Dunlop’s MX1 rookie Gautier Paulin will be fighting to defend third place in the Motocross World Championship during the 16th and final round at Teutschenthal, in Germany this weekend.
The young Frenchman arrives at the 2012 finale with four podiums to his credit, including victory in Bulgaria, and holds a six-point advantage over countryman and fellow Kawasaki rider Christophe Pourcel.
Paulin has been close to much more silverware, finishing fourth overall on four occasions, including at the recent Faenza round where he claimed 7-3 race results on the steep and heavily-rutted Italian circuit.
Paulin said: “The Faenza track was very nice with good grip and many ruts, but it was narrow and difficult to pass. I’m now looking forward to the last GP at Teutschenthal; I was on the podium there last year [in the MX2 class] after winning the second moto. And one week later at the Motocross of Nations Xavier [Boog] and I will race for the French team in Belgium.”
Perfect Teutschenthal Memories for Dunlop
Last year’s fan-packed Teutschenthal round was the scene of an unforgettable victory for Dunlop and Evgeny Bobryshev – the Honda rider becoming the first Russian winner of a Motocross Grand Prix for 31 years, courtesy of perfect 1-1 race results.
It was the highpoint of Dunlop’s MX GP return and Bobryshev went on to finish fourth overall in the 2011 World Championship. Paulin now has the chance to go one place better in the 2012 Championship.
The Teutschenthal track contains a wide variety of terrain and grip characteristics – from fast and bumpy hard-packed areas to technical sections, comprising deep ruts and slippery gradients.
The circuit is located in the Saxony region of Germany, around 190km south-west of Berlin.
Top Six Possible For Boog
Paulin’s Kawasaki Racing team-mate Xavier Boog still has the opportunity to gain a Championship place in the season finale, sitting seventh overall and 17 points from sixth.
Boog, a race winner in Brazil and points scorer in every moto so far, said: “The goal is to defend my seventh place in the standings, and maybe even get sixth, at the final round in Germany.”
Bobryshev Hunting Strong Finish
A catalogue of injuries and setbacks left Bobryshev a shadow of his former self for much of this season. But as his strength has improved, so have the results – Bobryshev claiming a top six race finish in all but one of the last six rounds.
That includes sixth in the final moto at Faenza and, inspired by last year’s Teutschenthal heroics, Bobryshev surely has a fighting chance of beating his 2012 grand prix best – fourth overall in Benelux.
Bobryshev said: “Faenza was not what I wanted in terms of results, but I am happy because the track was difficult and I had no stupid mistakes or crashes. Now we will train for Germany and the Motocross of Nations.”
Honda World Motocross team-mate Rui Goncalves has also been tormented by injuries this season, and faces a race against time just to be fit for Teutschenthal after a heavy tumble in race one at Faenza.
Team Manager Lorenzo Resta said: “Rui crashed, but unfortunately he was hit by another rider, and I guess lucky that it’s only the shoulder blade that is broken, as it could have been much worse. We will see how his recovery goes, and I hope there is the possibility that he can come for another race with us before the end of the season.”
Goncalves, denied a podium in Latvia due to a tie-break, is presently ninth in the championship and facing mounting pressure from Shaun Simpson and Bobryshev.
Dunlop Quote – Dunlop MX race coordinator Eddy Seel:
“Teutschenthal has a good memory as it was the scene of our first GP win after our comeback in the World Championship! I look forward to this race as Bobryshev and Paulin claimed great results there last year, including Bobby’s victory. It’s the last GP of the season of an eventful year with up and downs. Now Gautier needs to confirm his third position in the World Championship, which would be a great result for a rookie! I am confident that we’ll have a good season finish with at least one yellow cap on the podium, so I really look forward to the German GP.”