MX1, Bastogne, Belgium, 18 August 2013
Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team raced to a third place moto finish on his comeback from injury at the Belgian round of the FIM World MX1 Motocross Championship in Bastogne.
The Frenchman had only been able to ride two times prior to the race since he suffered severe concussion in Germany last month but he quickly refound his rhythm to post top five lap times in both practices and finish sixth in the qualification race. His impressive return to racing continued in the first GP moto as he controlled third place throughout the 39 minute race, but his second moto was spoilt by an incident involving another rider which forced him to retire. He retains fourth place in the championship standings.
Teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek qualified an excellent fourth, but he was unlucky in the first turn of both points-scoring motos and had to battle his way out of the pack to finish fifth each time. This gave him fifth overall in the GP also and he has consolidated further his seventh place in the championship standings.
Tommy Searle and the CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit team faced a difficult weekend as they tried more aggressive settings during practice in search of better starts, but they reverted to their previous settings for race day. The Englishman found life difficult in the first moto after being pushed wide at turn one, and rain added to the difficulties in passing throughout race two. Tommy has consolidated his sixth place in the championship standings.
Gautier Paulin: “Before coming here I had only ridden the bike twice since I crashed I Germany, so the goal this weekend was to find my rhythm and confidence again. I did good practice sessions on Saturday, and then got a podium result in the first moto on my comeback. I was happy with this result, but I knew that the second race would be tough; my start wasn’t so good either, but I came back in the top ten before I had to retire after some troubles with another rider. It was great to be again behind the gate again and I saw the improvements throughout the weekend so I’m confident for the last two GPs.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek: “Once more I had to recover from mid pack starts; I came from fourteenth to fifth in both races, but I spent too much energy to do even better so I just missed a podium result again. I’m happy with my riding, but disappointed with the final result. Yesterday the track was rough, but today they flattened it and everyone was going fast ! If I can get better starts next week at Matterley maybe I will score this elusive podium, but I’ve only two more races to get it this season !”
Tommy Searle: “We tried a lot of different settings on the bike on Saturday as we are trying to improve the starts. We found some solutions, but the bike was too aggressive on the other parts of the track so we returned to the former settings today. The start was so important here; on Saturday the track was rough, but it was so flat for the first race that everyone was going fast.”