It has been an unsettling start to the ’14 FIM Motocross World Championship for 2013 MX2 runner-up Jordi Tixier. Many observers of MXGP were looking to see if the Frenchman could make a step in terms of speed and form to challenge his double title-winning team-mate Jeffrey Herlings.

Tixier bore the brunt of Herlings’ misfortune with injury and lack of pre-season preparation in terms of expectation from the factory Red Bull KTM team and wasn’t able to respond. At Sevlievo last weekend the 22-year-old did post his first podium finish in what was the fifth round of the series and was perhaps even fortunate to make it onto the box after Romain Febvre’s late crash on the factory Husqvarna gifted ‘911’ the third step of the rostrum. He did have his own problems however.

“Finally on the box!” the relieved Tixier admitted afterwards. “The first four GPs were really bad for me. I didn’t find a rhythm and was putting pressure on myself. In Arco I crashed in timed practice and broke small bones in my hand so it was not possible to ride this week [in the build-up to the Grand Prix of Bulgaria].”

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“I didn’t expect to be on the podium here but I did my best and got this result with a small injury so I’m pretty happy. I just have to thank the team and everybody around me.”

‘Pressure’ seems to be the key word when it comes to Tixier and Red Bull KTM MX2 team manager Stefan Everts hinted pre-season that the next progression the former European Champion needed to make involved adding a steely edge to the performances that netted him ten trophies in 2013.

Tixier has been unable to figure in contention for victory in Herlings’ absence and coupled with some poor starts has barely looked like being in the frame for moto wins – until his rapid getaway and stint at the front last weekend in Bulgaria. Perhaps a page has been turned.

Tixier seems to be replaying the 2013 championship so far in terms of making a slow start to the term. His first podium result of that season arrived in Holland for round three and now he has the chance to repeat history and keep the momentum running in terms of results. “I’m looking forward to Valkenswaard because last year I was riding really well there and had a good fight with him [Herlings] for two or three laps, which was pretty amazing in the sand. Hopefully I will make two good starts this time.”

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