Team HRC dominated the MXGP Qualifying race at the St Jean d’Angely circuit in France today, that is until the final lap.

Evgeny Bobryshev took his second qualifying race win of the season at the MXGP of France. But from the start, it was home hero Gautier Paulin who quickly established himself as the pacesetter, climbing his way from fourth to take the lead at just under one-third distance.

Bobryshev recovered from a start that saw him slot into 12 by turn two, and fought through the pack with remarkable ease, setting the fastest lap in the process.


Chasing his team-mate, it was a Honda 1-2 for much of the second half of the race as the CRF450RWs proved the bike to beat. Just as it looked like a foregone conclusion, Paulin crashed out of the lead in a big way on the final lap, at the bottom of one of the very fast downhill sections.

He was able to pick himself up and walk away, but sustained a cut just above his right eye which required stitches.

“Everything was going so well up until that point and the riding was easy, then I had the big crash,” said Paulin.

After checks at the track’s medical facilities, he was released and will rest tonight. “I need to take some rest tonight now, and see how I feel in the morning,” added Paulin.

“Firstly I’d like to wish Gautier well and say that I hope he will be ok for tomorrow,” said a concerned Bobryshev. “It was a big crash and I saw it all because I was behind him on track, and it wasn’t nice to watch at all.

“I’m happy for my qualifying win of the season, but I need to work more on my starts as I’m giving myself double work, and especially around here it’s rocky so there’s lots of roost and it hurts! We had good speed today though, both Gautier and I, so I’m feeling confident for tomorrow.”

Commenting on the Qualifying race HRC general manager – MXGP, Roger Harvey, said: “If you ask me about the day up until the last lap of the race, it was fantastic as Tim was fastest in both morning sessions, then Gautier and Bobby were 1-2 in the race and Bobby set the fastest lap, so Honda has dominated today. We’re all so pleased for Bobby to win, but of course Gautier’s crash was a very big one and he was lucky to be able to walk away. He’s banged up pretty badly, so he’ll rest up overnight and we’ll see tomorrow morning how he feels, what his condition is, and decide whether he can race tomorrow.”