Eight times world champion Tony Cairoli totally dominated both the MX1 and Elite Superfinal races in the opening Italian championship round at Riola Sardo in Sardinia. Riding on the deep sand track he uses for pre-season training, the Italian sent out a message that he’s back on top form as he pulled two huge holeshots and won both races by huge margins.
But it was disaster for former world champ Romain Febvre who crashed hard in the second moto and looked hurt. Surrounded by medics, it took him most of the moto to get back to his feet.
In the opening MX2 moto, Jorge Prado took the holeshot from his KTM team-mate Pauls Jonass and Yamaha’s Benoit Paturel. Paturel soon got by the Latvian and set off in pursuit of the talented Spaniard at the front.
He stayed right behind the KTM man but couldn’t make an attempt at passing as Prado took the win.
Cairoli took the holeshot and led the MX1 race from the chasing Hondas of Tim Gajser, Evgeny Bobryshev then the Yamahas of Jeremy Van Horebeek and Romain Febvre and then Husky aces Max Anstie and Tanel Leok.
Van Horebeek soon muscled his way past Bobryshev and then chased down Gajser and sneaked through to second place with three laps to go as Cairoli cleared off to a huge 18-second lead.
Febvre eventually got by Bobby for fourth as Leok sneaked by Anstie for sixth place, in front of Glenn Coldenhoff, Max Nagl, Arnaud Tonus and Gert Krestinov. Shaun Simpson was 15th, one place in front of Martin Barr and Ken De Dycker.
In the MX1 versus MX2 Elite Superfinal, Cairoli once again took the holeshot and pulled away to a huge lead as a big crash took down half a dozen riders including Paturel. He was uninjured but couldn’t continue. As Cairoli led, the battle for second was between Van Horebeek, Gajser and Bobryshev, as Arnaud Tonus fought his way into fifth in front of the battling MX2 riders Jonass and Prado. Both Tonus and Prado fell, dropping down the field.
Gajser worked his way past Van Horebeek to take second place in the closing laps of the moto and pulled back a few seconds on leader Cairoli who started to cruise with a ten-second lead. Then with two laps to go, Gajser slipped off and remounted third, handing back second place to Van Horebeek with Bobryshev fourth.
Fifth was KTM’s Glenn Coldenhoff, with Jonass the best MX2 rider in sixth, in front of Briton Max Anstie in seventh. Simpson had a better race in 10th but Martin Barr was 24th.