Strong performances by Gautier Paulin and Christophe Pourcel in Portugal have taken Kawasaki to the head of the FIM World MX1 Manufacturer’s Championship as the series approaches the halfway stage.Despite an incident at the first corner of race one when another rider dented his exhaust, causing his Kawasaki Racing Team machine to lose power for the entire race, Paulin came back in determined fashion to narrowly miss the overall win after he scored a dramatic victory in the second moto. The result also moved him one point closer to the series pace setter as he retains his third place in the individual standings.
Pourcel took his Team CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit bike to two emphatic holeshots to confirm the power of the bike and finished a close second in the first moto. He carried great expectations into race two but he was deprived of his victory hopes by a backmarker who crossed his line and caused him to crash. Nevertheless he finished fourth and remains just four points from second in the standings.
Xavier Boog of the Kawasaki Racing Team and Sebastien Pourcel of Team CP377 made it four Kawasakis in the first eight of the opening moto, but each of them had a disappointing second outing. Boog found it difficult to maintain a good rhythm as his lap times fluctuated and eventually came home 11th while Pourcel, still rebuilding his physical strength after two years of injury, had to slacken his pace towards the end of the race after holding a good fifth place for the first half hour. Nevertheless Boog was sixth on the day to maintain his seventh place in the championship while Pourcel just missed the top ten overall.
Gautier Paulin: “I had to settle for fourth place in the first race after another rider crashed into me at the start and damaged the pipe so I lost power. The track was rough for the second moto, and I had a great race with Desalle and Cairoli. Antonio had tried to pass me several times in the last three laps and he eventually found a way on the last lap, but I wanted the win after doing all the work for 35 minutes and passed him back. It’s great to get a second podium in a row; we all worked hard and that’s a nice reward for the team.”
Christophe Pourcel: “In the first race I led the race on the first lap, but Desalle was riding fast and passed me; we made the gap to the rest of the field and I was happy with a second position. I got the holeshot in the second moto and it was a close battle between four of us. I had a good feeling on the bike and I let Desalle, Cairoli and Paulin pass me because I wanted to see their lines so I could wait for the end of the race to attack again but then a lapper cut across my line and I crashed.”
Xavier Boog: “I was riding well in the first moto, but I lost too much time early on when Philippaerts and Bobryshev crashed in front of me at the third corner. I came back to seventh and still had plenty of energy left for race two but I never found a good rhythm.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I posted some fast laps on Saturday, and today was not so bad but I’m still not physically strong enough to keep the pace for two motos. After an eighth position in the first race, I was fifth for fifteen laps in the second one but in the last ten minutes I nearly crashed twice and had to slacken my pace.”