Clement Desalle topped the podium at Ernee. Photo by: Ray Archer

Victories for Clement Desalle and Pauls Jonass, points extensions from Jonass and Antonio Cairoli, and bad luck for the young guns Tim Gajser and Jeffrey Herlings. What a drama filled weekend. Ray Archer image

Clement Desalle: (1st in MXGP) “I’m really happy and especially after that first moto that didn’t really go as I wanted. I was disappointed but really focussed on my riding in the second moto,” he said. “It is so nice to be back on the podium and particularly with a victory: it’s a good feeling and for the whole team also. I was satisfied with my riding in the second moto and the work we have done recently. My goal now is to keep consistent and to enjoy myself…that’s when the results come.”


Gautier Paulin: (3rd in MXGP) “I’m really happy with getting on the podium in front of my home fans. The weekend didn’t start in the best possible way for us, but we managed to make some great progress and find a setup that worked very well on Sunday. I can’t thank my team enough for all their hard work and dedication. In the opening moto I didn’t get a good start and had to push hard for sixth. Max Nagl did a great job taking the holeshot and going on to claim victory and I’d like to congratulate him for that. In moto two my start wasn’t perfect but I made a good come back for second. I showed that victory was within my reach and I’m happy with that. Second in the championship is great but obviously the goal now is to remain consistent and to be on the podium in each of the following GPs.”


Antonio Cairoli: (2nd in MXGP) “Overall I’m happy about the weekend because we extended our championship lead and that’s what we are here for. I’m a little disappointed by my riding because I know I can do better but I struggled a lot with the track, even with two good starts. So second and third is not too bad but we always aim to win. We’ll go to Russia to do our best and get on the podium again and now it is almost time to look more at the standings and start to control the classification.”

With Tim Gasjer pulling out of French GP, Cairoli stretched his points lead. Photo: Ray Archer

Pauls Jonass: (1st in MX2) “I really enjoyed my riding in the first moto after taking the whole shot and pulling away in the first laps; I was able to control it. In the second race I was not riding that well and Benoit was just a bit better: it is also nice that he can win a moto in front of the home crowd. 1-2 is really good for the championship and I’m really happy because last weekend was also hard-pack and things have been pretty good. I’m glad to have the win in the pocket. The bike was working really good this weekend and now we’ll focus on being 100% for Russia.”


Benoit Paturel: (2nd in MX2) “It was a great race. First race I didn’t have a bad start, inside the top ten and I quickly came back to third. My riding was good, but I missed something to pass Pauls (Jonass) and Jeremy (Seewer). In race two I had my first holeshot and I had a great race. I am so happy about this weekend!”


Jeremy Seewer: (3rd in MX2) “Two good races for the championship, I did what I had to do more or less. I would have loved to have got a couple more points, especially in that first moto when I struggled a little with some mistakes that cost me the ability to pass Pauls Jonass. Then I had to fight with Benoit Paturel the rest of the race because of that. I didn’t feel perfect, but I had good starts on my RM-Z250 and that was important on this track. I was really going for the holeshot in that second moto but Paturel came in hot in that first turn so I had to slow a bit or we both would have crashed. I got into third quickly and then it was just a drag race to the finish, we pulled away so far from the rest of the field. All three of us gave all we had and there really just wasn’t a spot on the track to make a pass as we were all so evenly matched. The season is still long, we lost a few points but we won’t give up and keep fighting until the end.”


Hunter Lawrence: (4th in MX2) “I was off to a really good start in the first moto, top seven round the first bend before making some quick passes and finding myself in third place. It took me a couple of laps to get going but then I started to click off some good lap times and closed up a bit on the two riders in front. Unfortunately, on the sixth lap I ran into a problem when my gear shifter got snapped off in a rut and I had to ride the rest of the moto in second gear. As bad as that was, I was still riding ok and was able to finish fifth. In the second moto I didn’t get the best start but quickly got through the pack into fourth but when I got there, Jeremy Seewer, Pauls Jonass and Benoit Paturel had long gone. I just had to ride my own race, which is quite difficult actually as I had no one around me to gauge my speed on or pressure me. Still, I came home in fourth for fourth overall and a lot of positives from the weekend.”


Bas Vaessen: (14th in MX2) “The track was completely different from yesterday, and in the first moto after improving some stuff I got a really good start. I was up front with the guys but then a stone came into my chain and it broke everything and took the DNF. I didn’t get such a good start in the second moto but still came out ok. Then I put on a good bunch of laps, kept my speed up, chose some good lines and rode my way to a 10th place finish. I had some good battles along the way and it was nice to get that top-10 finish in the end.”

