Sébastien Tortelli took his first grand prix pole position since 1998 at Agueda on Saturday, but Sunday in Portugal proved far less fruitful as the exciting Frenchman fell in both races while battling with world champion Stefan Everts.
The first two rounds of the 2006 MX1 Motocross World Championship had both fallen to reigning nine-times title holder Everts - although returning former champion Tortelli took a heat win at the Zolder season opener - but the pair were yet to 'properly' race each other… which would all change in race one at Agueda.
The race was the best of the season so far, with Everts taking the holeshot - but being quickly caught by Tortelli. The pair then fought for supremacy for the rest of the 40-minute plus two laps outing - with the KTM mounted Tortelli briefly overtaking Everts, only for the Yamaha star to quickly retaliate - leaving the #72 just a few bike lengths clear as the last lap began.
A ragged looking Tortelli gave his all to overtake Everts, but got cross-rutted on the face of an uphill jump - throwing his feet off the pegs and trailing them horizontally behind him as he desperately clung to the handlebars, then finally lost control as both he and his 450 bounced high in the air upon landing. Sebastien slightly injured his left foot, but was able to slowly limp home in a safe second.
13secs behind the Tortelli at the flag was Ken de Dycker, who took third for CAS Honda ahead of Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos and Tortelli's team-mate Jonathan Barragan.
Race two saw Tortelli get a much needed holeshot, but a confident Everts was quickly climbing all over the KTM's rear wheel - and quickly took the lead from the Frenchman. A repeat of the race one thriller looked likely, but then Tortelli fell through a rhythm section - and was clearly in pain as he sat holding his leg.
The #103 was subsequently diagnosed with a dislocated right hip, which was reset under general anaesthetic within an hour at the medical centre and he travelled to a local hospital soon afterwards. Tortelli, who was seen so many recent seasons ruined by injury, may now have lost a shot at the 2006 crown. Sebastien will fly back to France on Monday where a detailed evaluation of his recovery time will be made.
In his absence, Everts settled into a safe lead - responding to an unexpectedly strong push by Barragan to keep several seconds ahead of the Spaniard - while Strijbos, a heat winner last time out in Spain, completed the race two top three. Everts thus claimed his 90th grand prix victory with a perfect 1-1 sweep while Barragan was an excellent second overall and Strijbos third.
"I knew that this track suits Sébastien and my plan was to be more aggressive than usual," said Everts afterwards. "When he passed me in the first race I reacted immediately and passed him back, and then kept my lines as I knew he was fastest on some places.