Christophe Pourcel of Team CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit maintained his challenge for the FIM World MX1 Motocross title with yet another podium finish at Loket in the Czech Republic.
Open Gallery9 Images
The Frenchman was in superb form all weekend and was racing a comfortable second in the opening GP moto, but, as he prepared to challenge for the lead, was badly hindered by backmarkers who were being lapped, lost contact to the leader and had to be content with second place. He battled with the same rider again in race two and their speed took them to the front as the race entered the closing stages but a single slip as the front wheel slipped away on the treacherous surface cost Christophe his shot at the win but could not prevent him taking second overall in the GP. He now sits 57 points shy of the pace in third position on the championship.
Xavier Boog of the Kawasaki Racing Team benefitted from the confidence boost which a podium placing in a minor event had given him since the last GP in Russia to again run top six all day in the Czech Republic, his two strong finishes giving the Frenchman fifth overall to take him significantly closer to sixth in the series.
After a couple of disappointing GPs by his own high standards Boog’s KRT teammate Gautier Paulin again showed the speed to battle for a top five finish in the opening race, but an unfortunate series of clashes with other riders during the opening lap of the second moto left him downfield in 18th position and he had to battle hard on the narrow track to recover seven places by the chequered flag. His perseverance does however mean that he has consolidated fourth place in the series as the series enters its final quarter.
Sebastien Pourcel, elder brother of Christophe, had ridden a scintillating qualification race to earn third choice of gate but he had no luck whatsoever on race day and two small crashes saw him restricted to a single sixteenth place finish.
Christophe Pourcel: “I enjoyed the track; for sure it was slippery but it was also technical. I was able to take two good starts today, but in the first race I couldn’t pass Cairoli for the win. I got very close a couple of times but lappers got in the way and cost me time, though I have to admit that it would have been difficult to pass Tony anyway as he was riding well. We had a good battle again in the second race, and he was able to make a pass at the right moment to win. I made a small mistake in a corner when I was second so I had to pass back Nagl to get third position in the race and second overall. But it’s good to be back on the podium!”
Xavier Boog: “I rode two good races today so I can be satisfied with fifth position; that is my best GP result for several weeks. I started the first race in second position but unfortunately I lost several positions during the first lap before I had settled into my rhythm. I had no difficulty to defend my sixth position for the remainder of the race and again in the second race I had a consistent ride to finish seventh. I rode an international race last week and finished on the podium so that helped my confidence and we’ll continue to practice in Holland over the next few days to prepare the rest of the series.”
Gautier Paulin: “I had a good feeling with the bike this weekend, and after a good start in the first race I was able to battle for a top five result; I made a few mistakes, but I had good lap times in the last part of the race. I got caught up with other riders in the first few corners of race two and I was only eighteenth at the end of the first lap. I found some places to pass and recovered to eleventh; it’s difficult to make passes here! But I’m pretty happy as I have a good feeling on the bike again, and we’ll continue to train in Holland to be stronger in the last GPs.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I felt really comfortable on this track after finishing third in the qualification, but race day was completely different. The track was more slippery and in the first race I had a small crash when I was racing in eleventh position. I crashed again when I was holding twelfth in the second moto and retired as the bike was damaged.”