Suzuki have wrapped up the 2008 FIM MX1 Manufacturers World Championship due to the outstanding efforts of the Teka Suzuki WMX1 team and its riders Steve Ramon and Ken De Dycker who powered their aluminium-framed, fuel injected RM-Z450s to second and third place in the individual championship classification after 15 had-fought rounds.
With overnight rain dampening the already tacky Faenza circuit, conditions were perfect for today's two points-paying motos. With the championship still to be decided between Ramon, De Dycker and series leader David Philippaerts, everything was still to play for ahead of the two 35-minute plus two lap motos.
While it was reigning MX1 World Champion Ramon who entered the event with the strongest chance of stealing the MX1 title from under the nose of the Italian rider who was enjoying his second home GP of the year - the Grand Prix of Citta Di Faenza held at Faenza - it was actually Ken De Dycker who looked more capable of clinching the championship for Suzuki after the first moto of the day.
De Dycker started moto one in 12th but soon started scything his way through the pack. Making steady progress through the talent stacked field until he reached the runner-up spot at half distance, he then found the distance between himself and the race leader Max Nagl to be far too much no matter how hard he tried to close the gap.
Ramon meanwhile had started ninth but struggled to make any forward progress through the battling field ahead of him. The champ actually dropped back to 13th place before picking up the pace and moving back inside the top 10 at three-quarter race distance. After eventually losing another position to Josh Coppins in the closing few laps, Ramon's final ranking of 11th meant that he dropped to third place in the series rankings some 24 points behind the series leader and one behind his Teka Suzuki WMX1 team-mate De Dycker.
But Ramon came out with all guns blazing in moto two. Gating fourth, Ramon soon made light work of both Coppins and Philippaerts to move into second place on lap three and then tried hard to close the already commanding lead that Nagl had opened up.
Although Ramon would close the gap slightly in the next few laps Nagl's lead proved to be far too big for the Belgian rider to make any real inroads. Finally settling for second place in the race, Ramon also secured second place in the final series standings after finishing fourth overall on the day.
"I always start every season wanting to be World Champion but the way things worked out this year meant that I started this race knowing that it would be difficult to take the title again," said Ramon. "In the first moto I didn't have such a good race and then I knew it was definitely over. I didn't have such a good start then I made a few mistakes. My riding wasn't too good and I found it difficult to pass.
"The second moto was better; I had a good rhythm and I was able to push a little bit to catch Nagl who was leading the race but then I made some small mistakes and eased off a little. I knew it was important not to crash because then Ken would take second in the championship from me and I didn't want that to happen.
"It has been a long season with many ups and downs, I made some big mistakes this year and you have to be there every GP or else it costs you the title - Philippaerts was consistent and he deserved to win. I'm happy that Suzuki won the manufacturers title though and I'm proud to have played a big part in that success."
After finishing fifth in moto two for second overall on the day, De Dycker was also pleased that Suzuki had won the manufacturers title but was a little downbeat after being unable to catch his team-mate and secure second in the series. However Keeno was happy with the progress he's made this season and also with finishing third in the final world championship rankings.
"If somebody had told me at the start of the season that I'd finish third in the championship I wouldn't have believed them," said De Dycker. "It's been a long and hard championship season and I'm really pleased with my final position.
"The first race was good for me. I was riding well and I came from a long way back to finish second. The second moto wasn't so good, I got another bad start and I could see Steve ahead of me but I think that made me a little nervous because I wanted to catch him so much - it just didn't work out for me.
"I'm really happy that Suzuki won the manufacturers title - it really means a lot to Suzuki, the team and also the riders. I think it goes a long way to prove just how good the Suzuki RM-Z450 is as a bike.
"I've learned a lot this year and for sure next year there will be things that I'll do differently. That's really important that I learn from my mistakes and I can gain motivation from the fact that I know I can still improve."
MX1 Moto 1: 1 Max Nagl (KTM - GER) 38:49.652, 2 Ken De Dycker (Suzuki - BEL) +0:31.860, 3 David Philippaerts (Yamaha - ITA) +0:35.891, 4 Jonathan Barragan (KTM - ESP) +0:42.932, 5 Billy MacKenzie (Honda - GB) +0:44.356, 6 Marc De Reuver (Honda - NED) 0:45.365, 7 Julien Bill (Honda - SUI) +0:46.998, 8 Clement Desalle (Suzuki - BEL) +0:49.515, 9 Marcus Schiffer (KTM - GER) +0:57.967, 10 Josh Coppins (Yamaha - NZL) +1:00.552, 11 Steve Ramon (Suzuki - BEL) +1:01.630.
MX1 Moto 2: 1 Max Nagl (KTM - GER) 39:20.428, 2 Steve Ramon (Suzuki - BEL) +0:05.714, 3 Josh Coppins (Yamaha - NZL) +0:10.748, 4 Jonathan Barragan (KTM - ESP) +0:13.861, 5 Ken De Dycker (Suzuki - BEL) +0:15.936, 6 Tanel Leok (Kawasaki - EST) +0:17.332, 7 Clement Desalle (Suzuki - BEL) +0:48.880, 8 Carlos Campano (Yamaha - ESP) +0:56.674, 9 David Philippaerts (Yamaha - ITA) +0:57.303, 10 Billy MacKenzie (Honda - GB) +0:57.990.
Final World Championship standings: 1 David Philippaerts (Yamaha - ITA) 509 points, 2 Steve Ramon (Suzuki - BEL) 495, 3 Ken De Dycker (Suzuki - BEL) 490, 4 Jonathan Barragan (KTM - ESP) 455, 5 Josh Coppins (Yamaha - NZL) 446, 6 Max Nagl (KTM - GER) 444, 7 Sebastien Pourcel (Kawasaki - FRA) 392, 8 Tanel Leok (Kawasaki - EST) 352, 9 Billy MacKenzie (Honda - GB) 320, 10 Marc De Reuver (Honda - NED) 292.
Final Manufacturer World Championship standings: 1 Suzuki 587 points, 2 Yamaha 583, 3 KTM 575, 4 Kawasaki 518, 5 Honda 470, 6 TM 43, 7 Aprilia 23.