Christophe Pourcel of Team CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit raced to his fifth podium finish of the season in the Belgian round of the FIM World MX1 Motocross Championship at Bastogne.
An unfortunate choice of gate in race one left Pourcel in eleventh position on the opening lap but he battled persistently to recover to finish fifth despite a crash caused by a backmarker soon after he had taken over fourth place. With a better gate choice in race two Kawasaki power gave him the holeshot and, after a series of thrilling duels, he crossed the line second to secure yet another podium finish which has moved him back to third in the standings at the halfway stage of the series.
Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team missed victory in the opening moto by just over two seconds after a well-planned race which saw gradually increase his pace on a track made tricky by rain the previous day; he actually set his fastest lap of the race on the very last lap of the gruelling race. Having started outside the top ten in race two Paulin advanced quickly to eighth place as he set his sights on a podium finish, but a small crash cost him the few decisive seconds which would separate him from a top six finish. Despite this he remains fourth in the standings and is separated from second place by just nine points.
Xavier Boog made it three Kawasaki’s in the first six of race one after a strong ride up the leaderboard, but he too made a small but costly slip in race two to eventually cross the line one place behind teammate Paulin. He finished eighth overall, but had the same points score as sixth place and is now seventh in the standings, just one point from sixth and 26 from fifth.
Sebastien Pourcel continued his successful return to racing with his third consecutive top ten GP scoreline in excess of 20 points. After a solid ride to eighth place in race one, he was unfortunate to slip off at the end of the rhythm section as he advanced towards the top ten, but remounted to regain five places after remounting in sixteenth position.
Christophe Pourcel: “I didn’t choose the best position on the grid in the first race, and my start was not so good; I came back to fourth, but lost time when I crashed as a lapper destroyed a rut just when I was coming! I got the holeshot in the second race and battled first with Bobryshev and later with Desalle. We passed each other several times, but it was costing all of us time and allowed Cairoli to catch us. But I got another podium and that’s important for the series.”
Gautier Paulin: “I had a good feeling in the first race, and when I was second I controlled my race and was able to increase my pace when Desalle came to third; my last lap was my fastest of the race. My second start was not so good, and then I made a couple of mistakes and crashed; I didn’t feel so comfortable so I didn’t want to take any risks.”
Xavier Boog: “My starts were not so good this weekend, and in both races I had to come through the field. I was happy with my riding in the first moto as I finished sixth, very close to Christophe, but I had a small crash in the second race and that cost me several places; I’m not so far from the fifth position in the standings, but I can’t afford any more bad starts.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I’m happy as I have now finished the last six races in the top thirteen, and, if I hadn’t crashed in the second race, it could have been even better today. I had a good start in the first moto and soon found a good rhythm, then in the second I was fighting with Gonçalves when I crashed in the waves after the finish line; I got back on in sixteenth place and recovered to eleventh. Despite the crash it was my second best GP of the year.”