GP Bits: MXGP of France | Round Seven 2

An inside look at the seventh round of the 2019 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship from Jean d’ Angely, France.

GP Bits: MXGP of France | Round Seven

The French get into it.

We are going to take a tour of the pro pits, starting with Honda HRC Team.

Bike It DRT Kawasaki

Red Bull KTM. Pretty impressive to have both red plates under the same tent. It seems that the US Red Bull Team's pits take pretty much the same style that the Euros have.

Monster Energy Kawasaki

Standing Construct KTM

Monster Energy Yamaha. Again the US Monster Energy Yamaha Team of Barcia and Ferris (and AP) looks very similar to the MXGP pits.

Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 Team

We usually start with Red Bull KTM rider Tony Ciaroli because he is either first or second, but this last weekend he didn't even make the top five overall, partly because of this right here. You can see that he and a few other riders got hung up on the gate in moto two.

Cairoli managed a second in moto one, but the gate issue, tip overs and a stall put him down in 17th in moto two. He ended up in 7th overall and retains the points lead.

Tony Cairoli - “It is not the best day but we take positive and that is some points. It felt like the whole weekend was a struggle right from that crash on the first corners of the Qualification Heat and getting run over by some riders. My ankle is not perfect it was pretty sore; this track is very slick and it is easy to put your foot on the ground. From 14th place I chose a good gate in the first moto but not in the second: some were dropping and some not. It seemed I had the last one of the forty to drop! I tried to come back fast through the group and it was going well actually but I crashed again while 11th and got hit again. I restarted and tried to get as many points as I could. We are looking for the next race now. We need to keep focussed. This was not the best race of the season but we learn from the mistakes – I’m still learning at almost 34 years old – and I will try to be on the podium again at the next race.”

One, one moto scores makes the math easy for Honda HRC's Tim Gajser. It looks like he can really make a run for this championship when he isn't hitting the ground.

Tim Gajser - "I’m really happy how both days went. I was having fun on the track and even though it was rough and sketchy in some places, it was still enjoyable to race on. In the first race, I took a little time to pass the guys in front of me before getting the lead and making a gap to control the race. In the second moto I clipped the gate and almost went over the handlebar off the start but I recovered and near the back it felt like. I made some passes to get near the front and then settled for a couple of laps in third before making a strike to get out front. I’m just really happy how things are going at the moment and I hope to continue this momentum into Russia. I am having fun on the bike and I am enjoying putting in the work with the rest of Team HRC. We have a great environment that is helping me this season and it is such a great feeling to win these races and reward the effort that everyone is putting in."

Another great weekend for Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha rider Arnaud Tonus, putting together a pair of thirds for second overall.

Arnaud Tonus - "I am super happy. I am very thankful for everything. Thankful for my team, for Yamaha, and everyone who has stood behind me, I just want to keep going this way."

While we are speaking of Tonus, let's check out his Wilvo Yamaha YZ450F.

There are some unique differences between the Wilvo team and the US ME Yamaha team bikes. First, you can see on this 450 that the coolant line temp sensor has been moved to a T-joint in the silicon hose. The stock position is a Y-joint that meets the coolant line as it enters the cylinder. The Wilvo team runs a Rekluse clutch rather than GYTR, and they have a much smaller skid plate with carbon protectors on the lower coolant lines.

Just like the US team, Tonus' bike has a hydraulic clutch. It is rare to see both master cylinders not wrapped up in carbon fiber... That is so IN this season.

It is also rare to see no brake protection whatsoever. Also weird that there is no stop or bolt on the brake pedal from keeping it from being pushed up and destroying the master cylinder. Fellow Yamaha rider Febvre runs the same no-guard set-up.

The business end of the hydraulic clutch. Also, the upper engine mount mirrors the stock shape, but might not be the stock material, but the front engine mount has neither stock shape or material. The Akro pipe with carbon guard looks good on a Yami.

Monster Energy Yamaha's Romain Febvre had a great second weekend back from injury. He landed on the third step of the overall podium with 5 - 2 moto scores.

Romain Febvre - "It's been a long road back to the podium. I still don't feel 100% because I still have some pain in my ankle and have not had a lot of time on the bike. My speed is not so bad, I am quite surprised, but the racing itself is very tough, especially because I was sick all week with a fever and could not train. A holeshot in the second race made the race much easier, so I just tried to enjoy my time on the track because I was missing some fitness, and I put in a good performance to end up on the podium."

Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Team has been very consistent this season so far. Putting together 6 - 4 moto scores got him fourth overall.

