers' championship, whilst Yamaha's Nicola Aubin sealed third in the riders' standings, over 200 points behind Rattray and Searle! Seam Simpson, who will graduate to the factory KTM team next season, was fourth with future team-mate Rui Goncalves fifth. Yamaha's double world champion Cairoli slipped to sixth due to his injury absence.
Rattray will move to MX1 with KTM in 2009.
The majority of grand prix riders will be back on track at the forthcoming Red Bull Motocross of Nations, at Donington Park on September 28.