After their one-two results at the Mantova Starcross International the previous weekend, when new signing Philippaerts had got the better of world title favourite Coppins, both headed straight for the opening round of the Italian championship.

This time it was Coppins' turn to take the top step of the rostrum after the New Zealander produced two strong performances to walk away with the chequered flag in both motos. Philippaerts was second on both occasions and is now the 'provisional' leader of the standings as his team-mate will not contest the full series.

MX1 was largely a contest between the two factory riders. Coppins led the first race with Philippaerts doggedly hanging onto his tail. After 22 minutes Philippaerts took his chance and relegated the winner of five grands prix in 2007 to second spot. Coppins remained composed and watched the lines of the Tuscan before counter-attacking within the final two laps to seize the victory.

"It was a good race and another step forward for me as I feel my riding is getting better," said Coppins. "David was on the pace and we were both going fast this weekend. I still have some more meetings before the first GP and we will continue to work and build-up to the first grand prix."

The second moto was a straight-forward affair as Coppins set a brace of blistering laps early into the second half of the sprint to break away from the Italian.

"I did not win but I am quite pleased with how the day went," said Philippaerts. "Mainly because I know my current level is good; if I can push Josh hard and also beat Antonio then I am heading down the right path. I feel great on the bike and I know there is better to come."

MX2 world champion Antonio Cairoli was third in both sprints on just his second appearance steering the Yamaha Red Bull De Carli YZ450F.

"It was a positive meeting," the Sicilian said. "I knew that David and Josh would have a slight advantage but I must remember that this is my first race and I haven't done that much training with the 450. I believe we have made the right choice for this year and in the next few races I will be getting better and faster. We have started the season now and I am pleased with how it went. If we continue in this direction then I will be satisfied."

Cairoli will switch back to the 250 for the forthcoming GP season. In Montevarchi the quarter-litre class was decided between Yamaha Team Ricci's Nicolas Aubin (the eventual winner with second and first positions), Davide Guarneri (fifth and third places) and 3C Yamaha's Manuel Monni (winner of the first moto and fifth in the second).

The second round of the series follows quickly with the Yamaha Motocross Team and the three MX2 squads in action next weekend at Castiglione Del Lago. Coppins will head north-west to race the Valence International in southern France.

Results Montevarchi Italian Championship - Round 1:

RACE 1: 1.Coppins (Yamaha); 2.Philippaerts (Yamaha); 3.Cairoli (Yamaha); 4.De Reuver (Honda); 5. Salvini (Suzuki).
RACE 2: 1.Coppins (Yamaha); 2.Philippaerts (Yamaha); 3.Cairoli (Yamaha); 4.De Reuver (Honda); 5. Salvini (Suzuki).

RACE 1: 1.Monni (Yamaha); 2.Aubin (Yamaha); 3.Tarroux (KTM); 4.Pellegrini (KTM); 5.Guarneri (Yamaha)
RACE 2: 1.Aubin (Yamaha); 2.Bonini (Yamaha); 3.Guarneri (Yamaha); 4.Seistola (Honda); 5.Monni (Yamaha)



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