David Philippaerts comes back into the Yamaha fold with his own DP19 Racing team and a return to the YZ450F that he steered to FIM Motocross World Championship history over the course of a five-year spell running the ‘tuning forks’ logo.
As the first Italian FIM MX1 Motocross World Champion, Philippaerts will hold a special place in the history of the sport for his country. The 30 year old might be entering the twilight of his career at the top level but his historic championship win in 2008 in just his second year in the premier class, combined with his fantastically aggressive and battling style, means he is still a popular draw and one of the strongest and most experienced racers in the category.
Of Belgian-Italian descent, ‘DP19’ has a decent background in motocross with two national titles in 2003 and 2004. His father and brother both worked and raced in the sport and the rider was tutored by 1999 500cc world champion Andrea Bartolini in his younger days.
Philippaerts first came to prominence during 2005 after some positive showings on a 125cc two-stroke in MX2-GP; a personal-best was achieved with fourth position at Teutschenthal in Germany. He was given a factory four-stroke after an injury to brand-mate Tyla Rattray in the wake of his German efforts and his career headed on a rapid upward trajectory from that moment. 2005 yielded two wins, his first at St Jean d’Angely, France (only three weeks after his debut podium finish in Great Britain) and then another in South Africa. Now a main player in the MX2-GP cast list, Philippaerts returned stronger, fitter and more confident for 2006 and increased his statistics. Four wins were complimented by six podiums and 3rd position in the championship in what was an incredibly competitive contest that year with names like Cairoli, Pourcel, Rattray and Searle involved.
The Italian’s height and larger stature meant he was a natural fit for the demands of 450cc machinery and he moved up to MX1 in 2007, taking an unexpected win in Germany. Philippaerts emerged from the shadow of more experienced team-mate Josh Coppins in 2008 to string together an impressive run of consistency and two more wins on a YRRD works Yamaha to clinch the championship in an immensely dramatic and emotional finale to the series in front of delirious home fans at Faenza. In 2009 and 2010 Philippaerts was again one of a small group looking to capture the elusive prize but a training accident in 2011 led to a wrist break and represented the first set-back in his career as a recovery period of four months was necessary. David was also luckless in 2012. After a thrilling victory in Mexico he re-injured his wrists and missed the second part of the season. 2013 was about rejuvenation and the fire showed strong signs of life for Philippaerts who led the field at his home GP at Maggiora and was a top ten regular. He finished last summer with a memorable Motocross of Nations podium alongside Tony Cairoli and Alessandro Lupino in Germany.
A good-looking and friendly athlete, David is also a person wholly dedicated to his sport. He has represented his country at the Nations for almost ten years and enjoys a passionate following in his homeland. Renowned for some spiky on-track battles with the likes of Ken De Dycker and Clement Desalle, having Philippaerts as part of the GP paddock ensures the entertainment factor is always going to be high. For 2014 he also takes the bold move of forming his own Grand Prix team and his continued presence is a wide benefit for the championship and also Yamaha.