Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin has secured his first GP victory of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship, claiming an emphatic opening moto win and securing a runner-up result in moto two at the MXGP of Europe in The Netherlands.
With round six of the world championship taking place at the iconic sandy track of Valkenswaard, Paulin started the GP claiming a strong third place result in the qualifying race. Getting a perfect start on his FC 450 in the opening MXGP moto, the Frenchman retained the lead from start to finish to celebrate his first moto victory aboard Husqvarna machinery.
Well-placed inside the top five at the start of moto two, Gautier showed his determination to battle for the overall victory. Making some crucial passes he managed to cross the finish line as a runner-up behind Antonio Cairoli. Completing a well-calculated GP the Frenchman gained two spots in the MXGP championship standings, where he’s now placed third behind Tim Gajser and Cairoli.
Not getting the best of starts, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl pushed hard to claim 10th overall at the GP of Europe. Getting a 10th place result in the opening moto, the German wrapped up the event with 11th in moto two.
In the MX2 category, it was an event of mixed emotions for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer-Olsen. Showing he has the speed to battle for the top three, the young Dane earned fourth overall in the 250cc class. Battling back from a crash while running sixth in moto one, Thomas reached the finish in ninth position. Getting a mediocre start in moto two, he made a series of impressive passes to claim fourth.
For Thomas Covington the highlight of his GP in Valkenswaard was a strong third place result in the opening MX2 moto. Bending his bars during a crash in moto two, the young American was unable to finish his last race of the day.
A poor start in moto one and a crash in moto two didn’t allow Conrad Mewse the opportunity to capitalise on the improved speed the Brit demonstrated during the previous GP in Italy. Collecting 20/22 results, Conrad had to settle for 25th overall at the GP of Europe.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team will return to action at round seven of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship in Latvia on May 6/7.
Gautier Paulin: “It’s been an amazing GP. We started off with a good pace in qualifying. I was feeling good on the bike ever since I stepped foot on this track, so I was very positive of some good results. We had a perfect opening moto. I got a clear holeshot and managed to successfully defend my lead until the finish line. Despite not getting the best of starts in moto two, I stayed focused on the goal of winning the overall. I kept pushing and as soon as I saw other riders suffering physically I gave one last push for the overall victory. I honestly have no words to thank my Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team for all their hard work and dedication. This victory has given us a big confidence boost for the races to come.”
Max Nagl: “Our speed was not so bad, but we struggled with the starts in both motos. If you don’t get a good start it’s really hard to make up time – you have to take lots of risks to go after the guys out front. I tried my best in both motos but it just wasn’t meant to be. We’ll keep working hard hoping for some better results at the GPs to come. We’re now heading to Kegums and another sand track and the goal is to be able to battle for the top three there.”
Thomas Kjer-Olsen: “We’re in a very good place right now. I’m enjoying racing my bike and my speed is really competitive. If we manage to minimise mistakes, we will be able to consistently be on the podium. In moto one I got a good start but as I was battling for the top five I was involved in a crash with a few other riders. I picked myself up and kept pushing hard to get ninth. My start wasn’t as good in moto two, but without making any mistakes I crossed the line in fourth for fourth overall at the GP. We’re fourth now in the standings and I believe we can go even higher.”
Thomas Covington: “My riding was good throughout the weekend despite the rough sandy track. Following a strong sixth place in qualifying race I got off to a good start in moto one and managed to make some good passes for third at the finish line. Towards the end of the moto I felt a bit of pain in my back but I tried not to let that affect my performance and my lap times. To finish third felt good and I was looking forward to moto two. Unfortunately, my start was bad in the last moto and as I was pushing to make passes I crashed and bent my bars. The championship still has a long way to go. We proved the speed is there so it’s up to me now to reduce mistakes and be more consistent.”
Conrad Mewse: “Overall, I’m satisfied with my speed over the weekend. We started off with a strong ninth place during qualifying and a good overall feeling on the rough sandy track. Battling through a bad start in moto one I had to settle for 20th. My start was way better in moto two and I was running in fourth place before crashing in one of the big downhills of the track. I picked myself up but couldn’t manage anything better than 22nd. My results might not have been great but I’m happy with my pace, especially towards the end of the first moto.”