For the second time in as many weeks, HRC Honda’s Tim Gajser swept both the MXGP motos at the 2019 MXGP of France and shaved Antonio Cairoli‘s points lead down to just 11 points in the MXGP World Championship. Antonio finished 2nd in moto one, but a crash and a 17th place finish in moto two was the story of the day for the Italian.

In MX2, Red Bull / KTM’s Jorge Prado‘s moto win streak that went back to the last two rounds of 2018 ends at 14 moto wins in a row, but he still took the overall win by way of a 2-1 score on the day. It was Jago Geerts that won the opening moto and finished 2nd overall with a 1-2 score.

Check out what they all had to say about their weekends.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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 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.”

Jago Geerts: “It was a really good weekend for me. I didn’t actually get a great start in the first heat but managed to win a couple of places in the first few corners. On the third lap I got into second and managed to get closer to Prado, made a pass and won the race. Of course, I was really happy with that. In the second race, it was almost the same as the first, but I made a small mistake and lost some time, but still finished second for second overall.”

Ben Watson: “Until the second race today, it felt like my weekend was turning out to be the same story as the past few weeks; I have been struggling with starts. I keep finding myself in the mix with guys I don’t want to be riding with, like one rider crashed on the down ramp of the jump and I could not go anywhere but into him. I lost a lot of time and had to salvage as many points as I could. I finally got a good jump in race two and ran second for the first part of the race until Jago passed me. I found I rode quite tight because I haven’t run up front in a while, so it felt new for me, but it was good to have the experience again.”

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.”

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.”

Julien Lieber: “It was a much better day after the crash behind Paulin yesterday. My neck was sore this morning as I hit the ground with my head pretty hard and today I had pain all day long; it was not an easy day but I never give up and after the first moto I concentrated on my recuperation. I didn’t have a good gate pick after the crash yesterday but the second start was decent in the top ten; I passed a few guys quickly and rode the entire race behind Paulin. Sixth overall in the GP is not so bad, but I know that without the crash yesterday it would have been even better.”

Evgeny Bobryshev: “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.”

Tom Vialle: “The whole weekend was a great experience, just a shame about that second moto. The first race was top! A really good climb to fourth place, then I started well in the second moto but fell on the first lap and lost a lot of time. Anyway, I’ll take the positive parts of this home GP and now onto Russia, which is a track I love.”

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.”

Pauls Jonass: “A GP to forget for me, which is a shame after two very positive GPs before this. Not getting a good start in the first moto made things difficult during the first part of the race, but I made some good passes and was working as hard as I could to get inside the top-10. With only a few laps to go before the finish I thought that there was something not right with my front wheel, so I stopped. It turned out that everything was fine, but that was the end of my race. Like some other riders, I hit the gate in the second moto. I’m not sure what happened but as several riders did the same I think something wasn’t quite as it should have been. After that I had a lot of work to do. Certainly not the results or championship points I was looking for. But I’ll learn from what happened and move onto the next race.”

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.”

Henry Jacobi: “Saturday was quite good; I had a pretty easy race with a good start to finish third. Today the gate drop felt strange but I don’t know why; I was really scared to hit the gate and got two bad starts. In the first race I came back to fifth, then I had a small crash to finish eighth but that’s not what I wanted. In the second race I put in some good laps and was behind Adam when I lost control of my bike on a big downhill. I crashed really hard and lost a lot of time; when I got back in the race I came back to seventeenth from outside the top twenty. The results are painful for the championship but that’s how it is sometimes.”

Darian Sanayei: “This weekend was another step in the right direction. In the races today my jump off the gate was bad because I had an issue with the way the gate was dropping; it was strange to me and I felt I was going to run into it. Anyway I came from outside the top twenty in both races and had a decent flow on this nice track. I ended up tenth and thirteenth for ninth overall; now hopefully we can continue to progress. It’s been difficult for me as I still can’t train or practice during the week; I’m only racing for now as I’m still healing from my illness.”

