PHOTOS/VIDEO/TEXT – Youthstream & MXGP
The 2017 FIAT Professional MXGP of France was held today at the beautiful Ernée circuit in front of thousands of energetic and dedicated fans. Doubling down on the success of yesterday's Qualifying Races Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team's Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Pauls Jonass won their respective overalls in an amazing atmosphere.
2017 MXGP Of France | MX2 Class
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Pauls Jonass did what he has done now many times this season, win the MX2 overall and extend his points lead. Jonass won Saturday's Qualifying races and had a similar Race 1 by getting the lead and creating a gap early and then coasting to the finish. Race 2 was a new challenge as Jonass had Benoit Paturel ahead of him and Jeremy Seewer providing pressure from behind. Jonass stay second and took home the overall with the 1-2 result. In the press conference Jonass said: "To get the overall on the hard pack is a pretty good feeling, as you know last week it didn't go so well in Germany. I made some improvements during the week and it payed off this weekend, I felt better on the bike and overall the feeling was much better than last weekend. It was a really good race and the whole time the French crowd cheering".
Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team's Benoit Paturel had the French crowd on his side the entire weekend. In Race 1 Paturel passed several riders to get to third by lap 7, however Benoit was left searching for a way past Jeremy Seewer. Unable to find a way through Paturel he took 3rd in Race 1 behind Seewer and Jonass.
In Race 2 Paturel, who has struggled with starts all year long, scored his first career Fox Holeshot. The firsts kept on coming as he won race 2, the only time in his career thus far. On the French mother's day holiday Paturel finished second overall and dedicated his race win to his mother, whom passed away last year. In the press conference Paturel said: "I'm really happy with my race, I had difficulty in the past at the last race in Germany, but I came back strong. I'm happy to battle with these two guys (Jonass and Seewer), I think we have a good level and it is really nice to ride like this. Today I got the first FOX Holeshot of my career and it helped very much."
Suzuki World MX2's Jeremy Seewer followed up his 2nd place with 3rd in Race 2. Seewer applied pressure to his title competitor Jonass in both races but in neither was able to make a pass. Seewer has been focusing on eliminating mistakes and his 3rd overall scored the same points as Paturel's 2nd. Seewer later in the race press conference said: "Third Position is a little bit less than we expected but it was still a good race especially in the second one where we all 3 pushed pretty hard and gapped the other guys. First race I tried to pull on Pauls and made a small mistake, I was really scared to the make the same mistakes of yesterday".
For the second time in two races Suzuki World MX2's Hunter Lawrence placed one spot behind his teammate, Seewer, while last weekend he was third, this time it was 4th overall. Lawrence placed 5-4 and is showing some serious speed that will undoubtedly continue in the upcoming rounds.
The final spot in the top five went to the hard charging LRT KTM rider Julien Lieber. The Belgian had a decent start in Race 1 and moved from 5th on lap one to finish 4th. Though the real story was that of the 2nd race when he was 19th after lap one but made a miraculous charge up to 6th by the finish, the #33's 4-6 charge was worth 33 points proved just enough to keep him 5th overall.
Other notable riders are Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Thomas Kjer Olsen and Red Bull Factory KTM Racing’s Jorge Prado Garcia. Olsen, third in the championship scored 7-8 finishes after being 13th and 21st on lap one taking 7th overall. Prado battled in the top three first few laps of MX2 Race 1 before finishing 6th and in the top five of Race two eventually finishing 5th for 6th overall.
2017 MXGP Of France | MXGP Class
The weekend started well for Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team's Clement Desalle as he took pole position, winning the Qualifying session. Desalle started Sunday looking to keep the momentum on his side but a 4th place in Race 1 wasn't what he was capable of or expecting. In Race 2 the #25 came out on a mission when he jumped past Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Antonio Cairoli for the lead on lap 2 and then led every lap to the finish winning his first race and overall of the year. Desalle in the press conference said: "It's really nice to be back on the podium and it's a good feeling to win a race after a while. I'm very satisfied about the job me and my team did in the last few weeks and we'll keep working to be consistent for the rest of the season and enjoy riding".
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Antonio Cairoli, the current championship points leader, had somewhat of an off weekend where he struggled to pick lines and put in the laps he wanted. In Race 1 Cairoli was 3rd for 16 laps but he made it into second for the final two laps. Race 2 started with the FOX Holeshot but he was passed by both Desalle and Paulin, an uncommon occurrence. Overall it was a positive weekend for Cairoli though with a 2-3 finish for a second overall, an extended points lead, and he surpassed a milestone of 8,000 championship points throughout his career. Cairoli in the race press conference said: "I don't think of the championship so far as there are a lot of races to go but I got points this weekend which is a very positive thing. I'm very happy about the weekend, I had a very good start and I eventually found a good rhythm".
Third overall but first in the French fans hearts was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Gautier Paulin. Paulin admittedly struggled in yesterday's qualifying race and today's Race 1 where he finished 6th. Paulin and his team made some adjustments between the races and found a noticeably improved setting. Paulin was 4th on the start of race 2 but methodically worked his way to challenge Desalle. Paulin finished 6-2 for 3rd overall. He stated in the race press conference: "Fighting for the top today was great! The feeling on the bike was really good and I wish to thank my team for that. Thinking of the next race in Russia, I don't know the track but I always try to do my best at every GP."
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Max Nagl had his first race win this season today which was also his first top five of the season. The German has been making strides in his performances and today was rather impressive when he took the FOX Holeshot and led every lap to win Race 1. In Race 2 he had another good start amongst the top 10 before moving up to sixth but he was then passed twice and later fell. Even with the fall Nagl had a stellar weekend and finished 4th overall.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Van Horebeek fought hard through both races battling with various riders but most of all his teammate Romain Febvre. In Race 1 Van Horebeek held second position for 16 laps but fell on the 17th and lost the position to Cairoli. In Race 2 Febvre had the backing of the home GP fans, beating out Van Horebeek and with a strong end of Race he charged the Frenchman finishing 4th. The two Yamaha's would go 5th and 6th overall with Van Horebeek ahead.
Another notable ride came from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Jeffrey Herlings when he came from near last in Race 2. After a first turn crash Herlings was on fire before finishing 5th. The "Bullet" put in the fastest lap of the race on his charge through the pack and his salvaged 5-5 took 7th overall.
Team HRC's Tim Gajser withdrew from today's racing due to shoulder pain. The Slovenian was at one point the red plate holder and coming into this weekend was second in the championship. Gajser is now 4th in the championship and his status outside this weekend is yet to be determined.