Top three for Team HRC in Qatar qualifying
Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin finished third in today’s qualifying race for the first GP of the season here at Losail, Qatar, getting his first GP back with Honda off to a strong start.
Steadying into a rhythm from the start and sitting within the top five aboard the red and blue CRF450RW, in the latter half of the 24minute race the big Frenchman started pushing to overcome first Kevin Strijbos and then Max Nagl to secure third.
Meanwhile, after commencing a recovery into the top ten, Evgeny Bobryshev was forced to stop on track as a stone became lodged in his back brake, locking it on and proving impossible to dislodge. He will start tomorrow’s opening race from 26th position.
The much-anticipated first race of the season starts at 2015hrs local time tomorrow.
“That was a very good ride from Gautier; excellent. Controlled, steady, he looked very safe, and I think he just measured the opposition up and did what he had to. He took his opportunities when he could and was moving forward throughout the whole race, so it was a very good ride from him. There are a lot of rocks on the track here and deep ruts and unfortunately for Bobby a stone jammed into the back brake and pretty well locked it on. But to be honest the start line here is quite even so to be down the back is not a huge problem, and with a good jump he can be at the front and right back in there again. Overall we’re pretty happy with this first qualifying race of the year and the objective for tomorrow is to be up there on the podium.”
Gautier Paulin 21
“Overall third is a good place in the gate for tomorrow, definitely. We need to improve some places but it’s good. I started riding safe with not the best line but I could find some ways to pass some riders, and then I pushed a little more so I was having a good rhythm in the end. Tomorrow is when we get the points, but the feeling is good overall.”
Evgeny Bobryshev 777
“I didn’t have a good gate jump but then I managed to come through in the first few corners. In the beginning I was having problems with the goggles and all the tear-offs went in one, so for ten minutes I was wiping the goggles with my hands. Then I got a stone in my back brake and it was blocked and got stuck so I couldn’t continue. Unfortunately I have the last gate tomorrow but we have to think positive and make a good start and come out fighting. Tomorrow it will be different.”