— Weather: Cloudy, bright – Temperature: 17 degrees – Attendance: 22,000

The fifth Grand Prix of the FIM Motocross World Championship took place today in Sevlievo, Bulgaria, where Gautier Paulin and Jeffery Herlings went out with the overall victories. In MX1 Antonio Cairoli finished second and Clement Desalle third, while Jordi Tixier and Alessandro Lupino completed the MX2 podium.


Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin obtained the first overall victory of the season and heHerlings wins in Sevlievo for the second year in a row. The French rider dominated the qualifying race yesterday and the first race today, but in the second moto he crossed the finish line second behind Cairoli. Paulin explained that he could not pass the Italian, but he was very for having been able to race behind Cairoli during all the heat. Paulin is now determined to keep on working hard in order to try to stop the Italian and keep on fighting for the Championship now that he is up to the second position in the point standings.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli did not have a good qualifying race yesterday, but today he succeeded in finishing second overall with a 4-1 result. In the first race the Italian had a good start, but in the first corner Nagl pushed him to the outside and he was down to the seventh position. The red plate holder rode the first half of the heat behind Nagl, but once he overtook him he gave chase to Searle who was riding fourth. In the end Cairoli overtook the British rider and ended the heat in fourth. The Italian had another great start in the second race, but this time he managed to be second in the first corner behind Paulin and he quickly made the pass over the French rider and led the race until the chequered flag.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clement Desalle was back on the podium this weekend after finishing third in both races. After two great starts Desalle had to battle with his teammate Strijbos to finish on the podium; while in the first race Desalle could not overtake Strijbos, in the second one Desalle finished in front of his teammate. Desalle admitted that in the first race he made several mistakes which made him lose some ground with Strijbos and after exchanging the second position several times, Desalle could only finish third.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos missed the podium this weekend being tight in 40 points with his teammate Desalle, but he was very satisfied for having finished third in the first race. However, Strijbos was a little disappointed with his fourth position in the second race because a problem in his goggles stopped him to fight for the third position, every time that he was closing the gap with the Desalle, a lot of sand was getting into his eyes.

Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jeremy Van Horebeek obtained the best result of the season this weekend finishing fifth overall. In the first race the Belgian rider started down in eighth and he rode behind Philippaerts most of the heat, but in the last laps Van Horebeek closed the gap, overtook the Italian and crossed the finish line seventh. In the second race Van Horebeek had a better start and he was riding fifth comfortably until he was overtaken by De Dycker and had to settle down with the sixth place.

Tommy Searle started third in the first race, but he lost one position with Desalle after a couple of laps. The British rider gave it all to keep such position until the end, but he could not stop Cairoli to overtake him and he ended fifth. In the second race he started seventh and when he was trying to overtake Van Horebeek he made a mistake and went down to fifteenth.MX1 In the end Searle crossed the finish line eighth and finished sixth overall of the Grand Prix.

It was not an easy weekend for Ken De Dycker who struggled with his starts and could only finish ninth in the first race. In the second one, he did an incredible recovery moving from eleventh to fifth, which gave him the overall seventh position. De Dycker has gone from second to fourth in the point standings, but he is only six points behind Desalle who is third at the moment.

David Philippaerts obtained an overall eighth position, followed by Max Nagl and Davide Guarneri.

MX1 Race 1 top ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 40:14.945; 2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:04.689; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:06.006; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:30.205; 5. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:35.733; 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:40.606; 7. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:45.322; 8. David Philippaerts (ITA, Honda), +0:52.735; 9. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +1:05.573; 10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, KTM), +1:14.625;

MX1 Race 2 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:00.784; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.888; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:07.415; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:08.501; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:40.876; 6. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:44.408; 7. Rui Goncalves (POR, KTM), +0:47.683; 8. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:48.078; 9. David Philippaerts (ITA, Honda), +0:56.418; 10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, KTM), +1:01.838;

MX1 Overall top ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 47 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 43 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 40 p.; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 40 p.; 5. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), 29 p.; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 29 p.; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 28 p.; 8. David Philippaerts (ITA, Honda), 25 p.; 9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 25 p.; 10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, KTM), 22 p.;

MX1 Championship top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 235 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 195 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 189 p.; 4. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 183 p.; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 160 p.; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 147 p.; 7. Rui Goncalves (POR, KTM), 109 p.; 8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 100 p.; 9. Xavier Boog (FRA, KTM), 90 p.; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 87 p.;

