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Thailand and Qatar: What we learnt!

Thailand and Qatar: What we learnt!
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The first two GP’s contested at Qatar and Thailand are done and dusted. We take a look at what we have learnt during the first two GP’s in 2016.

Gautier Paulin: GP21 went to USA for his pre-season preparation and to work with Aldon Baker. Some people were saying it would be his best ever pre-season as a professional. However, when the gate dropped at Qatar he was way off the pace, it has been two very bad GP’s for Paulin.

Just a few years ago on-board his Factory Kawasaki he was Cairoli’s main championship competitor but last year, his first year on the HRC Honda he didn’t show his usual speed. He ended up second in the championship but there were a lot of injuries! This was supposed to be the year challenge for the title as he has already had a year under his belt with the Honda.

If the first two GP’s are to go by he is a long way off the pace and has a lot of work to do. Last year he won in Valkenswaard so he really needs to get a podium when we return there this year or he could be in trouble. However, if he gets on the podium it could be the starting point for his season.

Kevin Strijbos: I expected more from Strijbos at the first two rounds of the championship but he seems to be struggling a lot with arm pump. I think Strijbos has the speed and once he can get rid of his arm pump problems that he will be in and around the top five. Kevin isn’t happy and says he isn’t “sure what is wrong”.

The Belgian is another rider that has work to do before Valkenswaard but he is usually good there so it will be a chance for him to get his season started and back on track!

MX2 fresh blood: During the first two GP’s we have seen a lot of new names do well in the MX2 class in what is a new era. These riders will be contesting for the title when Herlings moves up to the MXGP class. Brylyakov, Van Doninick, Ostlund, Paturel and Bernardini have all had good results and are just some of the names to look out for in the future.

Tommy Searle: Speed has never been a problem for the Brit and a lot of people seem to have forgotten how fast he is. We haven’t seen the real Tommy Searle since his rookie year in MXGP where he finished sixth in the championship that year.

The first two GP’s have went great for Tommy, he is right on the pace of Simpson! Tommy is really happy with the start to the season and will start getting his confidence back. It might not be long until we see him finish in the top five and push for podiums.

British fans are in for a treat to see Searle and Simpson battle for the championship. With most the races at sand tracks, Simpson probably has the upper hand but it will be a good way for Searle to improve his sand riding!

Championship set up well for a return to Europe: Only six points separate Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser in the MXGP world championship. Eight times world champion, Cairoli is twenty-eight behind Febvre. Bobryshev and Van Horebeek are placed third and fourth in the championship race. Can they mix it up and cause a championship upset once the series returns back to Europe? So many questions we will see being answered over the course of the season, it’s going to be an exciting one!

Article: Andy McKinstry

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