Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team raced to his third GP victory of the year in the Italian round of the FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship at Maggiora.
The Frenchman already proved his liking for the classic hillside track with an impressive victory in the Qualification race, and he showed his maturity and skill as he converted a sixth-placed start into a third-placed finish in the opening moto on a track made slippery by heavy watering to counteract the threat of dust on a gloriously warm sunny day.
Taking full advantage of a clearcut holeshot in race two Gautier sprinted clear and dug into his reserves in the closing stages to withstand a fierce attack from the defending champion. The Kawasaki Racing Team leader has now won four motos in the last five GPs to consolidate yet further his second place in the championship standings as the series enters the second half of the season.
“This was an emotional win for me; I had been dreaming to beat Antonio again and it was the perfect scene to do it with so many fans at the track,” said Paulin.
“In the second race I knew that he was coming back at me as I could hear the crowd but I was able to keep the lead. He came close when I made one small mistake which a couple of two seconds but I was able to pull away again. Winning a race is one thing, winning several is another one. Now I have won four in the last five GPs and for sure it’s a great feeling to win ahead of Antonio in front of his home crowd. We’re all working so hard in the team and it’s a great reward for all of us; I think that the fans will be happy too and the goal is to do more races like this one.”
KRT team colleague Jeremy Van Horebeek continues the learning curve in his rookie season of MX1 GP racing. The Belgian set the fastest lap times in the practice sessions and missed the podium by just one place after two strong top five finishes. He is now eighth in the championship standings and, his speed improving even more each week, is proving to be a wise selection as partner to Paulin.
Van Horebeek said: “It was a very good weekend for me, even if I don’t really enjoy it when it’s so hot! I’m improving step by step and I posted very fast lap times in the practice sessions but my starts were not so good. But it was better today than yesterday and I found some places to gain positions after the start and then I had some nice racing with Gautier (Paulin) and Antonio (Cairoli). I don’t have enough experience to stay with them for thirty five minutes yet, but I’m happy with my riding today and I know that the podium is close.”
Leading British rider, Tommy Searle of Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit had an unfortunate crash during the practice sessions which left him in some discomfort throughout racing, but he dug deep into his reserves to finish the weekend seventh in the GP despite being knocked off by a rival rider in the early stages of the opening moto. After a strong ride back into the top ten from the back of the field, he once again showed his potential in the second race as he advanced from 10th to fifth. He retains sixth place in the championship standings.
“I had a big crash during the pre qualifying session; I hurt a finger but don’t know yet if anything is broken. It wasn’t too bad for the race, just a little sore,” said Searle.
“Today was OK; in the first race they watered the track and it was slippery; I was in sixth and I don’t know what Guarneri wanted, he made a stupid move and took me down. I was outside the top twenty when I got back in the race and recovered to tenth; it wasn’t my best race of the year but I recovered well. Then in the second race my start was not so great; I was outside the top ten but got through to fifth at the finish. We need to work on the bike to improve my starts if we want to win some races.”