Christophe Charlier marked a small milestone in his career in front of 22,000 spectators at Uddevalla for the Grand Prix of Sweden by winning the first moto and collecting his second podium finish of the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship. The Corsican guided his works YZ250FM to second place overall under blue skies at the tenth round of seventeen and the circuit 80km north of Gothenburg.
Charlier became just the second rider this season to defeat world champion Jeffrey Herlings and grabbed the chequered flag in confident style by defending a gap ahead of Jake Nicholls in the first MX2 race of the day across a dry, bumpy and slippery Swedish soil. In the second outing ‘23’ again started well and slotted into third place. For long phases of the 35 minute and 2 lap distance Charlier tried to narrow the gap to Jordi Tixier and overtaking the Frenchman would have given the Yamaha man his maiden overall GP win but Charlier couldn’t get close and wisely elected not to take any risks. The former European Champion’s speed has been catching the eye for several rounds but he has been missing a spark away from the start gate. Some tests and engine modifications by the team before the Grand Prix paid dividends and Charlier could now be a force to be reckoned with for the second half of the campaign.
Admirable supporting cast roles were filled by Dean Ferris and Mel Pocock, sixth and tenth positions overall respectively. Ferris was sprightly out of the gate and forced himself into the top five in both motos. The Australian was unable to keep consistent with his lap-times which saw him distanced from the chase for the podium but he sealed 5th in the first moto. He had to judge the gap to Jose Butron and Alex Tonkov in the closing stages of the second race but a powerful attack in the last two laps allowed the Qatari podiumee to rise to 6th.
Pocock was 10th at the first time of asking but a superb start elevated him to the top four and he held his ground for the first third of the moto before settling into a comfortable pace and scoring 11th. Maxime Desprey was two ranks behind in the same race. The French rookie was happier with his performance compared to an earlier finish of 14th where he struggled to effectively set his pace across the forty minutes.
In the World Championship standings Charlier has closed ground on Butron and his goal of breaching the top three. He is fourth by just five points behind the Spaniard. Ferris is sixth and 26 points from the top five. Pocock holds tenth and Desprey fifteenth.
Christophe Charlier: “I am very happy with this Grand Prix. A good start meant I could get in the lead and it was fantastic to win my first moto. I started fifth in the second race and came back to third. The track was very difficult today but I’m really satisfied. My concentration suffered a little bit when I was behind Jordi but the position was enough. This result is good for my confidence. The team have been working a lot on the bike and I’ve been working on my physical condition. I’m happy and want to thank everybody who has believed in me.”
Dean Ferris: “I had good speed but I struggled to do it all the time. I got a decent start in the first one but dropped back to fifth with Tixier and then suffered a bit with inconsistency, then my start was terrible in moto two. I came through OK but everybody was running such a fast pace because the track was flat. I ran out of roll-off and with about fifteen minutes to go I somehow had to work out how to get around Butron and Tonkov. I sat back for a while and got stuck in a rhythm but when I saw the two lap board I pinned it past both of them, so that was good. I felt good physically the bike was working well after a bit of testing during the week. It is not the best result but was kinda solid. I felt I was riding OK so I’m pretty happy.”
Mel Pocock: “In the first race we had a bit of a misfire on the bike and it was a bit sketchy on the jumps. I settled back to tenth but I feel that is pretty much my position at the moment. I had a good start in the next race and I gave it 110% to stay with the boys. I think I peaked too early! I did the best I could and rode to eleventh and it good experience to run at that speed. I can build on these two solid races.”
Maxime Desprey: “My starts were not too bad. I lost my momentum in the middle of the first moto and that was not good. I wasn’t so happy and it meant I was fourteenth. I was pleased with the second moto because I was fighting with faster guys higher up the leaderboard and I improved my pace. I need to work on my mid-race speed.”