Coppins, Cairoli victorious in GP opener.

Pre-season favourite Josh Coppins clinched overall victory in the season-opening Grand Prix of Benelux - but was forced to settle for second behind Jonathan Barragan in the final moto.

The first ever MX1 class moto without Stefan Everts saw pole sitter Ken de Dycker seize an early lead in front of former CAS Honda team-mate Coppins, before the New Zealander and his new factory Yamaha burst ahead for a comfortable victory.

Suzuki's Steve Ramon crashed while following the leaders, but was quickly back on the bike and later passed de Dycker on lap 15 on his way to second. de Dycker, who appeared to struggle badly with arm pump, was able to collect third ahead of Ramon's team-mate Kevin Strijbos.

Race two saw a dream start for KTM as rookie David Philippaerts and experienced factory team-mate Barragan led the field, with Coppins and Ramon battling for third. Philippaerts lost the lead on lap four, then retired with technical problems, but Barragan had no such worries and rode faultlessly to the flag.

Coppins settled for second, with his own rookie team-mate de Reuver completing the top three after passing Philippaerts and de Dycker. Strijbos raced a consistent moto to finish fourth, after being eighth at the end of the opening lap. Team-mate Ramon crashed and finished sixth.

That gave Coppins the overall courtesy of his 1-2 results, with the Everts trained Barragan second and Ramon third.

In the MX2 class, former world champion and 2006 runner-up Antonio Cairoli won both races, with KTM's Tyla Rattray second overall and fellow South African Gareth Swanepoel third for his first ever GP podium. Defending champion Christophe Pourcel was fourth overall after 7-3 finishes and despite a spectacular accident with Tommy Searle in race two.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Josh Coppins – Yamaha.
Antonio Cairoli – Yamaha.
Antonio Cairoli celebrate 2009 MX1 title victory
Antonio Cairoli – Yamaha
Ken Roczen won his first ever GP at his fifth MX2 appearance.
Antonio Cairoli (Yamaha).
Billy Mackenzie checks out British GP progress.
Barragan, Cairoli and Leok on the Valkenswaard podium
Josh Coppins - Yamaha.
Cairoli and Philippaerts.
Antonio Cairoli - Yamaha.
Tanel Leok wins a muddy Faenza MX1 season opener.
Tony Cairoli and David Philippaerts.
Antonio Cairoli - Yamaha.
Josh Coppins - Yamaha.
Josh Coppins celebrates 2008 MX1 victory (Pic: CDS).
Tyla Rattray and Antonio Cairoli.
Tommy Searle edges out fellow Brit Shaun Simpson for moto victory in Bulgaria.

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