Roan Van de Moosdijk: “My start in the first race was Ok as I was in the top five, then I passed Fernandez but he hit me and we crashed; our bikes were a little bit bent and I could only come back to twelfth. Today was much better; I was second in the first corner and almost all of the race as it was difficult to pass. I eventually managed it three laps before the end of the race and then I pulled away. It’s good for the championship and for my confidence; now I’m third in the standings and can focus on moving further forward.”

Arminas Jasikonis: “Seventh and 11th isn’t what I’d hoped for here in France, but I showed some good speed. I was lacking a little at the start in the first moto but I felt like I was always able to catch riders and keep moving forwards. The start of the second moto was strange. The gate seemed to bounce, I hit it but got over it but my start device unlocked. I got a bad start and just pushed as hard as I could to make passes in the early laps. Some passes worked, others didn’t, but generally I got through the opening laps in pretty good shape and was working my way forward with some good lap times. I had a small slip-off with a few laps to go, which was frustrating. Not the results that I wanted but my speed was good so there’re positives I can take away from this GP.”

Brian Bogers:  “It didn’t go as well as I hoped it would go today. I didn’t get the best start in race one and I crashed early on. I was riding against myself and made a lot of mistakes. It definitely wasn’t an enjoyable experience out there. In race two I got a better start and was around 13th and I felt a lot better. Unfortunately I stalled the bike and lost a couple of positions so that didn’t help me, but the riding felt much better that the first race and I think my laptimes were good so although the end result wasn’t what I was after, I still hope I can use this to build towards the next race in Russia.”

Stephen Rubini: “With my ankle injury it was a really hard weekend and I tried to protect myself in the practice sessions. Although I had a big crash in timed practice, I wasn’t injured. I had a really great start in Moto 1 and took the lead on the first lap and lead the race until the end. This gave me great motivation for Moto 2, but I hit the gate and had a really bad start so I had to push hard to work through from 17th position on lap one to finish the race in sixth place. What a feeling to win the overall in-front of the French fans. I’m really happy.”

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.”

Zachary Pichon:  “This was a great weekend for me when compared to the previous rounds. I had two goods starts and in the first motto I was third into the first corner and managed to stay in the top ten. Then I stalled the bike and lost a lot of time and finished there race in eleventh, but that’s my best result ever, so that was great. Then in the second moto I was in 12th place for a long time, but I felt really tired on the last few laps and had some pain in my shoulder and the track was really rough. It took some time for me to find the best setup, but eventually we found it and I felt really good on my bike. I’m happy with my 12th overall result. That’s pretty good for me and again I’m really happy.”

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.”

Gautier Paulin: “I had a good start in the first race, and I am not sure if I was hit or a rock hit my bike, but I lost the front brake and at a track like Saint Jean d’Angely it is tough to ride without it. It was almost impossible to take the ruts, so I crashed a couple of times while trying to find a way to ride the bike like this. It was hard but I did not want to stop because at this stage the points are really precious, so I salvaged what I could. In the final race I was fifth which is not where I want to be either. I was not really happy with my riding this weekend or the result at my home GP, so I will just move to the next one.”

Kevin Strijbos: “The first moto did not go that great. I had a decent start but, when I am mid-pack, I feel really tight and stressed. After five or six laps I started to ride a bit better, but I only got eighteenth. In the second moto I got a really good start, around eighth, so pushed really hard to stay with the guys and ended up tenth. I was pretty happy with the result, considering I really do not like the track and the way that things have gone over the last couple of months. Let’s take the positives and move onto Russia.”

Anton Gole: “I was quite happy about my riding in the first moto. I had a bad start, but other than that it was an okay moto and I finished twentieth. Moto two was just tough. My riding was okay, but I should have been more aggressive and attacked a bit more. I am healthy and motivated to come back stronger at the next round.”

Vsevolod Brylyakov: “The weekend was quite difficult for me. I could not really find the rhythm or get myself comfortable on the bike. The first moto started well, and I had the speed, but then technical issues forced me to stop. I had an okay start in the second moto, but then I got caught in a crash with some other guys and was really stuck there. After that I could not find any speed and could not get the result I really wanted. I am frustrated, obviously, but I need to regroup and work now before the Swedish round and the MXGP of Russia.”


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