Pauls Jonass stretched his MX2 lead in France. Photo: Ray Archer

Brent Van doninck: (31st in MX2) “Yesterday I started good by finishing fourth in the qualifying heat so I had a good gate pick. But, in the first moto I had some technical issues so I wasn’t able to finish the race. Second race I had a really bad start, but I came through to tenth. Unfortunately my clutch cable broke, meaning I had to ride without a clutch which is really difficult on a track like this, almost impossible. Two DNF’s means it is a black day for us, but hopefully we have more luck in Russia and we keep the feeling we did yesterday.”


Alvin Östlund: (19th in MX2) “Saturday was really good. I was eighth in Time Practice and sixth in the Qualifying Race. Today I was running in eleventh  in Race 1 until I had a technical problem. The second race I was also riding in eleventh position with two laps to go, but unfortunately I crashed with a back-marker when I was going for tenth position. I came back to 15th position, so I am not happy about the result but I am happy with my riding of today. I am excited for the next race to get some good results!”


Jeremy Van Horebeek: (5th in MXGP) “It was a pretty good weekend, I used a lot of energy yesterday. I got a good start in the first race and I was riding good but I made mistake at the end of the race and it cost me a lot of energy again. In the second race, I had a really bad start and I got into fourth really fast, which was really good, but I used too much energy and I was really tired. I am not going to make any excuses, I was done. That’s it.”


Romain Febvre: (6th in MXGP) “It started really good on Saturday with second place in the Qualifying Race. I made a mistake in both races. In the first race I crashed on the first lap and had to use a lot of energy. I came back to seventh, the speed was good but I was a little bit too slow to make some of the passes. In the second moto I started better and then I crashed in front of pit-lane and lost some positions. I then had to come back, and I got back to fourth, close to third, but like I said, I used a lot of energy when I had to come back from the crashes and it was really hot today.”


Jorge Prado: (6th in MX2) “I think it was a really good weekend. In the last few races I have had a lot of ups-and-downs and have not been so consistent. I think we are getting better in that respect and I need to get the whole weekend together. I had good start in the first moto from a gate far on the outside and to finish sixth was really good for me. I struggled to pass Conrad [Mewse] in the second moto and eventually did it but with two laps to go my energy level was gone! I was a bit stiff from a crash on Saturday. So sixth overall and I’m pretty happy. We’ll see how things go in Russia and I’ll need to keep on two wheels.”

Bad starts kept Jeffrey outside of the top 5. Photo: Ray Archer

Jeffrey Herlings: (7th in MXGP) “It is a shame because I felt like I was one of the fastest here this weekend but I messed up the starts. Two fifth positions are not the results that we want but in two weeks we have another shot. The track was OK and I liked it. I felt good out there. It was important to go home safe. We’re thinking of Russia now and I know with top five starts then we’re in a position to win, it doesn’t matter the terrain.”


Glenn Coldenhoff: (9th in MXGP) “The results today were a little bit less than yesterday but I had some arm-pump in the first moto and had to slow down a bit. I made many mistakes and the speed was not so good but I proved I have the pace necessary by going from sixth to third in the second moto. I just need to be a bit more consistent and keep that pace even though it is not easy! I got a bit tired in that second moto and some guys passed me. 11-8 is not what we are working for but we are getting closer to our goal.”


Max Nagl: (4th in MXGP) “Struggling with my confidence during the last few GPs, it felt great to get out there and get the victory in moto one. The weekend started well for us and I’m really satisfied that all my starts were good. In moto one I got the holeshot and kept my head down. Increasing the lead in every lap, I built a gap of almost seven seconds at the chequered flag. Then in moto two my start was good but I made a couple of mistakes in the opening laps losing a few spots. Then after the halfway mark I had a big crash, falling heavily. Luckily I didn’t get hurt and I resumed the race to earn ninth.”


Michele Cervellin: (15th in MX2)”Today was not good. In the first Moto I didn’t start well and then I crashed and lost all my positions, so I was right at the back of the pack. I pushed to try and get some points back and managed to get into 20th position which is one point. The second moto I started a lot better but then in the first lap I crashed and in the end I finished 12th. This is better than nothing but still not good for me. I want more. I want to do better and for sure in Russia I want a better result. I know I have good speed I just need to learn something from this, work on some things and then come into Russia focused.”


