Photo by: Ray Archer

Check out what the riders thought of the French GP. Winners and losers, and once again KTM came out on top in everything. More comments to come, so check back later.

Jeffrey Herlings: “It was a really cool weekend, a beautiful one actually. That track was special and I hadn’t really seen a place like that until I was fifteen! So it’s nice to have so much experience now. The fastest pre-qualifying time meant I could control the Heat race on Saturday and then have an advantage for the first moto gate pick, which helped towards that holeshot. I could control the race and not use much energy. I was a bit late with the gate in the second moto and I really had to work for it! It was a difficult one because Tony had a big gap when I had already got to third: it wasn’t easy on this track. I’m looking forward to the next one now because Ottobiano is one of my favorite tracks. The plan is to go for the podium at least and hopefully fight for another win.”


Antonio Cairoli: “I feel good but this weekend was not one of the best. Last week I hurt my knee and could not train this week. When you are at this level if you already miss a couple of days of riding then you really feel it. Jeffrey is very fast at the moment so you cannot really rest and you always have to be on the pace. The track was a bit more muddy and harder in the first moto compared to the second. I had a bad start in the first moto and tried to come through the top ten as quick as possible. It was OK, but we shouldn’t be making these mistakes at the start. In the second moto I tried my best to stay at the front but got very tired in the last ten minutes and Jeffrey was making very fast laps. I made a few mistakes and he came very close. Second is OK, but we want to work to be more competitive and hopefully we can make it next week.”


Tim Gajser: “I’m quite happy with third place and the podium finish. My riding was good and the speed was there, just in the first moto we had some issues at the start as I had a coming together with another rider and almost went down. We came from behind to finish fourth, which wasn’t a bad result all things considered. The second moto was much better: I had a great jump out of the gate and I was near the front early on. I rode at a good pace for twenty minutes, but Toni and Jeffrey were faster so I did my best to keep third place at the line. We’re quite happy, but we still need to improve a little bit in every area. The bike was really good though, so thanks to the team for their hard work!”


Jorge Prado: “The weekend started well on Saturday and I felt good on the bike and the track. It was quite muddy this morning and my start wasn’t the best in the first moto but I passed a lot of people. I hit a stone at one point and had a small crash but recovered right away and was happy with my riding, especially in those conditions where last year it was a big struggle for me. It was a shame that Pauls crashed on the first lap of the next race…but it was good for me! I kept the lead until the end…it was a perfect weekend. I’m really happy with our work.”


Thomas Covington: “I’m really happy with my performance this weekend. Everything worked well in moto one. I got the holeshot and was then able to do my own race for the victory. In moto two I made a small mistake right after the gate drop so I really did my best throughout the moto to get as high as possible. It feels good to be back on the podium. It’s a bit of a bummer I couldn’t be on the top spot this time, but I’m still happy with my results here in France. I’m really looking forward to the next GP now in Italy. Hopefully I can get on the top spot there.”

The Spanish teenager Jorge Prado (center) is gaining more confidence every day. Photo by: Ray Archer

Thomas Kjer-Olsen: “It was a really tough track and I’m really happy I managed to do two strong motos here in France. We had too much rain the night before and that completely changed track conditions for the final motos. In the qualifying moto I struggled to get a good pace, but we made some good changes and my speed was a lot better in the final motos. It’s really positive to be able to race two solid motos under these conditions and it gives me extra confidence to continue pushing. There are no words to thank all the members of my team for their hard work. We’re on to Italy now and I’m hoping we can do even better there.”


Glenn Coldenhoff: “The Qualification Heat didn’t start so well after a crash with another rider so it meant 17th gate pick for today which is obviously not the best but it wasn’t too bad for this start straight; you just needed to have the best line for the mud. In the first moto I did, and came out seventh and then got to third. I was there for a long time and got a bit tight in the end. The race finished on a bit of a sour note when Gajser passed me but overall fifth was a solid finish. The second moto was harder and it felt like I had to work my way from mid-pack. I pushed hard and got Seewer for seventh before the flag: it is nice to finish on a positive note. We are still looking for better than sixth but I know when I can make two good starts then I can be up there with the guys.”


Jago Geerts: “It was an awesome weekend for me. I worked my way up into fifth in the first race and then in the second race I was able to stay in second place for the whole race. That was an amazing feeling, and I am really looking forward to getting back in the sand next weekend, especially at Ottobiano, because I like the track, so I have high hopes of doing well there.”


Ben Watson: “I feel like I rode really well this weekend but didn’t get any reward for it. I had a really good jump off the start in the second race, and I’m not sure if I had a wet line or something, but everyone just went around me and then I was unlucky with someone crashing in front of me. It was really frustrating. Overall, I am happy with my riding, just not the result.”


Gautier Paulin: “It was a difficult GP. I was happy to get second in qualifying but then the rain during the night made conditions a lot different for the final motos. In the opening race my start wasn’t that good and after some passes I managed to cross the line in eighth place. My start was better in the second moto and I did my best to get as close as possible to the top three. After some good battles, I finished the moto in fifth place. In every GP the pace keeps improving and we are working hard to be there, up front battling with the leading pack. Overall, we’ve made some steps ahead this weekend. The French fans were awesome and once again it was a huge pleasure to race in front of my home crowd.”

