Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing riders have concluded their pre-season racing activities in style during the 2017 edition of the Lacapelle Marival International Motocross event in France, collecting three top three moto results.
With the hard-packed circuit in the south of France hosting the final international race before the start of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship, the event proved to be the ideal warm-up for the 19-round-long season that kicks off on February 25.
Enjoying a good day of racing in front of his home fans, Gautier Paulin delivered strong performances in each of the three motos he contested. In his first race on hard-packed terrain, the FC 450 mounted Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider put in a strong opening moto performance to finish third. Wrapping up the event with seventh in moto two and 10th in the Superfinal, Gautier now looks forward to the start of the MXGP season in two weeks’ time.
“It was good to race in front of my home fans,” said Paulin. “It was my first race in hard-packed terrain aboard the FC 450 and I felt we made some great progress. My highlight of the day was the opening MX1 moto, where I managed to get third. Overall, what I definitely take out of this race is the fact that now I feel a lot more confident to push in any kind of condition on my new bike. All the members of the team have been giving their best since day one and now I’m a lot more familiar with the bike. The MXGP season that starts in two weeks will be a long one. The goal is to take one moto at a time and push hard to reach the top.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl landed in Lacapelle Marival with one goal in mind – to make the most of his time on the French track and to test different bike settings in real racing conditions. Wrapping up the event with 9/15/11 results the German rider ended the day satisfied with his progress and speed.
“This weekend we decided to focus on testing different race set-ups without overly stressing ourselves about the results in any of the motos,” Nagl revealed. “Our goal was to try new things and see what suits us the most. I’m really happy that we managed to find a really good set-up that we tried during the combined MX1/MX2 Superfinal. Most probably this will be our base set-up for the opening round of the MXGP series in two weeks’ time. The plan now is to take some time off the bike so that both physically and mentally I’m 100 per cent ready for the Qatar GP.”
Working hard to improve some minor details, Max Anstie’s highlight for the day was a seventh place result during the opening MX1 moto. Continuing to build his speed aboard his new FC 450 machine, the young Brit will be looking for a strong MXGP class debut in Qatar. “It might not have been the perfect day for me, but overall I felt we took some more steps in the right direction,” said Anstie. “My goal for the weekend was to try new things with the bike and with my riding on the big FC 450, and I’m glad everything worked well. It was a great training event and a good way to wrap up our pre-season preparations before Qatar. With the racing now done, we have two weeks to perfect some small details. The work never stops so we will try to make the most of the time left to get the best out of the bike and myself before the start of the MXGP season.”
Continuing to impress aboard his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing FC 250 machine, Thomas Kjer-Olsen secured a sixth and a third during the two MX2 motos to earn an impressive podium result with third overall in the 250cc class. Finishing ninth overall in the combined MX1/MX2 Superfinal the Dane was the third fastest MX2 rider during the day’s final race.
“It was a good day and a great event,” said Kjer-Olsen. “We got two good starts and that was very important. Overall, I’m happy I showed once again I can battle for the top. In the opening moto, I got a good start but had a small crash in the back part of the track that dropped me to 10th. I got back on the bike and started passing people to finish sixth. Considering the track was one-lined, I think it was great I could make passes. Then in moto two I had another good start and battled my way to third at the chequered flag. We will continue working hard and I’m really looking forward to the start of the World Championship in Qatar.”
Conrad Mewse rounded out his participation at the event with fourth overall in MX2 class behind teammate Kjer-Olsen. Getting a great start in moto one the British youngster brought his FC 250 home in third. Despite missing the start in moto two, Conrad battled his way from 13th at the end of lap one to eighth at the chequered flag.
“I felt good on my bike this weekend,” said Mewse. “All the hard work during the winter is slowly paying off. I know the speed is there and I now need to work on some small details such as my starts. I had a good jump out of the gate in the opening moto and pushed hard to end third. I missed the start in moto two and had to work my way from outside the top 10 to eighth. I feel that we made some good progress in that kind of hard-packed terrain. We still need to work more in fine-tuning our set-up and suspension, but we now have a good base for the first GP of the season in Qatar.”
Mewse’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Thomas Covington showed some great speed in France. Third out of the gate in the opening moto, the American suffered a few small mistakes that dropped him to seventh. Finding himself in the provisional runner-up spot in moto two, Thomas went on to take the lead of the race before further mistakes dropped him to fourth. He placed fifth overall in the MX2 class.
“I’m satisfied with the progress made this weekend,” said Covington. “Despite not having fully recovered from my sickness I raced two strong motos to get 7/4. Unfortunately, in the Superfinal I felt the effects of my illness and decided not to take any unnecessary risks. My speed was good during the whole day and I even managed to lead the second MX2 moto for a while, before some small mistakes dropped me to fourth. It was another good test for all of us and now we will be focusing on doing the best we can to start the World Championship with a good overall result in Qatar.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team riders will now head to Qatar for the start of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship on February 24/25.
Results – Lacapelle Marival International MX 2017
MX1 – Overall
1. Clement Desalle (Kawasaki) 45pts
2. Jordi Tixier (Kawasaki) 44
4. Arminas Jasikonis (Suzuki) 41
5. Gautier Paulin (Husqvarna) 34
MX1 – Race 1
1. Clement Desalle (Kawasaki) 13 laps, 24:05:970
2. Jordi Tixier (Kawasaki) 24:11:620
3. Gautier Paulin (Husqvarna) 24:15:486
7. Max Anstie (Husqvarna) 24:30:900
9. Max Nagl (Husqvarna) 24:48:317
MX1 – Race 2
1. Arminas Jasikonis (Suzuki) 13 laps, 23:49:039
2. Jordi Tixier (Kawasaki) 23:52:086
3. Clement Desalle (Kawasaki) 23:54:189
7. Gautier Paulin (Husqvarna) 24:38:296
15. Max Nagl (Husqvarna) 25:21:301
MX2 – Overall
1. Benoit Paturel (Yamaha) 47pts;
2. Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki) 47
3. Thomas Kjer-Olsen (Husqvarna) 35
4. Conrad Mewse (Husqvarna) 33
5. Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) 32
MX2 – Race 1
1. Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki) 13 laps, 23:51:848
2. Benoit Paturel (Yamaha) 23:52:769
3. Conrad Mewse (Husqvarna) 24:08:439
6. Thomas Kjer-Olsen (Husqvarna) 24:21:454
7. Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) 24:21:954
MX2 – Race 2
1. Benoit Paturel (Yamaha) 13 laps, 24:08:555
2. Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki) 24:20:410
3. Thomas Kjer-Olsen (Husqvarna) 24:23:220
4. Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) 24:23:652
8. Conrad Mewse (Husqvarna) 25:01:153
1. Clement Desalle (Kawasaki) 13 laps, 23:44:258
2. Arminas Jasikonis (Suzuki) 23:48:559
3. Jordi Tixier (Kawasaki) 23:54:548
9. Thomas Kjer-Olsen (Husqvarna) 24:17:254
10. Gautier Paulin (Husqvarna) 24:23:729
11. Max Nagl (Husqvarna) 24:30:200
20. Conrad Mewse (Husqvarna) 25:15:475
24. Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) 25:48:064
25. Max Anstie (Husqvarna) 12 laps, 23:46:627