MX1 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 240 points; 2. Suzuki, 199 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 195 p.; 4. Honda, 156 p.; 5. Yamaha, 85 p.; 6. TM, 72 p.;


Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings was very satisfied with his victory this weekend because it is the first time in nine years that the Dutch wins in the Bulgarian track. The Dutch rider imposed once again an incredible rhythm at the front and while in the first race he crossed the finish line twenty-five seconds ahead of Tixier, in the second heat he finished forty seconds in front. Herlings admitted in the press conference that he is now comparing his lap times with the MX1 riders and his goal is to keep on improving his speed race after race.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier had two great starts once again and he managed to lead the first sixPaulin_Win laps of the first race, but once his teammate Herlings overtook him there was nothing he could do to pass him back. In the second race Tixier explained that Jake Nicholls pushed him a little bit to the outside in the first corner and he was too wide to get the holeshot, but the French rider managed to move up to second already in the opening lap. Tixier tried to follow Herlings’ lines in the first laps, but it was impossible for him to catch him, so he decided to ride safe and try to keep a comfortable gap with Alessandro Lupino and Max Anstie who were riding behind him.

It was a great day for Alessandro Lupino who was able to finish eighth and third in today’s races and obtained his maiden podium in the MX2 class. The CLS MX2 Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit rider was riding with two ribs broken from a crash he suffered in Arco di Trento, but he admitted that he could not feel the pain when he was riding third in the second race. When he crossed the finish line the Italian rider did not know that he had ended on the podium and it was only when he saw Cairoli waiting for him at the winning circle that he realized what he had just achieved. Lupino was visibly emotional at the press conference remembering those moments and he said that he will keep on working hard to try to finish on the podium in the Grand Prix to come.

Silver Action KTM’s José Butrón rode once again this weekend for a podium finish, but this time the Spanish rider ended fourth overall just one point behind Lupino. In the first race Butrón started at the front but he dropped down to third already in the opening lap. After seven laps the Spaniard could not keep his rhythm and Teillet overtook him and Butrón could not pass him back. In the second race Butrón had another good start but after the first sixth laps the KTM rider started getting tired and he could only finish seventh.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Max Anstie starred in an incredible recovery in the first race moving from an initial twenty-first position to a final ninth place. In the second heat Anstie could not start at the front either but he was fourth after the first six laps. However, even if he tried to overtake Lupino, he had to settle down to the fourth place which gave him the overall fifth position in the Grand Prix.

Christophe Charlier was satisfied with his second race, as he could work all the way through the fifth position after starting down in the thirteenth place, but he was disappointed with his starts because they stopped him to achieve his main goal which was finishing on the podium. The French rider ended sixth overall ahead of Glenn Coldenhoff and Dean Ferris.

The ninth overall position went for Jake Nicholls, who had really good starts in both motos but he made several mistakes in both races which made him finish sixth and fourteenth. Valentin Teillet, who had finished third in the first race, crashed in the second one and decided to retire from the race because he had hit his injured shoulder. The French rider ended tenth of the Grand Prix.

Home rider Petar Petrov rode really well this weekend and the crowd present in Sevlievo could enjoy watching their local rider finishing eleventh overall of the Grand Prix.

MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:21.965; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:25.397; 3. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:36.700; 4. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:42.217; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:44.519; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:47.745; 7. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:55.354; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:56.889; 9. Max Anstie (GBR, Suzuki), +0:57.451; 10. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), +1:10.358;

MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 40:29.060; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:40.387; 3. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:44.302; 4. Max Anstie (GBR, Suzuki), +0:47.967; 5. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +1:02.871; 6. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), +1:10.192; 7. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +1:11.042; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:23.777; 9. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:24.743; 10. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT, KTM), +1:36.000;

MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), 33 p.; 4. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 32 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Suzuki), 30 p.; 6. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), 30 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 29 p.; 8. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), 26 p.; 9. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 22 p.; 10.Paulings Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), 20 p.;

MX2 Championship top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 250 points; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 185 p.; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 157 p.; 4. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 143 p.; 5. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), 137 p.; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, Suzuki), 128 p.; 7. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), 115 p.; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), 109 p.; 9. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 104 p.; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), 98 p.;

MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 250 points; 2. Yamaha, 173 p.; 3. Suzuki, 150 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 130 p.; 5. Honda, 84 p.; 6. TM, 21 p.; 7. Husqvarna, 1 p.;

Circuit length: 1680m
Type of ground: hard pack
Temperature: 24° C
Weather conditions: changeable, cloudy, rainy and sunny
Crowd attendance: 22000

— KTM Report

Herlings wins the double in Bulgaria; unbeaten in 2013 so far

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings turned on the heat on the Sevlievo circuit in Bulgaria on Sunday to take two very dominant wins in the MX2 GP. It was the Duch rider’s first career GP win at this traditional and very popular circuit and leaves him unbeaten in 2013 with five GP wins from 10 race victories.

Teammate Jordi Tixier put up a good battle, especially in the first race where he took the holeshot and held off Herlings’ hard attacks until lap seven of the race. Italy’s Alexander Lupino was third and Spain’s Jose Butron, also riding a KTM was fourth overall.

In reality it was an event that was dominated by the two KTM riders, one Dutch and one French and while it was undoubtedly Herlings day, it is clear that Tixier is gaining in confidence in the face of fierce competition from his teammate. Sunday’s performance, which saw Herlings win his races by margins of 25 and 40 seconds respectively, also underlined that the Dutch teenager, known to be the world’s best sand rider, is equally terrifying on a hard pack circuit. Herlings perfect scorecard sees him with 250 points and an impressive 65-point lead over teammate Tixier in second place. Herlings and Tixier both ride the KTM 250 SX-F.

Cairoli recovers well for race win in second moto; overall second in MX1 GP
Meanwhile in MX1, Bulgaria is a circuit that has not been on Tony Cairoli’s top five list. The MX1 championship leader and current world champion last won here in 2007 in MX2. He again had a tough start to his day finishing in fourth place in the opening moto, which was a clear victory for French rider Gautier Paulin. This left him a lot to do in the second moto and Cairoli did not disappoint. After having switched to his favorite luminous ‘Valentino Rossi’ yellow boots and helmet, the Italian rider grabbed the holeshot but then slipped back into second after being passed by Paulin on lap one. Then eight minutes into the race he took control, grabbed back the lead and stayed firmly in front until the checkered flag. At the end of the day, Cairoli picked up enough points to take the second podium spot and further advance his lead in the championship standings.

Factory teammate Ken de Dycker also had his share of difficulties on the track this weekend. He finished only ninth in the first moto but got back in the action in the second moto and after some hard charging, managed to finish fifth to claim overall seventh in the GP. He now slips to fourth in the competition standings, trailing third placed Clement Desalle by six points and the leader Cairoli by 52 points. Cairoli has a 40-point margin over second places Paulin. Cairoli contests the 450 class MX1 on the light and nimble KTM 350 SX-F while De Dycker rides the bigger KTM 450 SX-F bike.

What the riders said:
Jeffrey “The Bullet” Herlings: “So far so good! Its never easy, I’ve been making some mistakes but luckily they didn’t happen on a Sunday so far. I haven’t lost a moto yet and I keep on charging. For the moment the only one who can stop the bullet is the bullet himself.”

Jordi Tixier: “Sure I enjoyed that, I got a good start and I tried to push to stay in front of Jeffrey. It’s my goal to be at the maximum and in the front. Jeffrey is a pretty good rider – the world champion in 2012. Now I just want to give my best all the time and if I can stay in front of him for 10 laps the next time, i will. I just want to learn from him because it is good for me and we’ll see what happens.”

Tony Cairoli: “I have 2 GPS where I didn’t win. My goal was always to be on the top spot but hopefully I will be able to do my best in the next GP and things will go better for me.”

Ken de Dycker: I mostly don’t like the track because its really fast an, easy, so you need a good start and even then it’s still hard .. So it was a struggle the whole weekend.”

It was the 10th anniversary of GPs held at this Bulgarian circuit set in rolling hills that provide great viewing for spectators, who came out in force to watch the races.

The next round is on May 5, 2013 in Agueda Portugal, a typical hard pack track.

— Yamaha Report

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Christophe Charlier was just three points away from his first podium result of the season after a determined and impressive performance on his factory YZ250FM at Sevlievo for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria.