Jeffrey Herlings has officially taken over the MXGP class in 2018. Photo by: Ray Archer

Max Anstie: “I keep doing my best but two bad starts this weekend made it all a lot harder. Track conditions were quite demanding during the two final motos and every little mistake cost a lot. Getting 17th in the first moto and then 16th in the second moto is the best I could do this weekend. I take it as it is and move on. We’ve just reached the halfway point for the season and there’s still plenty of racing to be done. The work continues, and the goal remains to keep getting better and better every weekend.”


Pauls Jonass: “Yesterday went really good but the track changed a bit today and I didn’t get the best start in the first moto. I struggled to pass some guys and completely lost my rhythm, I wasn’t flowing on the track. I wanted better for the second moto but unfortunately lost my front wheel in a corner when I wheelied and the bike had each wheel in a different rut! I rode back to sixth so I got the best out of a bad day. I will have some extra motivation for next week. The second race last Sunday was one of the best of the year and it is sometimes up and down in motocross. I’m happy with that holeshot in the second moto at least: it’s been a while! We lost a couple of points today but there is still a long way to go. I’m not too worried about it but just a bit disappointed.”


Romain Febvre: “I am not really happy with this weekend if I am honest. The first race I didn’t feel like I rode well. Yes I am injured, but in my mind, that is no excuse. In the second race, I feel like I could finish third, but I didn’t, so I am not too happy about it. On to the next one.”


Calvin Vlaanderen: “Our GP of France overall was not what we wanted, but it wasn’t too bad either. I didn’t feel too comfortable with the bike in race one, especially due to the harsh track conditions; I crashed on the first lap and I could only get back to twelfth. I was a bit disappointed with the result, but in the second moto I felt a lot better. My start was good and I was riding strong, but I had a very spectacular incident with Cervellin – and somehow I managed to keep it on two wheels. It took some time to build some speed again, but I managed to finish within the top-five and end the day with a bit of a high.”


Jeremy Seewer: “I had a lot of things to change yesterday in the practice sessions just because it is a new track once again for me, and it required a new set-up. We had it sorted before the Qualifying Race, so that was good. Today, I had two really good starts and I managed to ride solid and stay close to the top guys. I would say it was the first day for me, this year, riding so far up front and I found that really intense and something I have to get used to. I lost a couple of spots, but at the moment I prefer to stay on the bike than to risk too much and crash. I am happy with my speed and the riding.”


Shaun Simpson: “It has been a positive weekend. I can tell you my raw speed is not there yet, but I’m in and around the top-ten and I just seem to get a bit tired in and around the final 10 minutes of the race, but to be honest I am pretty happy with the way I am riding, the people I am battling with are no slouches. I can’t complain, two solid rides and some solid points, I am happy.”

After announcing his departure from Europe to race AMA SX and MX in 2019, Covington went 1-3 for 2nd overall. Photo by: JP Acevedo

Jeremy Van Horebeek: “What is there to say about this weekend? I was not myself and did not ride anywhere near the way I should be riding, and the way I know I can. It was an ‘off’ day, and it’s impossible to feel good about anything in the races this weekend. It’s a day to forget, so we will just move forward to the next round in Ottobiano.”


Clement Desalle: “I’m again disappointed to narrowly miss the podium for the fourth time in a row! Yesterday, soon after the start of the qualifying race, there was a strange incident in a corner when Gajser hit Cairoli who then hit me. I crashed and had pain in my right shoulder and knee, but managed to come back to nineteenth. In the first GP moto today I got a very good start and came second; Cairoli was pushing me during the last few laps but I kept my position. My second start was not as good but I was in the top eight until Febvre stalled his engine right in front of me! I had no place to go and fell, losing a lot of time berfore I could restart in fifteenth position. I recovered to sixth position but it was not quite enough for the podium which I missed by just one point! But I want to be positive. It’s another good result, especially after the crash on Saturday, and we’ll keep working in the upcoming rounds.”


Evgeny Bobryshev : “I have mixed feelings to be honest. The first moto, my rhythm was very good and I was coming back on Gautier (Paulin) for 8th, then I made mistakes and I lost the focus. Second moto, I was in the fight for 7th, but then it was my own fault : I became super tight and couldn’t give more. I’m happy with my 6th Top Ten in a row, but I still can do more for sure.”


Hunter Lawrence: “The first moto wasn’t great off the start as I crashed because another rider was doing crazy stuff, so I had to regroup from last place after that incident. I was coming through the pack well though, showing good speed and I got back to sixth. Unfortunately I hit a bit of a wall with about 10 minutes to go, so I had to settle for sixth, which wasn’t too bad given the start I had. In the second race I was perhaps a bit too impatient and I clashed with another rider on the opening lap again. I fought back to around 10th place and was making a move on the red plate holder Pauls Jonass when I picked a rut that had caved in, and I lost my front wheel and fell over. I tried my best to salvage whatever I could get and that ended up being 13th place for 10th overall. I think this weekend was just about positive because I got some more bike fitness but this isn’t where I want to be, so I need to keep fighting hard to improve.”


Bas Vaessen: “The week end was exciting, I was so happy to be back racing, I didn’t expect any result, just wanted to get back on the bike and racing ! Saturday I had some rear brake issue due to the big ruts which was nobody’s fault but I was happy about my speed. Due to the Storm Sunday the track was really muddy, I had a lot of fun during the warm up as I like this kind of conditions but I made a small crash during the warm up and hit my leg again, I tried to ride the first moto , but I didn’t feel comfortable  and finished 17th. So we decided to not race the 2nd moto to be more safe and more ready for the next GP.”