France MXGP Race Report

Photo courtesy Youthstream.

Saint Jean d’Angely woke up this morning with some intimidating clouds, but in the end just some drops came down during the first heats. The crowd present in the French track witnessed one of the best Grand Prix of the season with superb racing in both MX1 and MX2 classes, where Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings were the overall winners.

Although Antonio Cairoli was the clear dominant of the MX1 class, the crowd specially followed with enthusiasm the battle for the top five positions, where at some point it was disputed among eight riders. In the end, Christophe Pourcel and Gautier Paulin were second and third overall.

In the MX2 class Jeffrey Herlings and Tommy Searle shared the moto wins, but it was the Dutch who took the overall because the Brit was third in the first race and Herlings was second in the last moto. Jeremy Van Horebeek completed the podium having his left ankle injured.


Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cairoli admitted that yesterday he did not feel as comfortable as usual on his KTM, but they changed some settings of the bike, including the suspensions, and today the Italian felt much better. He had two good starts and he kept the lead until the chequered flag in both motos. At the moment, Cairoli is leading the series with 39 points advantage over Christophe Pourcel, who is now second in the championship.

CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Christophe Pourcel was very satisfied with the second overall position, having previously admitted that Saint Jean d’Angely was not one of his favorite tracks. The French rider did not have good starts in any of the heats and had to fight hard to make the moves up to the front. However, in the first heat, Pourcel succeeded in obtaining the second position already in the opening lap, but by the end of the race his compatriot Paulin overtook him. In the second race Pourcel started from an initial sixth position and he had to give his best to finish second and claim the second step of the podium.

The third place was for Kawasaki Racing Team’s Paulin, who did an incredible first race going from ninth to second. In fact, he imposed an incredible rhythm by the end moto and Cairoli had to push harder in order to keep the lead. In the second moto the Kawasaki rider did not have a good start either, but he was already second in lap ten. However, a mistake in a downhill made him lose a lot of time, as well as three positions. In the end, Gautier crossed the finish line third and completed the podium being tight in points with Pourcel.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Desalle was affected by some personal circumstances this weekend, which prevented him to be fully focus for the Grand Prix. However, once he was on the bike he gave the best of himself as he normally does. In the end, Desalle went 5-4 and he obtained a final fourth position.

Kawasaki Racing Team’s Boog completed the top five of his home Grand Prix thanks to his 4-7 result. The French rider took the holeshot of the first heat, but he could not keep the lead and he actually went down to fourth already in the first lap. Boog was able to overtake Gonçalves, but Christophe Pourcel overtook Boog by the end of the race. In the second heat, Boog did not have a good start and he was only able to finish seventh.

Philippaerts struggled with the start in the first moto and he was only able to cross the finish line tenth, but in the second race the Italian started at the front behind Cairoli and his teammate Frossard. However, Philippaerts could not keep that position and he crossed the finish line fifth, which gave him the overall sixth position.

The French crowd was able to see the comeback of Frossard, after he had struggled a lot in the previous three Grand Prix. Frossard finished eighth in the first moto and he did an incredible start in the second heat. In fact, he was even able to overtake Cairoli and led the second race during four laps. In the end, Frossard could not keep that rhythm and he finished eighth, seventh overall in the Grand Prix.

Sebastién Pourcel did a great qualifying heat yesterday, but today he could only finish eighth overall. Ninth was De Dycker, who struggled a lot with his starts today, and Gonçalves completed the top ten. The Portuguese had a really good start in the first race and he rode third during the first four laps, but he then dropped down to the ninth position, and in the second heat he was only ninth.

Bobryshev finished sixth in the first moto, but he made a mistake in the start of the second heat and had to push from the very last position. The Russian succeeded in reaching the 14th place, but he then crash again, his bike broke and he could not finish the heat. Bobryshev was fourteenth overall.

Tony Cairoli: "I'm really happy about this victory, plus, I beat Pourcel in his own home GP. I gave him back what he did to me in Fermo (Italy). The same thing happened in 2007. At the end of the race we hugged each other and we said that the next time we are going to make a deal to make our own fans happy. Yesterday I had some difficulties on this hard ground but today went really well. I won both of the races even if the second one was tougher that the first. The rhythm was faster and I had some problems overtaking. I knew that the others were boosting up but I kept on my way and looking ahead to give my best."

Christophe Pourcel: "This isn't really my type of track and the goal was to get on the podium here; we got it, so we're happy even if we were not that far from the victory. It wasn't easy as there are a lot of loose rocks, and the start is very important here. In both races I hit patches of soft ground off the start but I was able to come back from sixth to second in race two and I have now moved to second in the standings."

Gautier Paulin: "It's good to be back on the podium after just missing it a couple of times. I had good speed on this track, in fact I made the fastest lap times in both races. My Kawasaki got me out of the gate well in both races, but an incident at turn two in the first race left me about tenth and I couldn't quite catch the winner. I was chasing the leader in race two when my front wheel slipped on a small rock as I approached a double jump before a downhill. I lost a lot of time as I had to scramble back up the hill to get my bike and it was facing the wrong way so I was pleased to pass Desalle and Philippaerts to finish third and get a podium; that is always nice at your home GP."

