Team HRC head to France for Gautier Paulin’s home race
This weekend will see the Team HRC riders head to France for Gautier Paulin’s home race just days after the action-packed GP of Great Britain.
The Villars-sous-Écot track in the east of the country, close to the Swiss border, is effectively a brand new track after undergoing a rebuild specifically for the MXGP. The venue is expected to be filled with patriotic French fans flocking to support local hero Gautier Paulin on the CRF450RW.
The French event will be particularly special for Paulin as it will be his first time riding red in front of his home crowd in MXGP and the French fans will be supporting their rider all the way to the chequered flag, expecting the best out of their home hero after his domination in the Motocross of Nations. Last time out, Paulin was one of the riders who lost out due to the red flag and so will be going into the MXGP of France with podium success firmly on his mind.
At the MXGP of Great Britain, Evgeny Bobryshev once again took a step forward in performance and confidence. The Russian rider will be looking to benefit from his team-mates knowledge of the track as most riders, with the exception of the French Motocross of Nations riders who used it for practice, will not have ridden the track. With only a few days between events, Bobby is looking to continue the momentum into the French GP and earn himself a podium finish.
The revamped Villars-sous-Écot track, a new addition to the MXGP calendar, has been built on the site of an old venue, features elevation changes and has a hard pack surface. The weather conditions look to be similar to those experienced at Matterley Basin: warm air temperatures with a chance of rain.
On track action for the MXGP riders will begin on Saturday with Free Practice at 10h45 local time and culminate in Sunday’s two races at 14h15 and 17hr10 local time.
“It’s effectively a new venue, as although it's been used at times in the past, it’s been rebuilt for this event. It looks really good. It’s a typically French hillside track that looks superb. I would think that none of the current crop of MXGP riders will have been there before, apart from the French guys. It’s the home GP for Gautier, and he doesn’t live far from the venue, so of course he will have a huge amount of support out there and it’ll be the first time he’s ridden in France on the Honda. Last weekend in the UK we saw Bobby continue to stride back towards the Bobby of old, which we always had faith that he’d do, and it’s great to see him progressing so we’re all looking forward to this weekend on both sides of the garage.”
Gautier Paulin 21
“It’s great going to France as I really like to ride in front of my crowd. They are really special, and I think people from all over can see that when we go to France it’s pretty amazing how popular motocross is there and how people reach for the riders. They are really patriotic so it’s a really special feeling to ride there. It’s great to remember the domination of Motocross of Nations last year and France winning. It was a really perfect weekend and I think that the French fans expect a lot from us now! But every time I go on the bike it’s to stand on the top step of the box. That’s always my expectation.
“I’ve ridden the track only once to get ready for the Motocross of Nations with the French team and they’ve made it all brand new. For sure it will be fun. Pretty much the same style we're used to as I think YouthStream made it so there will be many nice jumps. The dirt isn’t too bad there and I think they will make something much more modern than it was.”
Evgeny Bobryshev 777
“I’ve never been to the track before as it’s new to pretty much everyone. I’ve seen pictures and it looks really hard-packed. I can’t say too much about it, so we’ll just wait and see how it fits us on Saturday. I’m looking forward to racing there though as it’s a great place for a GP with so much atmosphere and crazy fans that always make it special. We’ve been testing since Spain to try and take another step. We can see things are getting better and better but we’re not fully there yet. There’s still more to come. We need to improve the starts and then we have the pace for the podium. I’m feeling better and stronger, so I can’t wait to race again.”