Max Anstie: (10th in MXGP) “It was a solid GP for me. The track was challenging and it was just too easy to make a mistake. I had two strong motos for 10th overall and I’m happy about that. With this just being my first year in the class, I’m still learning and improving every time out. We’ll keep working as hard as we do hoping to get even higher next time out in Russia. Already during the last few races we’ve made some big improvements on my riding and with our bike, so I feel that we’re gradually putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.”

American Thomas Covington was solid, but he needs to start winning if he wants to race for a title. Photo: JP Acevedo

Arminas Jasikonis : (12th in MXGP) “It’s been a tough weekend with all the racing. I didn’t get a great start in the first moto and finished 10th. I couldn’t find anywhere to pass Max Anstie, but despite that, I was reasonably happy with the result. It would have been great if I could have got maybe one or two more places, but that was a struggle all weekend, finding good places to pass riders. In the second race, I got a good jump and was around the first corner in third I think, but I didn’t quite reach the holeshot line and crashed out. Lots of riders rode over me, so it changed from good to bad in a very short space of time. I fought through the field from near the back and felt I was doing ok, but then made another mistake to finish up in 17th position.”


Thomas Kjer-Olsen: (7th in MX2) “It was a tough weekend and I’m happy with seventh overall. To be honest I struggled with the track and my riding and had to ride a bit cautiously during the weekend. My starts were not good and I had to take risks and push hard to make passes. In moto one I came from outside the top 20 in the opening laps to finish seventh. Then in moto two I had a crash early on and that made it difficult to do anything better than eighth at the chequered flag. We take our seventh place in the overall and move on. There’s still a lot of racing to be done in this year’s championship.”


Stephen Rubini: (10th in MX2) “I’m so happy to get my first ever top ten result, it was a very good weekend for me! I had a good feeling with the track, I like when you have bumps and ruts and I posted top twenty results in the practice sessions. I hit the gate at the start of the qualifying race but came back fourteenth, which was a good gate pick for the races. But my first start was not so great, around 25th or 26th and again I came back ninth, spending some energy to get this result. My second start was much better, but my race wasn’t as good as the first one; I lost control of my bike in the downhill and went in the hay bales, losing twelve positions. I came back fourteenth, but I felt tired after giving so much energy in the first race. It was a positive weekend, I enjoyed riding my bike and reach my first goal this season with a top ten, now we’ll continue to work hard to get some other top results.”


Darian Sanayei: (12th in MX2) “This weekend was tough. I got eighth position in the qualifying race on Saturday, which was actually a pretty good result for the way I felt. The warm-up today was good with seventh best time, but in the first race I struggled a lot; I didn’t have a good start and only finished fourteenth. In the second moto my start was not very good but I was moving up through the pack pretty quickly and got to twelfth until I crashed. I was stuck under the bike for a while; it sucks because I think I could have got a pretty good result. When I got back in the race I was twenty-sixth and made my way to thirteenth to salvage some important points. The track was really stiff, everybody was struggling, but it’s the world championship and we must have different tracks each weekend; it was still cool with the French atmosphere and everything.”


Thomas Covington: (8th in MX2) “I did my best in what was a challenging weekend of racing in France. To be honest I didn’t feel comfortable on the track so had to struggle to get a good flow around it. In moto one I got a bad start and pushed hard for 11th at the finish. Then in moto two I saw Kjer-Olsen crashing in front of me right after the start and could do nothing to avoid him. Despite losing time there, I fought back to seventh at the flag. Considering this was a tough GP for me, to earn eighth overall is not a bad result at all. I’m now looking forward to the following GP in Russia.”

Gautier Paulin moved up to 2nd in MXGP standings with another solid podium. Photo: JP Acevedo

Conrad Mewse: (9th in MX2) “It was a great weekend for me. I got two good starts in the final motos and spent most of them battling to retain a good position. We’ve worked hard during the last couple of months and that has helped me get a better feeling riding my bike. In moto one I pushed hard to finish inside the top 10 and in moto two I felt like I was running out of energy. Overall, I’m quite happy with my results here in France and I can’t wait for the following round in Russia.”


Jordi Tixier: (16th in MXGP) “I didn’t train so much this week after my crash in Germany, and this weekend again I had to be careful with my leg in the right corners. During the qualifying session another rider hit me after a stupid move in the last corner; we both crashed and I qualified in fifteenth. Race day was tough with so many ruts on the track; it was so frustrating not to be able to ride normally with this leg injury. I want to forget this weekend, and we’ll continue to work and to be in better shape for the next GP.”


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.