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Enduro

Monday 22nd April 2013

Gautier Paulin wins Bulgaria GP, Herlings remains undefeated in MX2

Gautier Paulin and the Kawasaki Racing Team have won the Bulgarian round of the FIM World MX1 Motocross Championship at the glorious hillside track of Sevlievo for the second consecutive year.

Frenchman Paulin dominated proceedings from the word go as he set fastest time in both practice sessions and scored a runaway victory in the qualification race.

He then repeated the feat in the opening GP moto, leading from the first lap, before wrapping up the GP victory with a secure second place in race two, finishing behind championship points leader Antonio Cairoli.

His 47-point haul has lifted the 23-year-old to second in the championship after five races of the 17 round series.

“It was a very good weekend, and it was great to race head to head with Antonio Cairoli as it had been difficult to accept him winning so many races in the earlier GPs." Paulin stated.

"I had a great feeling with the track and my Kawasaki right from the first practice session, and today I got two good starts. I got the holeshot in the first moto and won, then in the second I learnt a lot racing with Antonio.

"It’s great to win a GP, the first one for me this season; I have now scored four podiums including this GP win in the first five GPs and look forward to yet more victories in the races still to come.

"The KRT team is working well and we know where we can improve yet further; and I want to thanks all the people who are working with me," he added.

Reigning MX1 championship leader and current world champion Cairoli has never won the GP of Bulgaria in the MX1 class, with his last win in Bulgaria coming in 2007 in MX2.

He again had a tough start to his day finishing in fourth place in the opening moto. This left him a lot to do in the second moto and Cairoli did not disappoint.

After having switched to his favourite luminous ‘Valentino Rossi’ yellow boots and helmet, the Italian rider grabbed the holeshot but then slipped back into second after being passed by Paulin on lap one.

Then eight minutes into the race he took control, grabbed back the lead and stayed firmly in front until the checkered flag. At the end of the day, Cairoli picked up enough points to take the second podium spot and further advance his lead in the championship standings.

"I have two GPS where I didn’t win. My goal was always to be on the top spot but hopefully I will be able to do my best in the next GP and things will go better for me." Cairoli commented at the end of the weekends racing.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clement Desalle was back on the podium this weekend after finishing third in both races. After two great starts Desalle had to battle with his teammate Kevin Strijbos to finish on the podium.

In the first race Desalle could not overtake Strijbos, while in the second one Desalle finished in front of his teammate, with Desalle at the end of the day just getting the overall podium position in front of his team mate.

"I'm happy to take my first podium in Europe," Desalle enthused. "I had some bad luck in the last two grands prix and I was disappointed about that so it feels good to be back.

"I had some good starts and I'm happy about that and was with Kevin for most the day. Some moves were really close and we had to be careful! It was a good battle for sure and we rode together for almost every lap.

"I tried some stuff to pass him in the first moto but then had two laps of making mistakes and he made a gap. I concentrated again and got close and then passed him but he came straight back; I didn't expect him to come so close.

"Anyway, no crashes, good fighting and this result feels good," he concluded.

Strijbos was a little disappointed with his fourth position in the second race because a problem with his goggles stopped him from fighting for the the final podium position.

"It was good today. I got most of it right in the first race; at the end my team-mate passed me and I could get him right back, so I was happy with that." Strijbos stated.

"In the second race I felt OK, got a good start but Tony ran wide, hit the berm and I had to slow down a little bit so not to hit him. I was fourth and stayed there the whole time!

"I was pushing hard but on the fifth lap a rock hit my goggle and the lens popped out, and that was about it. I couldn't get close to Clement and every time I did I had sand in my face and it was flying around when I was going over the jumps.

"I wasn't happy about that but overall it has been a good weekend. I had good speed for the podium and now I'll work a bit more to try and make it happen in Portugal."

Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jeremy Van Horebeek claimed his best result of the season this weekend finishing fifth overall. In the first race the Belgian rider started down in eighth and he rode behind Davide Philippaerts most of the moto, but in the last laps Van Horebeek closed the gap, overtook the Italian and crossed the finish line seventh.

