Battling his way through a challenging weekend of racing at the sandy track of Lommel, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin has wrapped up round 14 of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship claiming fifth overall in the MXGP class. Delivering a solid performance in Belgium, Thomas Kjer-Olsen placed fifth overall in the MX2 category.
With the sandy Lommel circuit forming long ruts that got deeper as the event went on, the MXGP of Belgium proved to be a challenge for all competitors. Taking advantage of the small break in the series to better prepare for these conditions, Gautier Paulin proved to be a strong contender in both MXGP class motos.
Showing good speed in moto one, Gautier was gradually getting closer to the top six before suffering a small mid-moto fall. Wasting no time to get back up to speed, the Frenchman crossed the line in seventh place. Coming back stronger in moto two, Paulin was involved in some great battles before eventually claiming a sixth place result. Adding 29 points to his championship tally the FC 450 mounted rider remains fourth in the MXGP class’ championship standings.
Continuing to show signs of improvement Gautier’s teammate Max Nagl wrapped up the GP with seventh overall in the MXGP category. Kicking off his weekend with a holeshot and a fifth place result in the qualifying race, the German had one more great start in the opening MXGP moto. Racing in fourth for the first four laps, he went on to cross the line in fifth place. Not getting an equally good start in moto two, Nagl fought his way from outside the top 10 to ninth at the end of the race.
For Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s MXGP class rookie Max Anstie, the highlight of the weekend was an impressive third place result in the second moto. Battling through a bad start in moto one Anstie had to settle for 14th at the chequered flag. Getting third in moto two the young Brit claimed seventh overall at the GP of Belgium.
Finishing fifth overall in the MX2 category, Thomas Kjer-Olsen was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s best performing rider in the 250cc class. Showing impressive speed despite treacherous track conditions, the young Dane got seventh in moto one and third in moto two. Collecting 34 points he is still third in the provisional MX2 World Championship standings.
Involved in some great battles for the top five in both motos, Conrad Mewse collected 8/7 results to claim a strong seventh overall in MX2 class. Satisfied with his improved speed the Brit is now hoping for some even better results in the races to come.
For Thomas Covington the GP of Belgium proved to be one of mixed fortunes. Getting a ninth place result in moto one, the American got an impressive holeshot to lead the pack for the first two laps in moto two. Spending most part of the race in second, Thomas suffered a crash three laps before the end and was unable to finish the moto.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team will return to action at round 15 of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship in Frauenfeld/Gachnang, Switzerland on August 11/12.
Gautier Paulin: “We’ve worked really hard these past few weeks and expectations were pretty high coming into Lommel. Getting fifth overall is by no means a bad result but I feel that it doesn’t reflect my riding level and the hard work we’ve all been putting in. My starts were not that good and it was really hard to make passes in this track. In the opening moto I had a crash right after making a crucial pass and that reduced my chances to fight for the top six. Then in moto two I found myself in ninth at the end of the first lap and it was not easy to gain many more places. We take this GP as a learning experience and we’re moving forward. I’m looking forward to the next few races hoping I will be able to show more of what I’m capable of.”
Max Nagl: “Overall, it was a good weekend and I managed to collect some good points for the championship. Getting the holeshot in the qualifying race and leading for the first few laps felt quite good. Going into Sunday I had a great start in moto one and could ride my own race for firth at the line. In moto two I had a bad jump out of the gate and found myself racing in 18th place after the first few corners. My riding again was good and I made some good passes for ninth at the end of the race. Everything is looking good for me at the moment and I can’t wait for the GP in Switzerland.”
Max Anstie: “It was great to finish off a challenging weekend with third in moto two. It shows the speed is there. In moto one I made a rookie mistake and started off the gate in first instead of second gear. I struggled to find my rhythm and had to settle for 14th. I knew I could do a lot better in these tough conditions and I wanted to make it happen in moto two. I got a great start and immediately the feeling was a lot better. I managed to put in some consistent lap times to bring my bike home in third place. It’s good that we leave Belgium with a positive result so I can now take this momentum to the following GPs.”
Thomas Kjer-Olsen: “It was a tough GP and I did the best I could for a good overall result. The speed was there so I knew it was crucial to get good starts. In moto one I started within the top five and battled my way to seventh at the line. My laptimes were good and I also tried to save some energy for moto two. We made some good changed during the break and I felt a lot better in the second race. I managed to improve my pace and was happy to earn third in the last moto. I’m still third in the championship. There’s still a long way to go for this season to end so the plan is to continue doing my best for some good overall results.”
Conrad Mewse: “I had two consistent motos and I’m satisfied with seventh overall. This result would have made me more than happy couple of rounds ago but now it’s just a reward for all the hard work we’re putting in. I got two decent starts and had to dig deep in both motos. I did my best for the first 25 minutes but then made a few mistakes and lost a few places during the final laps. Overall, it was a good weekend for me. There are no words to thank my team for standing by my side in all the good and the not so good moments. We’ll keep working as hard as we do hoping for some better results in the next rounds.”
Thomas Covington: “I was feeling really good coming to Lommel and the plan was to keep my podium streak going. I didn’t get the best of starts in race one and rode a steady moto for ninth at the line. Then in moto two I got the holeshot and lead the first couple of laps before Prado passed me. I had a good race pace but three laps before the end I made a small mistake and ended up hitting the dirt pretty hard. I feel sore in my back but luckily I stayed away from any serious injury. I now need to give my body some time to relax but hopefully I will be back to my normal training schedule pretty soon.”