Gautier Paulin and the Kawasaki Racing Team have won the Bulgarian round of the FIM World MX1 Motocross Championship at the glorious hillside track of Sevlievo for the second consecutive year.
The Frenchman dominated proceedings from the word go as he set fastest time in both practice sessions and scored a runaway victory in the qualification race. He then repeated the feat in the opening GP moto, leading from the first lap, before wrapping up the GP victory with a secure second place in race two. His 47-point haul has lifted the 23-year-old to second in the championship after five races of the 17 round series.
It was a tremendously successful weekend for Kawasaki as two more riders aboard the flagship KX450F also raced into the top six.
Paulin’s KRT teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek shrugged off the injuries which had hampered his efforts through the earlier rounds of the series to finish a solid fifth overall, whilst Tommy Searle of Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit was sixth on the day.
Van Horebeek had battled solidly through the opening moto to advance to seventh at the chequered flag and went one better in race two as he raced top six all moto. The Belgian has now moved to within nine points of the series top ten.
Searle, a strong third in the qualifying race, once again showed that he is a threat in his rookie MX1 GP season as he charged to fifth in the opening race; he seemed poised to repeat the performance in race two but a troublesome rival forced him off the track early in the race and the Englishman had to charge back from 15th place to eventually finish eighth.
Gautier Paulin: “It was a very good weekend, and it was great to race head to head with Antonio Cairoli as it had been difficult to accept him winning so many races in the earlier GPs. I had a great feeling with the track and my Kawasaki right from the first practice session, and today I got two good starts. I got the holeshot in the first moto and won, then in the second I learnt a lot racing with Antonio. It’s great to win a GP, the first one for me this season; I have now scored four podiums including this GP win in the first five GPs and look forward to yet more victories in the races still to come. The KRT team is working well and we know where we can improve yet further; and I want to thanks all the people who are working with me.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek: “I’m happy to be back in the top five; it’s so great to do some good motos. I’m still not at my best as I couldn’t train this week due to my shoulder injury, and the last ten minutes of both races were tough. But it’s great to be back near the front; I have been so many times on the podiums in the MX2 class and now I want to be there in MX1. I had a great feeling right from the first practice session this weekend, and now I’m confident as we have two weeks before Portugal; I will have time to work, and for sure I will be stronger there.”
Tommy Searle:“ The first moto was OK, nothing special to say and fifth was not so bad. My starts were not so good as last week and we need to work on that point. My second start was pretty average and then I had a crash earl in the race; I went down after a mistake and then it was hard to comeback from fifteenth to eighth; it was just a difficult weekend, I rode well at times but not consistently and I must keep working on that.”