Clement Desalle - “I was a little bit disappointed with the first race; I had moved into fourth position when I made a small mistake in a fast corner; in fact I hit my leg and my knee a few corners before and I made the mistake because I just wasn't focused enough. I started the second moto with a painful thumb after a stone hit it during the first race, but I got a good start and was third during the first part of the race until Gajser passed me. But fourth was a decent result, even if I just missed the podium for the third weekend in a row! I hope I can recover from my knee this week and be back on the box very soon.”

Since we've already looked at Desalle's bike, let's get into another KX450, this time of the BOS Factory Racing rider Evgeny Bobryshev, also known as Russian Bob. This was his first race back from injury but was unable to finish either moto. - "I've only been out on a bike four times since I aggravated my wrist injury in March so I'm at best 80% fit. I need to catch up with the rest but I hope to be feeling much stronger for my home GP in Russia in two weeks."

Fist off you'll notice that the BOS team runs BOS suspension, rather than the stock Showa.

This photo was from earlier in the season. There is a different set of forks on his bike in France. There was also a different triple clamp that is split like Xtrig units, but they clamp on the same side, unlike Xtrig. The tank is also smaller than what the Monster Energy Kawasaki team runs.

Here is a better look at the clamps.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Jeremy Seewer rounded out the top five with 4 - 8 moto scores.

Jeremy Seewer -"Another positive weekend. I am feeling better and better on the bike. I had a good first race and finished fourth and then in Race 2, Cairoli hit the gate big time and then when the gate fell it bounced back and I got kicked. I still managed to get back to eighth which was good, and I was fifth overall which is always my goal, but still a bummer as my speed could have had me placed better this weekend. I will keep working hard and I look forward to Russia."

MX2 camaraderie.

Red Bull KTM MX2 rider Jorge Prado got another overall victory, but he had to settle for 2 - 1 moto scores in France, rather than the typical moto sweep.

Jorge Prado: “This was a tough one. I had to push both motos. I relaxed a bit in the last laps but I felt everything was under control until I took the wrong rut over the finish line jump in the first race. I charged hard and tried to make a pass on the last lap. I could not make it happen and was a bit frustrated but I came back in the second one and won. It turned out to be a good weekend with more points for the championship and a bigger gap.”

Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 rider Jago Geerts is the only rider this season to win a moto over Prado. He matched Prados moto scores but in reverse order landing him second overall.

The only Rockstar Husqvarna Rider in either class to make the top five, Thomas Kjer Olsen went 3 - 5 for third overall. Thomas Kjer Olsen: “Apart from the fact that I made things difficult for myself in the second moto it’s been a pretty good GP for me. I’m pleased with how I worked my way forward to get on the podium with my second moto result. The track was good – they ripped it less than previous years, so it was pretty consistent everywhere, just with some tricky ruts. I got a decent start in the first moto and rode a strong race. Third was where my pace was – I wasn’t going to catch the two riders ahead, so third was good. I was pleased with that. I guess the gate bobbled a little in the second moto and I got a horrible start, down in 12th or 13th. I pushed hard after that. I wanted to finish on the podium so I just gave it all I had. I’ll keep working now that we have a weekend without a GP. Russia’s a fun track so I’m looking forward to racing there.”

Team Honda 114 Motorsports' Mitchell Evans put down solid 7 - 4 moto scores for fourth overall.

Mitchell Evans -I had a great weekend here in France. I felt really good in timed practice and qualified in third, which is the best this year - and then finished fourth in the qualifying race. I struggled with tyre spin on the start-gate in race one, so I had to come from a long way back. I made my way up to seventh in the first moto, but made a lot of passes on the first lap in race two. I tried to get up to third, but couldn’t get it done, so had to settle for fourth. It felt great to be on a French team in France. Even some of the crowd were cheering for me. It felt like a home GP and that was so cool. I’m happy with fourth overall. It was a good weekend. My speed is good and I’m happy with my riding and looking forward to Russia.

F&H Kawasaki rider Adam Sterry put his best ride in this season at the French GP. His 6 - 6 moto scores were good enough for fifth overall.

Adam Sterry: “Finally I got through the first few laps without someone crashing in front of me! To be honest I never felt comfortable on this track but today I got two good starts; the gate had a strange reaction as it moved slightly before finally dropping but I reacted perfectly and nearly got the holeshot in the second race. Two good starts were the key; I pushed during the first few laps each time and then tried to ride two solid races. I’m very happy with my results; the best MX2 GP of my career. Next weekend we have a Dutch championship race, and we’ll keep improving to be ready for Russia.”

We can't leave France with checking out Gautier Paulin's home race pride. He didn't have the weekend he would like, losing his front brake in moto one leaving with 10th overall.


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