Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team delighted French fans as he consolidated second place in the FIM World MX1 Motocross World Championship with a race win in his home GP at Ernée.
The Frenchman appeared confident throughout practice but overambitious track watering prior to the qualification race saw him line up only eleventh of 29 starters. However, when the gate dropped for the opening moto on race day Gautier was immediately amongst the leaders, quickly moving up to second place before mounting a successful charge for the lead at half distance, sweeping around the defending champion to record an emphatic victory. The unfortunate qualification result of the previous day sadly prevented a repeat in race two as another rider forced the Kawasaki star to run wide at turn one and he faced a tough ride back through the pack to salvage fourth place; this was however sufficient to ensure his sixth podium finish of the year and consolidate his second place in the championship.
Tommy Searle of Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit narrowly failed to join Paulin on the overall podium but secured the first top three moto finish of his rookie MX1 GP season as he charged up the leader board from sixth to third in race two. Earlier in the day he had made the best of a bad start to advance from twelfth to seventh during the 40-minute race. The Englishman retains sixth place in the championship, but has moved significantly closer to the rider immediately ahead of him and has every prospect of advancing further up the table in the coming rounds.
Jeremy Van Horebeek raced to a stunning second place in the qualification race to confirm that he has finally shrugged off his early season injury woes, and a solid fourth place in the opening moto raised hope that he could join Kawasaki Racing Team colleague Paulin on the podium at the end of the day. Unfortunately the Belgian was hit by another rider at the first corner of the second race in the same incident which disrupted Paulin’s race but he showed great courage and resilience to recover to sixth place in the moto and fifth overall, his points haul lifting Jeremy to eighth in the championship standings.
Gautier Paulin: “It was a good GP. We all know that Cairoli is very strong and I was happy to beat him in the first race. I had a good feeling today; the track was better prepared than yesterday and I had another great start in the second race but Nagl pushed everyone outside in the first corner and I was too far back to recover to better than fourth. Second in the GP is another good result; Antonio beats me today but I will try to win next week in Maggiora.”
Tommy Searle: “This was my best race so far in the MX1 GPs, and the first time this year that I’ve been happy with my riding! I felt confident on this track, and I feel like I have ended my run of bad luck so I hope that will continue next week in Italy. The track was slippery but I found some good lines; I’m happy to get my first top three moto finish but now I want an overall podium. The atmosphere was good here in Ernée; it was like a British GP but for the French riders.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek: “ I’m a little disappointed as I felt I could score my first MX1 podium after my fourth place in the first moto but another rider hit me at the start of the second race. I had to push hard to come back from nearly last to sixth, so I was naturally tired in the last few laps of the race. Fifth in the GP is not bad, especially as I was sick, but that’s not what I am looking for. Now that I have got over my injuries I want to get some podiums; I have proved that I have the speed and a good rhythm on a 450. I am sure that elusive podium will come soon.”