One of the eye-opening results from last weekend’s Grand Prix of Germany was the first moto fourth position from Rockstar Energy IceOne Husqvarna’s Christophe Charlier. The Corsican aced the holeshot and was a mainstay in the top five. A decent podium shout for the weekend was ruined when he became tangled in a second moto start straight crash.
The 24-year-old is finally fit after a knee injury sustained shortly before the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar. The ailment prevented Charlier from building race speed, confidence and form but also testing the FC450 and establishing a setting in just his second term in the premier class. For IceOne Team Manager Antti Pyrhonen the performance was vindication of Husqvarna’s late decision to appoint #23 to ride alongside Max Nagl for 2016.
“That was a result of all the hard-work and time we have put in and I’m happy for Christophe,” the Finn said. “When we signed him we wanted a second rider who could surprise us and I knew he had the talent ‘inside’ to be able to run in the top five of this class. In terms of the complete package we know that Christophe has always missed something here or there in the past and it was our job and our challenge to give him everything he needed. We know that he has the potential to do very well; sometimes he might run in the top 12 but in others he can give the leaders something to think about and continue to develop as a rider.”
Injuries have contributed significantly to Charlier’s inability to assert himself in Grand Prix and fulfil some of the skills evident in his 2009 European Championship winning campaign that was one of the most dominant in recent times with 17 moto wins from 28 and defeating the likes of Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings.
Charlier had fine technical support from Yamaha and Michele Rinaldi’s factory team from 2010 and secured two podiums and one moto win until he reached the age ceiling for MX2 and moved into MXGP in 2015 with 24MX Honda.
Many MXGP fans and observers were surprised when he earned the seat next to Nagl in one of the best-supported teams in the paddock but Teutschenthal was the first sign of perhaps what could be a shrewd move by Pyrhonen and Husqvarna racing boss Robert Jonas.