MX1 Race 1 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38:29.928; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.258; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:14.964; 4. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:17.382; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:21.858; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:23.566; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:27.154; 8. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.296; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:30.832; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:41.517;

MX1 Race 2 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38:51.915; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.043; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:10.331; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:14.353; 5. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:16.055; 6. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:21.310; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:21.501; 8. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:24.767; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:29.120; 10. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:45.782;

MX1 Overall top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 34 p.; 5. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 32 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 27 p.; 7. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 26 p.; 8. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 25 p.; 9. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 25 p.; 10. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 24 p.;

MX1 Championship top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 253 points; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 214 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 213 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 212 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 179 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 169 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 161 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 154 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 134 p.; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 121 p.;


Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Herlings was specially satisfied with the overall victory this weekend because he had never had a podium finish in Saint Jean d’Angely. The Dutch rider led the first heat from beginning to end, but in the second one he struggled a little bit with his start. However, after nine laps, Herlings was already second, but Searle had already checked out and the Dutch had to settle down with the second place. 

Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Searle admitted that he did not made the best gate pick in the first moto and he had to fight from an initial twelfth position until a well deserved third place. In the second heat he had a really good start and although he started behind Tonus, Searle made the move during the third lap and he kept the lead until the chequered flag. Searle was second overall, two points behind Herlings.

The third overall position was for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Van Horebeek thanks to his 2-3 result. The Belgian did a superb performance taking into account that he was riding with his left ankle injured due to an accident he suffered during the warm up. During the second moto, he hit his foot again against the ground, so he could not improve his third position.

Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Roelants had some problems with the start of the first heat, as well as his teammate Searle. The Belgian started from the eighth position, but he succeeded in finishing fourth, the same result he obtained in the second heat. Roelants ended fourth overall in the Grand Prix.

Home rider Tixier completed the top five thanks to his 6-5 result. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider did really good starts today; in fact, he took the holeshot of the second heat. However, the French rider was not able to keep the pressure from the rest of the riders and had to settle down with the fifth overall result.

Teillet went from sixth to fourth in the first heat, but he then made a mistake and dropped down one position. In the second heat he was only able to finish ninth, which gave him the final sixth position. His teammate Ferrandis did not take part in the races today because he injured his wrist yesterday during the qualifying heat. Tomorrow Ferrandis will have more scans done on his wrist to determine the seriousness of the injury.

Nicholls and Anstie were seventh and eighth, whereas Petrov and Febvre completed the top ten.

Swiss rider Tonus made a really good performance this weekend on his comeback to the Grand Prix, after having missed all the beginning of the season due to a shoulder and wrist injury. In the first moto he started third, but he could not keep the rhythm and ended seventh. In the second heat he led the first three laps but Searle was much faster and overtook him easily. Herlings was coming very strong from the back and while both were battling for the second place, Tonus went down the floor and Herlings took the second place. The Swiss rider had some problems to restart the bike, and by the time he entered the race again he was down to 24th. Tonus finished seventeenth, which gave him the final eleventh position. His teammate Leib did not take part in today’s races because he was sick since yesterday.

Charlier, who finished eighth in the first moto, dislocated his right shoulder and had to pull away from the second race.

Jeffrey Herlings: "My first race was quite easy after I took the holeshot but I had a bad start in the second moto and was back at 10th and had to work my way back to second. Regarding a touch he had with Arnaud Tonus of Switzerland he commented that he saw it as just a race accident that came about when both riders were fighting hard for the best race line."

Tommy Searle: "This was probably the best-prepped track all year, but that meant that there was less of a differential between the fastest riders and the rest so it made it more difficult to move through the pack if you didn't get a good start. After winning the qualification on Saturday we decided to take gate one, but the ground at the start had been graded and my rear wheel dug into the soft gravel so I was nearly last off the start. By the time I got to third, the leaders were gone. I was soon second in race two and once I found a way past the leader I put my head down and opened up a gap."

Jeremy van Horebeek: "I hurt my ankle really bad and I thought it might be the end of my season but I had some x-rays and they told me the ligaments were just a bit sprained, It was fine for the first moto and I felt really good but I just didn't have that bit extra to challenge Jeffrey. I made a small mistake in the second corner of the second race and dropped back to fifth and then I twisted my ankle again and had to let Jeffrey pass me. He underlined that there was no obligation to let his team-mate past and there is no team order. He still considers the championship open. I know I have the speed and I will do my best."

MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 38:43.782; 2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:08.542; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:20.337; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:30.338; 5. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:32.786; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:40.229; 7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:41.359; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:42.563; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:52.544; 10. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:01.570;

MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 38:42.069; ; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:03.695; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:04.651; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:05.462; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:22.371; 6. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:37.195; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), +0:37.856; 8. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:44.540; 9. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:02.571; 10. Petar Petrov (BUL, Suzuki), +1:08.058;

MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 45 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 36 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), 28 p.; 7. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 24 p.; 8. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 23 p.; 9. Petar Petrov (BUL, Suzuki), 19 p.; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), 18 p.;

MX2 Championship top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 270 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 248 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 231 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 188 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 160 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 159 p.; 7. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 144 p.; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 118 p.; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 110 p.; 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 107 p.;