Seventh position in the second moto of the Grand Prix of Argentina shows that 24MX Honda’s Christophe Charlier might turn a few heads in MXGP this year as the former European Champion negotiates a rookie season in the premier class.
The 23 year old was able to display some of his potential for the first time on the Honda Motor Europe supported CRF450R after recovering from an injury to his right lower leg and heel that blighted his MXGP debut in Qatar (best result of 20th) and caused him to miss the second round in Thailand.
Free of the haemorrhaging in his limb and healed for the trip to Argentina, Charlier – winner of two MX2 Grand Prix motos in the past two years but widely believed to be too tall for the 250cc machines – was sharper in Neuquen and his seventh place was just one position behind the factory Honda of former MX of Nations team-mate Gautier Paulin.
“It was a real problem for me to ride with injury but now I’m able to have some fun on the bike,” said the Corsican who is one of four riders to move in MXGP from MX2 for 2015 and comes from three years with the factory Yamaha team.
Charlier took advice from Mickael Pichon last season and is now hoping that the expertise of former world champion Jacky Vimond will help him establish some firm credentials on the 450. #23 is a fast and talented motorcycle rider but has struggled to find the confidence and strategy to impose his ability at the highest level.
“I’m working with Jacky Vimond so I’m looking forward to the next races and how it will go,” he commented. Having used a 450 frequently for training in recent years Charlier is well accustomed to the extra power and demands of the bike but still needs to refine his set-up and get the most from the 24MX machine for MXGP. “I think all the 450s are good,” he opines when asked about his feeling on the CRF. “The Honda feels small and little and the power is OK we just need to get the setting sorted.”