Yamaha Red Bull De Carli's Tony Cairoli dominated the first ever Grand Prix of Turkey for his second career MX1 success and second victory in just four appearances in the category; his first as a full-time member of the class this season. In a positive day for Yamaha, America's Zach Osborne set a landmark with maiden spoils in the MX2 division.
A surprisingly bounteous turnout of 30,000 spectators crowded the Hezarfen facility in a country with little-known motocross affection were rewarded with two exciting second motos in both MX1 and MX2 as the first affairs were processional largely wrought-out through the curious table of operation that was the new track.
A multitude of tight corners, followed by jumps, waves or sandy sections was punctuated with a terrain that veered from hard rock to rutted soft earth. The course had many riders scratching their heads on Saturday, not only for an effective suspension set-up and tire choice but also how to find effective overtaking lines.
Cairoli, pointing the bike at will, escaped from a proactive Steve Ramon (Teka Suzuki) and Kevin Strijbos for moto one but had a harder job to contain friend, countryman and World Champion David Philippaerts in moto two, while Ramon kept in touch but unable to affect the Italian duel. As a consequence of the double moto win he could prize the red plate from Ken De Dycker (Teka Suzuki, fourth) and front the MX1 pack for the first time, while confirming his status as a valid contender for Philippaerts' crown.
On either side of Cairoli were Philippaerts and Ramon, both making their first rostrum appearances of the season. For Ramon the occurrences in Turkey marked a return to the kind of speed that netted his the '07 title and pushes the Belgian into a firm patch of form before heading into favoured Dutch sand in a fortnight.
Yamaha's day was complete with their first MX2 victory of the season and first for almost a year. Zach Osborne set career and category landmarks by earning his first GP win and also that of the United States in the MX2 division. It was also the first time the National Anthem had been heard in the World Championship this century.
The teenager from Richmond, Virginia, was third behind world championship leader Gautier Paulin (Kawasaki Bud Racing) and the surprising Frenchman Khounsith Vongsana (Honda SRS Racing) in a prosaic first moto but tussled with, and defeated, Bulgarian victor Marvin Musquin (NGS Honda) for the win in the second sprint. The two Frenchman made the podium for the second week in a row.
The championship standings reveal the tight competition in MX1 with Cairoli now ahead but seven riders are within the space of a single moto win (25 points). MX2 is a little clear cut with Paulin and Musquin running very close but with a 25 point gap to Davide Guarneri in third place. Osborne has leapt from obscurity (after his 10th-place finish in Bulgaria and non-score in the mud of Faenza) to fifth.
After three weeks, three GPs and plenty of miles on the clock, the World Championship now exhales for a well-earned break. The Eurocircuit in Valkenswaard, Holland will present round four of 15 for the first trip into the sand this season.