Andy McKinstry: It’s recently been announced that Paturel has inked a deal with the Marchetti KTM deal and if you’re a regular gatedrop.com reader you’d have seen we reported the news before it was official! Honestly, when I heard the news that Paturel was testing with the Italian team I was quite surprised as it’s not a team I imaged him with. However, as all the teams in MXGP are sorted for riders, he didn’t exactly have many options and should probably be thankful for the opportunity he’s been given!
It will be nice to see the French rider back in MXGP, he belongs in the paddock and has worked very hard to get to where he is today. The Kemea Yamaha team took a chance on his signing based on Jacky Vimond’s advice, he wasn’t a big name when they signed him but he’s an extremely hard worker. It will definitely take a while to get the use of him in orange though!
So, how will he do? Paturel is fast, make no mistake about it. Last year in the MX2 World Championship he had the speed of Jonass and Seewer but his starts let him down. The French rider is pretty big and his style should suit the 450cc, he’ll need to improve his starts though. He hasn’t race a GP since Sweden last year and he’ll be racing with the big boys this year so he might need a few GP’s to get that intensity back.
Honestly, I think Paturel will be a solid rider in the top ten. We have already saw Seewer’s and Lieber’s speed on the 450cc and there’s no reason why Paturel can’t be as good as them. This weekend if he can finish between 10-15 that would be a solid GP back for him and he’ll be able to build on it. However, he is a hard pack specialist so don’t be too surprised if he’s further up the pecking order.
I’m sure the plan for Paturel is improve as the season goes on and in an ideal world he will hope to secure a factory ride for the 2019 season, something he missed out on this year!
Jonathan McCready: Benoit Paturel has finally got himself a ride sorted in MXGP even if he had to miss the first three rounds to do it! It had been a shambolic winter with Paturel heavily linked to top factory teams only for nothing to be secured and then the on/off situation with the BOS suspension team, ultimately leaving him with nothing.
It was all a bit bizarre but at least the Frenchman is back where he belongs and it adds another top MX2 rider to the MXGP field. It was expected Paturel would be very good on the 450 with his size not proving a handicap although with such a chaotic winter it may be a while before we get to see the best of him.
Paturel’s starts were always a problem in MX2 but when he got away at the front he was usually a factor for the podium if not the win. It will be interesting to see if the 450 will help the Frenchman get his frame out of the gate better and allow him to get away with the leaders. There are shades of Romain Febvre in Paturel and when gets his fitness and gets comfortable on the KTM, he could well be a match for anyone not named Herlings or Cairoli on his day!