Max Anstie rode a strong MXGP qualifying race for fifth place in the heat of Ottobiano in Italy as Tony Cairoli fell, allowing a Yamaha one-two at the top of the podium.
With series leader Jeffrey Herlings recovering from a shoulder injury, everyone expected Cairoli to dominate. But a poor start then a fall on the opening lap put him dead last.
He remounted and came through the field to seventh place, even gaining two places on the very last corner.
Cairoli even managed to set the second fastest lap in the race while riding in traffic. But it was still a tenth of a second slower than Yamaha’s Romain Febvre who overtook holeshot man Jeremy Seewer to take his first win for over a year.
Wilvo Yamaha man Seewer fended off a challenge of Clement Desalle to take second place with Paulin fourth, chased home by Anstie.
Brit Searle had a good start and held on for eighth after losing a place to Cairoli on the very last corner. Shaun Simpson took 13th, one spot in front of ex world champ Tim Gajser who fell in the first corner and rode through the pack.
Ulsterman Graeme Irwin took 16th place in the hot, sandy conditions.