On his return to Grand Prix action for the first time since early May, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Gautier Paulin spoke last weekend in the Czech Republic about the prospect of competing against AMA SX Champion Ryan Villopoto in MXGP in 2015, even though the French star made no allusion to the fact that the American could be steering his works KX450F!
Paulin last faced the press as a spectator at the Grand Prix of France in June (nursing a recently operated thumb) where speculation was rife about his future and contract situation for 2015. Since then it has emerged that the winner of the opening round of the season in Qatar will almost certainly become an HRC rider for next season, although Honda policy in such matters might mean that the news is not officially confirmed until the winter time.
If Villopoto leaves the confines of AMA competition for MXGP then he will steer Paulin’s machine from the largely French KRT set-up to accommodate the final year of a contract with Kawasaki that was made with the U.S. KMC division but the company will not want to lose their principal star.
The hype continues about Villopoto’s potential arrival and Paulin was publicly careful with his words in respect to his own employment circumstances: “Like I said in the press conference for the French GP I feel that I have missed out on the world title [this year]. Antonio is going to be eight times world champ. If I stay in Europe and Ryan is coming here then to win against these people would mean that the title would have no price. When I am feeling good and things are going well then I am at that level.”
Like most MXGP and motocross fans Paulin is savouring the prospect of Villopoto contemplating a position in the premier class gate for 2015. It will bolster a fast and impressive line-up already in the category.
“It is great for the fans and the public…great for motocross in general,” he said referring to the chance RV will grace Grand Prix. “We can show in Europe that the level is really high and we do that every year at the Nations. [Ken] Roczen is showing it in America and they forget very quickly that he is from Europe. I don’t think it will be easy for him [Villopoto] but he is a really strong rider and it will be tough to fight with him. If he comes then I will be ready for it.”