In the second race Van Horebeek had a better start and he was riding fifth comfortably until he was overtaken by Ken De Dycker and had to settle for sixth place.

“I’m happy to be back in the top five; it’s so great to do some good motos." Van Horebeek stated. "I'm still not at my best as I couldn’t train this week due to my shoulder injury, and the last ten minutes of both races were tough.

"But it’s great to be back near the front; I have been so many times on the podiums in the MX2 class and now I want to be there in MX1.

"I had a great feeling right from the first practice session this weekend, and now I’m confident as we have two weeks before Portugal; I will have time to work, and for sure I will be stronger there," he added.

Tommy Searle finished six over all, just ahead of De Dycker who stuggled with starts all weekend. Philippaerts finished 8th overall while Max Nagl and Davide Guarneri rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth respectively.

MX2

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings turned on the heat on the Sevlievo circuit in Bulgaria on Sunday to take two very dominant wins in the MX2 GP.

It was the Duch rider's first career GP win at this traditional and very popular circuit and leaves him unbeaten in 2013 with five GP wins from 10 race victories.

"So far so good! Its never easy, I’ve been making some mistakes but luckily they didn’t happen on a Sunday so far." Herling commented after the second moto in Bulgaria.

"I haven’t lost a moto yet and I keep on charging. For the moment the only one who can stop the bullet is the bullet himself," the Ducth rider added.

Herlings Teammate Jordi Tixier put up a good battle, especially in the first race where he took the holeshot and held off Herlings’ hard attacks until lap seven of the race.

In reality it was an event that was dominated by the two KTM riders, one Dutch and one French and while it was undoubtedly Herlings day, it is clear that Tixier is gaining in confidence in the face of fierce competition from his teammate.

"Sure I enjoyed that, I got a good start and I tried to push to stay in front of Jeffrey." Tixier commented. "It’s my goal to be at the maximum and in the front.

"Jeffrey is a pretty good rider - the world champion in 2012. Now I just want to give my best all the time and if I can stay in front of him for 10 laps the next time, i will.

"I just want to learn from him because it is good for me and we’ll see what happens," he added.

It was a great day for Alessandro Lupino who was able to finish eighth and third to secure his maiden podium in the MX2 class.

The CLS MX2 Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit rider was riding with two ribs broken from a crash he suffered in Arco di Trento, but he admitted that he could not feel the pain when he was riding third in the second race.

“It’s so nice to be on the podium, the first one in my career! I didn’t know that I was on the podium, and didn’t expect that as I finished only eighth in the first race." Lupino stated.

"I have a great feeling with the team and my bike, but in the previous GPs I couldn’t show that and it was difficult to accept it. I had some better starts today, in the top ten in race one and top five in race two and that makes things much easier, but I must still work to improve my starts even more.

"I had to take some pills for the pain as I broke two ribs last week; it was painful during the first ten minutes but then it was OK.”

Silver Action KTM’s José Butrón ended the day fourth overall finishing just ahead of Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Max Anstie who rounded out the top five.

It was a bit of a tough day for Aussie Dean Ferris, who finished in eighth place overall. Ferris made things hard for himself after a crash on Saturday, giving him the the twentieth gate pick for each moto on Sunday.

Ferris launched well in the first moto but went from fifth to the depths of the top ten with a small slip on the opening lap. He crossed the line in tenth and then backed up a solid day with sixth place in the second moto.

“In the first moto it was unfortunate I crashed but all day, all weekend, I didn’t really feel comfortable on this circuit." Ferris explained. "It is obviously not my favourite.

"We went better in the second one considering I got a really bad start. I clicked away the laps and caught up. I’m disappointed I couldn’t run with the leaders but the bike was fast.

I got more points than I did last weekend in Italy but oddly I feel more satisfied with last Sunday! All-in-all I’m healthy now so at least I can go home and practice," he added.


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