Kawasaki Racing Team leader Gautier Paulin recorded his third podium finish in four GPs this year when the FIM World MX1 Motocross Championship visited Italy for the GP of Trentino at Arco.
The Frenchman rode a clever first race on the switchback track made treacherous by loose stones to take over second place on lap six of 20 in a tight tussle for the leading positions. His hopes of victory were squashed at the opening turn in race two when an incident in his tracks forced Gautier to ride over a rival machine, leaving him a lowly 13th on lap one. Setting lap times the same as the leader he advanced methodically to fourth at the chequered flag and now trails second in the series by just seven points.
Tommy Searle had his best GP of the year to consolidate his top six series ranking in this, his rookie MX1 GP season. The CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit teamster got two tremendous starts to round the first turn in second place each time and he too would have been a candidate for the podium but for an unfortunate incident at the second corner of race two. Having finished fifth in the opener, he was hit from behind and found himself in last position before an inspired comeback as he charged back through the pack to sixth.
Jeremy Van Horebeek’s unlucky introduction to MX1 GP racing continued as he hurt his shoulder during qualifying, but the gutsy Belgian showed his spirit to put in two top ten gritty rides despite the pain.
Gautier Paulin: “I had a good feeling on this track, but the second start was not what I am used to and there was a pile-up at turn one and I had to ride over another bike! It was difficult to come back through the field after that, even though I posted fast laps throughout the forty minutes. There were many stones on this track, and when you’re following another rider you got hit many times on your body! It’s great to be back on the podium in third overall, but it could have been better. We got to Bulgaria next week and I won there last year.”
Tommy Searle: “I’m pleased with my weekend; we continue to improve our results and I’m happy about that. We’ve found some good settings on the bike and I got two great starts today. I was second for a long time in race one but then I got a little tight and fell back to fifth. I had another good start in race two, but at the second turn Desalle hit me and we crashed; I don’t know why he tried to go so fast in this corner, that was his fault. Then I came back to sixth; it was probably my best race so far on a 450, so I think that soon I will be able to achieve my first podium. The track was really difficult, so stony and slippery, but there were some nice jumps and a good atmosphere with the Italian fans.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek: “Yesterday during the qualifying session I made a mistake and crashed; it was not a big one but this morning I couldn’t move my shoulder. I did only three laps during the warm-up, and visited the doctor; he told me that nothing was broken, just a sore ligament, and I took some pills for the race. It was painful but I was able to get two top ten results; that’s my best MX1 GP so far. I wasn’t riding as usual, but it was important to get two times points and I hope that next weekend my shoulder will be OK.”