Gautier Paulin (Monster Energy Yamaha) drew a stylish line under his career with a podium finish at the MXGP of Garda Trentino on Sunday, his final ever GP.
The 30-year-old Frenchman, a former world BMX champ, ran 4-3 for third overall and was obviously happy to sign off in style.
“To end my career with a podium is really good for the team, for myself, for my sponsors but I think the best thing is to be riding at that level with those top guys,” he said. “I really enjoyed today’s racing. I was riding free even though the track was really rutty and rough.
“We had a good set-up with my bike and I was really happy with my chassis and suspension and stuff. I really want to thank my team Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP and all of the people behind me. It has been a really special day, I am feeling really happy.”
Paulin beat his team-mate Jeremy Seewer to the podium on a tie-break but it was a case of mission accomplished for the Swiss rider who moved ahead of Tony Cairoli (Red Bull KTM) in the standings to retain his #2 ranking.
“It was a really strange year for us with a big break in the middle of the season,” he said. “I did my homework in that time and managed to put some good races together when we came back. I had some awesome races in Latvia and won my first moto in Faenza and stuff like this.
“I definitely feel like I made a step forward and improved. I could battle with the top guys. I am happy with second in the championship. Of course, my goal was to win – and that’s what I wanted – but now I’m looking forward to getting back to work to fight for it next season.”
The third member of the team, Arnaud Tonus ended the day in sixth.
“Overall today was pretty good,” he said. “I had some good starts especially the first moto but I missed a bit of physical condition to hold on.
“In the second race I was on the way to the holeshot and I got hit by another rider from behind. I came back to ninth so it was good for me to come back through the pack like this and finish inside the top-10 – overall it was a positive day.”