After suffering his first defeat of the 2007 MX1 season last timeout in Portugal, Josh Coppins retaliated with a hard fought double victory during an exciting Grand Prix of Italy, at Mantova.
The factory Yamaha rider was muscled out early in race one as the 'crazy' young guns fought tooth and nail up front. It proved a smart move and, when team-mate Marc de Reuver collided with early leader and home hero David Philippaerts, the Kiwi began pressing forward - passing Kevin Strijbos and Ken de Dyker to take the lead. Former CAS Honda team-mate de Dycker retaliated but Coppins quickly stamped his authority on the race and took control to the checkered flag. Kawasaki's Tanel Leok took second with pole sitter Strijbos third.
Track conditions were considerably rougher in the second moto but Coppins was placed well at the start and took his time in getting past fast starter Mike Brown. A challenge from the combative de Dycker saw the Belgian seize the lead, but Josh regrouped and re-passed de Dyker with five minutes left on the clock to claim a perfect double victory, his second of the season.
"It's no secret that I don't like this track and it was pretty obvious yesterday," said Coppins, who was only seventh fastest in qualifying. "I worked really hard with the team. The Yamaha Rinaldi guys were very smart in making some decisions for me. We really improved the bike over the two days. I knew my race pace was good - I just couldn't go that little bit extra to put the whole lap together so I had to be a little bit smart and fight to the end. The first moto was crazy - a lot of guys were trying to win the race in the first ten minutes but I just let them do their own thing. This is probably my best win ever. I kept a cool head and played it smart and did better than ever expected."
de Dyker held on for second in race two ahead of de Reuver, but sixth place for Leok was enough to hand the Kawasaki rider second overall. Fellow KX rider Sebastien Pourcel completed the end of day podium after a pair of fourth places. Coppins will now head to round five of the championship, in Germany, with a 36 point lead over Portuguese GP winner Strijbos.
In the MX2 class, home hero Antonio Cairoli gave the Mantova fans exactly what they wanted to see by winning both races to continue his unbeaten 2007 run. Red Bull KTM's Tyla Rattray took second overall with 2-2 finishes. Young team-mate Tommy Searle completed the podium with 3-34 results.
Reigning champion Christophe Pourcel recovered from a bad start to take a close fourth in race one, but suffered a costly fall in race two, dropping him to third in the championship standings behind Cairoli and Rattray.