Kawasaki Racing Team's Kenneth Gundersen claimed his first victory of 2002 season aboard the factory 250cc Kawasaki machine at round three of the World Motocross Championship at Teutschenthal in the former East Germany, while team-mate Mickael Maschio had to settle for a podium place in the 125cc event.

Gundersen battled for the entire 250 race to try and take the lead from reigning 125cc world champion Jamie Dobb - and looked likely to fail - but, on the last lap and within sight of victory, Dobb threw it away and handed the glory to the young Norwegian, who now moves up top second position in the championship standings.

Gundersen's task in the quarter litre class was eased when championship leader Mickael Pichon was involved in a first turn pile up with rival Fred Bolley. He recovered to take eighth place, but saw his points advantage decrease to a slender seven points. Gundersen was delighted to climb to the top step of the podium, even more so as he was suffering from an injury to his left toes following an incident on Saturday.

"I was forced to have a pain killing injection to my big toe," he explained, "I caught it under the footrest yesterday and now it's badly swollen. I was having trouble changing gear in the free practice session this morning. I had so much pain and couldn't shift gear, I was hoping for top ten and a handful of points, but to win is unbelievable.

"I saw Pichon and Bolley come close together, I managed to turn back to the inside and miss the spill, I passed Coppins on the opening laps and then the leader Dobb, but he took me right back. I was happy to just stay in second position while I struggled with 'arm pump' in my right arm. He pulled away but, in the end, I pulled him right back in. The pain was starting to come from my toe as the injection wore off, and I was still looking for a way around him when he crashed on the last lap and handed me the win. I still can't believe. What a day!

"I was happy with second place, I think I would have put myself under too much pressure having those guys like Beirer and Coppins chasing me of the whole race. The track had been very slippery, and there was only one dry line. On the corner before [Dobb] crashed, I was almost underneath him - it was the same on the downhill, it was almost like I hit him, but I didn't. I just turned off and he fell, it was probably a combination of tiredness and the end of the race, he lost concentration - which was lucky for me."

Team-mate Andrew MacFarlane had a 'coming together' off the start line, but fortunately missed the first turn clash.

"I wasn't aware that there was a big pile-up," he said, "I was unlucky, I tangled handlebars with Gordon Crockard off the start, we just got the jump together but, for some reason, we came together and I had to back off the throttle which let me turn to the inside at the first turn. I guess I came from dead last on the start straight, right through to a good position.

"I had a good feeling during the early stages of the race, by lap three I was up to eighth place and pushing forward. I held onto seventh for about ten minutes, but then I started with 'arm pump' which made me slow. I slipped to eleventh at the flag. It was not perfect, it's not the result I expected on this track as I felt sure that I was capable of finishing inside the top five.

"I feel that I am putting in consistent rides and starting to get into the points, but I know that, with each week, I can get better and start taking a few podiums. The bike is set up just right, suspension and engine, I have a good feeling, but I think I need some luck out of the gate to give me something to work on from the start. I hope we can go forward from here - I am training very hard, so I hope it starts going good soon."

Maschio was narrowly beaten for top 125cc honours by Belgian Patrick Caps in what was one of the best and closest races in recent years. Maschio swapped the lead with the young 17-year old Kiwi Ben Townley in the action-packed opening laps, but trouble with his goggles caused him to lose a few seconds advantage and see first place slip away.

"We changed lead several times." admitted Maschio, "I didn't want to be beaten by a kid, but he was riding very aggressively, changing lines often. I attacked him straight away to regain the lead."

As the lead changed time and time again, Caps started to pull through from just outside of the top five and, by lap six, was in a position and had the speed top pass both leader Maschio and Townley.

"The pace was intense," said Maschio, who admitted that he had loved every minute of the battle royal.

"I am very happy, the team have done a great job setting up the bike. I only wish I could have repeated the win that I had in Spain here today. I was very confident that I could win again. Caps was riding very fast, but I think the Kawasaki is as good if not better than the KTM. Everyone accuses my bike of being slow, but again I showed that they are wrong. I had trouble with my goggles, which lost me several seconds and a little concentration. Maybe I could have won, but second place is enough to keep me in the lead of the championship as we go to France for the next GP in my home country."

Team manager Jan de Groot climbed to the top step of the podium to join Gundersen in the 250 presentation, the second manufacture's trophy win out of three races.

"The boys all rode very well today," he said, "I had every confidence that Kenneth would win a race very soon. Dobb fell and we won, but that's racing - he put in a superb performance and deserves the victory. Mickael too rode a great race and was unlucky not to win, he had trouble with his goggles which could have interfered with his results. He is still leading the championship and is looking more and more confident on the bike each race. Andrew struggled with 'arm pump', without that he could easily go top five."