Thor’s Gautier Paulin has claimed a sensational victory at round 9 of the FIM Motocross World championship held on the historical Maggiora circuit in Italy. The Factory Kawasaki racer, went head to head with reigning world champion, Antonio Cairoli, andcame out on top in an epic final moto battle in front of almost 40.000 spectators. THOR’s Alessandro Lupino had the Italian crowd cheering him on as he claimed another solid podium result.
Paulin started his Italian GP off with a bang as he cruised to victory in Saturday’s MX qualification race. David Philippaerts was having his best qualification race of the season on board his 1986 David Bailey – Maggiora Honda replica machine but then went down hard, much to the dismay of his home crowd.
Philippaerts would dig deep to ride the first MX1 moto on Sunday with a suspected broken nose but another crash sidelined the Italianformer MX1 world champ.
The tricky hillside circuit witnessed an exciting first MX1 moto as Paulin had to come through the pack after being ousted out in the first turn. Belgian, Clement Desalle, took advantage of a good start and took the victory while Paulin put in a last minute charge to catch second place man, Ken Dedycker, but he could not break the Belgian giant and had to settle for 3rd. Fellow THOR team-mate Jeremy Van Horebeek was holding his own for most of the moto until he let Cairoli by after occupying 4th place.
The final MX1 moto would be one for the history books as Gautier Paulin grabbed the hole-shot and put a quick 3 second gap between his Factory Kawasaki and the rest of the pack. Cheered on by an electric crowd, Cairoli got two breaks when Van Horebeek and Dedycker let him by and he managed to close down Paulin’s advantage. With 3 laps remaining, Paulin changed his lines to defend the Italian’s attack and with one lap to go he pushed hard to break his nemesis and take an emotional victory which had the Frenchman holding back his tears on the podium.
Alesandro Lupino was the outright crowd favourite in the MX2 class and after 6th place in moto 1 the Italian youngster was determined to give the crowd their monies worth. Lupino charged through the pack in the final outing and with every position he made up, a roar would echo throughout theMaggiora hills. Lupino made his last move on Russian, Alexander Tonkov with two laps to go and the crowd erupted to cheer him to the finish line in 2nd place. Christophe Charlier lost out on his starts scoring a 5-6 result and was disappointed to have missed out on a podium opportunity.
With the series now passing the halfway point, MX1 and MX2 riders will have a short week off before 3 tough GP’s back to back will take the championship to Sweden, Lativa and Finland.
Images: CDS + Bavo