Team HRC’s line-up for the 2015 MXGP Motocross World Championship was officially presented for the first time today as part of Honda’s motorsport announcement at the EICMA international motorcycle exhibition in Milan, Italy.
We were first to report on the rumour of Gautier Paulin signing for Honda in the spring and it is now confirmed that Paulin is a Honda pilot. He and Evgeny Bobryshev were welcomed onto the Honda stage alongside fellow HRC factory riders from MotoGP, Dakar and Trials. Now in his sixth season on the Honda CRF, Bobryshev is joined for the 2015 season by Honda returnee Paulin.
The Frenchman competed in red in the early stages of his career in Europe and his move back to the Honda CRF is one of the sport’s highest-profile and eagerly anticipated switches for next year.
Honda and HRC also welcome back a second Frenchman to the team ahead of next season: long-time Honda rider and multiple World and US Champion Jean-Michel Bayle, who assumes the newly created position of Sporting Manager at Team HRC.
The 2015 season will be the second since the HRC name returned to the championship. This formative year already yielded holeshots, podiums and victories, and for 2015 Team HRC will be stronger than ever as, with the Honda CRF450RW in the hands of Bobryshev and Paulin, they continue a determined drive to reclaim their spot at the top of the world.
“To be a part of Honda again is just amazing,” said a delighted Gautier Paulin. “In two words, it’s a dream. I started my professional career with Honda and to be part of the HRC family is such a good feeling. We have been working really well together already and the feeling with the CRF450RW is really good – that’s what I signed for! I really feel good on the bike. For sure it’s always a challenge changing team but I really like the crew around me. To be here in EICMA as part of the whole motorcycle presentation alongside MotoGP, Dakar and Trials is really good – it’s great to be back in this family. It’s just like coming home for me.”
“Riding for Team HRC means a lot,” said Evgeny Bobryshev. “For me it’s my second year and I’m really happy to be staying one more year as part of the team. I haven’t reached my full potential yet the way this season went so I have unfinished business. Unfortunately I had really a bad year with all the injuries and the bad luck, but now I forget all of that. I have a new mental approach to next year. We’ve been doing good preparation for 2015 and have improved a lot again with the bikes so I’m really looking forward to next season. Working with HRC and Honda is a really close family, so it’s great to welcome Gautier to the team. We get on really well and I think the team is looking very strong for 2015.”
Roger Harvey, HRC General Manager – MXGP commented: “Obviously we are looking to step up what we are doing. We’ve got Gautier Paulin joining the team, we’ve been watching him for many years and it was interesting for us to get hold of him and put him on the Honda. I certainly feel he can open a few eyes. We’re obviously keeping Bobby and that keeps us with information from the past two to three years. We’ve introduced Jean Michel Bayle as sporting manager, so he’ll be looking after the riders, looking after advice, and obviously his vast experience comes into play a lot. The riders have a lot of respect for him so he’ll be working with both of them throughout the year.
“Obviously we’re in MXGP to win MXGP, that’s what the target is and we want to be winning as many races as possible.”
“In motocross I was always a Honda rider,” said Team HRC Sporting Manager, Jean-Michel Bayle. “I was riding Honda when I get my two motocross world championships. For me, in my heart, I always go to Honda. I’m so happy to be back and to get involved with the team because it’s my passion and we have two good riders for next year, so I’m very happy to be in the team to go for the world championship.
“I think Honda is a big brand with a big reputation, in racing especially, and I think Gautier and I know that when you are altogether, good rider and a good team you are going for the world championship. That’s what we are here for, for the challenge and to bring home the world championship.”