Benoit Paturel is a reserved character, hence why it is rare for him to hog headlines or pop up on social media. The enigmatic Frenchman was lured into the spotlight yesterday, however, when the BOS Project KTM team released a scathing post on social media that questioned many aspects of his programme. The release was unprecedented and has caused countless questions to be asked by fans across the globe.
Seeing as Benoit Paturel is not the most popular rider in the FIM Motocross World Championship, there is a chance that you are desperately trying to figure out everything that he has been through. Allow us to catch you up. Paturel endured a mediocre campaign in the MX2 class, his final year in the division due to the age-restriction rule, and internal injuries forced him to withdraw from the series prematurely. Although he explored many avenues, he struggled to nail down an MXGP deal and it seemed that he was going to be left without a home. The BOS Project KTM team opened up a second spot on their team at that stage though and gave him an opportunity to show what he can do.
The deal with BOS was finalised right at the end of November and not much was released following that, which was hardly surprising. That is just the way that Paturel goes about his business. Now, more than a month later, BOS have dropped a statement that explains that he has refused to co-operate and has no real interest in piloting a 450 SX-F. The team are particularly baffled by the latter, as the bike has obviously achieved so much across the globe in many disciplines. Most riders actually strive to land on the bike at whatever cost! I personally contacted Paturel for an interview, as it is only right that he gets to have his say, but he never replied.
Around five rounds into the previous FIM Motocross World Championship, a source confirmed to us that Yamaha had offered Paturel a deal in the premier class for this year. It was not specified what team that would be with, however, but they supposedly confirmed that they would take care of him and ensure that good equipment is available. That same source claimed that Paturel turned the deal down, as he felt that he could get something must better. Perhaps there is another side to that story? It certainly seems as though there is a theme in place when it comes to the decisions that are being made though.
Benoit Paturel is a phenomenal rider, of course, and deserves to have a competitive contract. The results that he registered throughout his time as an MX2 rider were not consistently exceptional though, so eyebrows would have been raised had he walked straight into a factory team. There is a chance that he could end up rising to the occasion in the premier class, much like Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser, but that is a huge gamble at this stage. With that in mind, would it not have made sense for him to tough it out with BOS Project KTM and show some flashes of brilliances to ensure that he will be in the running for a better deal next year?
There is an additional twist to this tangled web, as Team HRC are hunting for a replacement for Brian Bogers. It is unlikely that Bogers will even be on a bike when the Grand Prix of Patagonia-Argentina fires into life, so someone will have to pilot his CRF450RW for a handful of rounds at least. It is thought that Paturel is desperately chasing that position, but then what happens when Bogers returns? It is so easy to be forgotten about in this sport, so sitting on the couch and waiting for the phone to ring would be the worst possible decision. Just look at how that has worked out for a handful of stars in the United States.
This plot could thicken further in the coming weeks, as a rumour surfaced yesterday from another reliable source. Supposedly rumours were buzzing around the paddock at the AX World Tour, a series that Evgeny Bobryshev now resides in, that BOS Project KTM were going to sign ‘777’ as a replacement for Paturel. The same source speculated that Bobryshev is still going to race in Britain for Suzuki, but could potentially jump between series. That is just speculation at this stage and does seem rather far-fetched, but there is clearly a lot happening. Silly season is far from over.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer