Gautier Paulin finished sixth overall in the third round of the FIM World MX1 Motocross Championship at Valkenswaard in the Netherlands to maintain his challenge for the world title.
The French leader of the Kawasaki Racing Team made an impressive start to the weekend with fourth place at the track between Eindhoven and the Belgian border. Several weeks of overnight frost created unusual track conditions and a revised layout added to the challenge all weekend as Paulin battled the local sand experts throughout both points-scoring races to finish fifth and seventh and retain fourth place in the championship as the series heads to the hard-pack tracks of southern Europe later this month.
Tommy Searle of Team CLS MX1 Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit also fought hard in the unusual conditions, but difficulties at the start of the qualifying race left the Englishman with a poor choice of start gate for both GP motos and he faced a tough battle through the pack each time. He eventually finished tenth and eleventh in the two motos.
Jeremy Van Horebeek proved during qualification that he has put behind him the injury setbacks which hampered him at the first two rounds of the series, but the Belgian had little luck at the unpredictable opening turn and also had to battle through the pack to finish eleventh in race one. He moved quickly into the top ten of the second race before being forced to retire.
Gautier Paulin: “The track was strange this weekend as the sand was frozen below the surface; we’re not used to this though of course it was the same for everyone. I qualified fourth so I had a good gate for the races; my first start was pretty good as I was seventh, but the second one was worse. I had a good feeling in the first moto, but in the second one I only found the good lines and a good rhythm during the last ten minutes and that was too late. The result is not what I was expecting, but we will continue to work hard to prepare the upcoming rounds.”
Tommy Searle: “The qualifying race was tough as I was last in the first corner, but I recovered and finished fourteenth. The sand was hard this year and everyone was riding fast; it was difficult to pass and I finished tenth in the first race. The second race was similar with a ninth position. It was my first GP in the sand with the 450 and I need to gain more experience to get better results.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek: “On Saturday I was pleased to be back in the top six of the timed practice period, and I confirmed that ranking in the qualifying race. Today was different; my starts were not as good and the starts were so important! I fought back from twentieth to eleventh in the first moto, and I was running tenth in the second one and battling to move further forward until something happened and I had to retire to the pits.”