Interview: Gautier Paulin – It was a tough GP!

French rider, Gautier Paulin always performs at the sand track of Valkenswaard. Paulin will have plenty of good memories from the track as he won there in 2015 on the HRC Honda and also last year on his ICE ONE Husqvarna. He missed the race in 2016 due to injury which was a shame.

Paulin also had a good weekend this year at the track as he ended up on the podium with a third overall. The first moto wasn’t the best as he only crossed the line in seventh but he made up for it in the second moto to come home in third and to clinch the last step on the podium.

We caught up with Paulin to see what it is about the track that means he always seems to perform there!

Gatedrop: Can you talk me through your day?

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Gautier Paulin: It’s been a good weekend of racing and I’m happy for our first podium result of the season. I had a good start in the opening moto and after a good first lap I found myself close to the leading group of riders. There were many ruts in the track and it was difficult to pass. Just before the end I had a small crash in a frozen rut but I got back quickly and finished seventh. My performance in moto two was better and I got third at the line for third overall. I’m quite happy I managed to turn things around and this is really positive for the races to come. My bike has been working awesome throughout the weekend and I feel really confident on it. We now need to keep the hard work going and hope for the best in the next GPs.

Gatedrop: With a lot of rain and snow prior to this weekend what was the Valkenswaard track like compared to usual?

Gautier Paulin: It was really tough, you know. Yesterday was really muddy and really wet. Today was much better, it was hard and frozen but I think Youthstream have made a good job because I couldn’t believe the track was like that. They turned it around also, it was a tough day for the hands you know. I couldn’t have my hands warm at all so it was really hard to ride in those conditions. It is the same for everyone, this was the GP and it’s the same for everyone.

Gatedrop: You always do well at Valkenswaard and have won a few times here. What do you think it is about this track that suits you so well?

Gautier Paulin: I think it’s tough, I think it’s a tough track. When the track gets rough and difficult you can’t just push always on the 450cc. You need to be really good technically and put yourself on the right place to accelerate on the right spot. Valkenswaard is hard but it suits me well. Of course, I’ve had some good results here and I think it’s tough but each year is a different track, it’s never the same. It’s not like we are going on the same ruts, same place, it’s a different year and it’s always different. You could see last year was a totally different track than this year. It doesn’t come for free and you need to work hard your ass every year and make it good.

Gatedrop: In that second moto, it’s unbelievable really but you were over a minute behind the two KTM guys. What do you think you need to do to close the gap to those two?

Gautier Paulin: Just to have a good start and to be with them. Yesterday both of them weren’t up front, you just need to have a good start. What Jeffrey (Herlings) did, it’s different because he started behind and then went to the front. I think he can’t make it every moto like that but he did it well and perfect. But I need to give myself a good start and put myself with them, I can do it for sure. I’ve proven it in the past so this is the goal for the next races.

Gatedrop: You head to Redsand next, what’s your goals for that race and the season ahead?

Gautier Paulin: The goal is always to do my best. You know, I do my best to set the bike up well and the ICE ONE Husqvarna racing team are behind me. They are doing a really good job, the bike is awesome so that’s the goal of every Grand Prix – to do my best.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry