Zach Osborne is the most successful American to have competed in the FIM Motocross World Championship since the year 2000 after his 6th position at the fast and hard-pack Fermo circuit for the Grand Prix of Italy confirmed his 4th place in the standings of the ultra-competitive MX2 category.
The Bike it Cosworth Yamaha rider took his YZ250F to eighth and fifth in two sun-kissed motos in front of 22,500 spectators who did their best to find a vantage point on the sloping hillside a short distance from the Adriatic Sea.
The first moto of 35 minutes and 2 laps duration saw the 20 year old slot into fifth place until he suspected a slight engine misfire and eased his pace wary of crashing and losing precious points. In a straight duel with Belgian Joel Roelants in the second race later in the afternoon Osborne took no prisoners and fought for fourth spot before easing to fifth, several seconds ahead of his rival. The Virginian –who picked up three pieces of podium silverware in 2010, the first full season he has completed without injury/incident as a Pro - was fourth in the world by just one point.
"I’m just so happy with the way everything is going," he said. "We struggled a bit in the first moto and I knew for the second I would just have to put it on the line. It was a bit of a gamble but I pushed hard and it worked out. To finish fourth is huge and I felt the pressure before the second race. This result is good for the morale, the sponsors and everyone connected with the team. I am just so pumped to be here."
"I couldn’t ask for a whole lot more from this year. I had such a crappy end to 2009 I didn’t know what to expect from this season," he added. "I did a lot of work over the winter and I have to thank Kenneth Gundersen, my girlfriend, Steve and Ash for the opportunity to be here. Nick, my mechanic, we have only had one DNF this season and that wasn’t his fault. We just need to do to the Nations and do well and then get that British Championship."
Immediately prior to the Grand Prix, Osborne saw TV presenter Lisa Leyland fulfil her pledge to ride a motorcycle for the first time after receiving more than 500 wall posts on her Facebook page in a dare set by the Bike it Cosworth rider. The results can be viewed by clicking on the link.
The Grand Prix season may have finished for Osborne but the racing campaign is not yet over. He will fly home immediately to get ready for the 64th Motocross of Nations in Denver and then return to the UK where he will try to win his first Maxxis British Championship at Hawkstone Park for the final round.
Grand Prix of Italy MX2 Overall result
1. Ken Roczen (Suz); 2. Gautier Paulin (Yam); 3. Arnaud Tonus (Suz); 4. Steven Frossard (Kaw); 5. Joel Roelants (KTM); 6. Zach Osborne (Bike it Cosworth Yamaha); 7. Michael Leib (Kaw); 8. Jake Nicholls (KTM); 9. Christophe Charlier (Yam); 10. Marvin Musquin (KTM); 11. Alessandro Lupino (Yam); 12. Jeremy van Horebeek (Kaw); 13. Harri Kullas (Yam); 14. Martin Michek (TM); 15. Nikolaj Larsen (Hon); 16. Dennis Verbruggen (KTM); 17. Julien Lieber (Suzuki); 18. Shaun Simpson (KTM); 19. Deny Philippaerts (Suz); 22. Mel Pocock (Bike it Cosworth Yamaha)
Final FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship standings
1. Marvin Musquin (635); 2. Ken Roczen (574); 3. Steven Frossard (478); 4. Zach Osborne (397); 5. Joel Roelants (396); 6. Jeffrey Herlings (391); 7. Arnaud Tonus (390); 8. Shaun Simpson (367); 9. Jeremy van Horebeek (365); 10. Gautier Paulin (336); 11. Harri Kullas (329); 12. Christophe Charlier (245); 13. Jake Nicholls (241); 14. Alessandro Lupino (193); 15. Dennis Verbruggen (166); 16. Matiss Karro (136); 17. Valentin Teillet (125); 18. Nikolaj Larsen (106); 19. Michael Leib (83); 20. Nick Triest (67); 21. Mel Pocock (62)