Tony Cairoli took his first victory of the 2009 MX1 season, and the world championship lead, in Sunday's inaugural Turkish Grand Prix near Istanbul.
The Italian superstar, winner of two MX2 titles, previously won a premier-class race as a 'wild-card' at Donington Park in 2007, but Sunday's victory was his first as a full time MX1 rider.
Cairoli took his Red Bull Yamaha to two perfect heat victories, the second of which was the toughest as he had to battle countryman and reigning world champion David Philippaerts, who caught and passed Cairoli in the early stages.
Tony carefully studied his opponent, before being prompted to attack by closing Suzuki riders Steve Ramon and Ken de Dycker. After taking the lead, Cairoli stormed to a comfortable four-second victory, while Philippaerts was left to fend off 2007 champion Ramon.
Cairoli had won by eight seconds from Ramon in moto one, but the Belgian was able to claim second overall thanks to his 2-3 race finishes. Philippaerts, fourth in race one for Monster Yamaha, completed the end-of-day rostrum.
Honda's Kevin Strijbos took third ahead of Philippaerts in race one, but could only manager seventh after a fall in race two.
With three rounds gone, Cairoli now leads the world championship by four points from former leader de Dycker (5-4 on Sunday) with Philippaerts ten points from Cairoli in third. Bulgarian Grand Prix winner Josh Coppins, who came into the event second, has slipped to fourth place after two eighth places on Sunday.
In the MX2 class, American Zach Osborne claimed his first grand prix victory after a tense finish to moto two, which saw the Yamaha rider, Honda's Marvin Musquin and Kawasaki's Steven Frossard covered by 2.5sec at the flag.
Osborne had finished third in race one, behind championship leader Paulin Gautier and his fellow Frenchman Vongsana Khounsith, but the pair were ruled out of overall contention due to eighth and twelfth places in moto two.
Nevertheless, Paulin continues to lead the world championship, now by five points from Musquin, with Osborne up to fifth.