All teams were prevented from bringing their regular fuel by an embargo on the import of dangerous goods by the Thai government, and Kawasaki was one of the manufacturers most adversely affected by the fuel provided locally. Both Paulin and his teammate Steven Frossard lost points as their engines suffered vapour lock because of the lower boiling point of the fuel they were compelled to use; the resultant intermittent power loss made racing exceedingly dangerous on a track with many large jumps.
Paulin remained relatively unaffected in the opening race to move up the leaderboard from an initial sixth place to finish fourth, but expectations of an identical result in race two were ruined by the fuel problem which became so serious on the final lap that the Frenchman was forced to roll all of the jumps and eventually crossed the line ninth. The resultant loss of points saw him drop to third in the world championship standings.
Frossard was recovering rapidly from a first lap crash in race one when he started to encounter problems which dampened his advance and left him twelfth at the chequered flag, and a recurrence of the problem in race two forced the Frenchman to withdraw after holding sixth place for more than ten minutes. The misfortune means that he has dropped to eighth place in the standings.
Thomas Covington, the team’s young American rider who is contesting the first four rounds of the FIM MX2 World Championship, learnt the importance of earning a good grid position as he had to start from the outside of the gate in the GP motos after crashing out of the qualification race. Eighteenth on the opening lap of each race he eventually finished sixteenth and thirteenth.
Gautier Paulin: “I like this track, and I like the hot weather, but today I’m frustrated as we had troubles with the fuel that the organizers provided to the teams, and that was dangerous. On the last lap of the second race I was unable to jump, and I think that the bike wouldn’t have done one more lap; I lost four positions and five points because of something which the team couldn’t control. My Saturday was OK with a seventh position, and my first race was also good with a fourth position. In the second race I found a good rhythm after ten minutes, but ten minutes later I started to have trouble with the bike and just did my best to salvage as many points as possible.”
Steven Frossard: “I’m disappointed with the results this weekend; in the first race I made a mistake after the start and crashed; I was recovering well and was expecting a top ten result until I had trouble with the engine. My second start was pretty good and I was sixth after ten minutes when I had troubles with the engine again; later I had to stop as the engine was cutting out and it was too dangerous to continue. Physically it was tough with the weather, and as I had been sick this week that made it worse. Now the goal will be to prepare for the next round and score good points in Brazil.”
Thomas Covington: “It was a rough weekend for sure, I had a pretty big crash on Saturday during the qualifying race so I had a bad gate for the races. I had to come through from behind; I’m just happy to stay safe and gain more experience. I know now how important it is to earn a good gate in qualification, and I will work for this in Brazil.”