The Corsican was sixth overall at the fifth round of seventeen watched by 22,000 spectators and caught the eyes of the watching crowds along the Bulgaria hills by charging back from last position in the second MX2 race to reach a splendid classification of fifth. The former European Champion’s feat was all the more credit-worthy due to the fast, open and hard-pack nature of the Sevlievo dirt that meant similar lap-times among the leading group and precision and aggression needed with overtaking moves. Earlier in the day Charlier had managed a seventh place and the team feared the worse when ‘23’ gassed a fraction of a second too early and nudged the gate in the crucial first seconds of the second moto. He was already ten metres behind the disappearing pack when he was able to set-off on his prototype machine. Charlier then began a trawl through the rankings and his achievement with fifth spot was one of his best of the season.

In eighth overall was Dean Ferris who gave himself a handicap after a crash on Saturday meant he had to take to the start line with the twentieth choice of slots. The Aussie launched well in the first moto but went from fifth to the depths of the top ten with a small slip on the opening lap. He crossed the line in eleventh and then backed up a solid day with sixth place in the second moto.

Mel Pocock was another of the Monster Energy Yamahas prominent near the front of the class but the young Briton has been struggling with his stamina in the closing phases of the races. He scored eleventh in the first moto and was flying in the top five of the second and after nailing his first ever GP holeshot when he experienced some mechanical trouble and had to retire to the pits. Team-mate Maxime Desprey rode positively to score fourteenth in the first salvo of 35 minutes and 2 laps but tired across an increasingly bumpy surface in the second race and collected eighteenth for seventeenth position in the final MX2 ranking.

Charlier, Ferris and Pocock all hold slots inside the top eleven of the FIM Motocross World Championship standing with the former retaining fifth position and just six points from Jose Butron in fourth. Ferris is seventh. The Grand Prix of Portugal will host round six and will take place in the customary venue of Agueda on May 5th.
Christophe Charlier

“Not good starts! Afterwards it was very difficult to pass the other riders but I’m happy with the classification because I saved the race from being a disaster. I really want a podium because every time I am so close. I have the speed and now I need to improve one or two small things to be right up there.”
Dean Ferris

“In the first moto it was unfortunate I crashed but all day, all weekend, I didn’t really feel comfortable on this circuit. It is obviously not my favourite. We went better in the second one considering I got a really bad start. I clicked away the laps and caught up. I’m disappointed I couldn’t run with the leaders but the bike was fast…I got more points than I did last weekend in Italy but oddly I feel more satisfied with last Sunday! All-in-all I’m healthy now so at least I can go home and practice!”
Mel Pocock

“Today I worked out that I’m really fast for about 25 minutes and then in the last ten I am making small mistakes; I need to iron this out. In the second moto I managed to get a holeshot and that’s the first I’ve had at a GP so I’m pumped about that…I didn’t realise the holeshot award was only for the first race! I was running in fifth and was sat there quite nicely until the bike started to lose power. I brought it into the pitlane and as I did that it turned itself off. Two weeks to go now and I will be working hard to try and sort out those final fifteen minutes.”
Maxime Desprey

“I had a bad start in the first moto and finished fourteen, so that wasn’t too bad because my riding was OK. The second race was difficult because I was far back again and after pushing for a while I felt dead! I want to train and try again in Portugal. I liked the track but it was difficult at the end with the bumps coming through.”

Roelants starts path back to Grand Prix form

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Joel Roelants left a fast and relentless Sevlievo circuit for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria happy to have bagged some FIM Motocross World Championship points and to have re-launched his MX1 debut campaign on the works YZ450FM.

The Belgian travelled to the fifth round of seventeen only days after an unfortunate fall at the Italian fixture at Arco di Trento last Saturday. Unsure of his capabilities around the wide and hilly track that divided many rider’s opinions, Roelants took confidence from two steady runs to 11th and 13th positions after a brace of mediocre starts in the 35 minute and 2 lap motos.

It was an encouraging outing for the former MX2 Grand Prix winner who can now look to a fortnight break to improve his fitness and confidence ahead of round six and the Grand Prix of Portugal. Steven Frossard is hoping to be in action in two weeks. The Frenchman was in the UK undergoing pulse magnetic field therapy and laser treatment on his left foot and plans to be back in the paddock for the trip to the Agueda circuit.
Joel Roelants

“I feel satisfied. I took eleventh and thirteenth places so I got some points, more than I expected. In normal conditions this is not a good result but I made something today and now we will work hard in the two weeks before Portugal. My starts weren’t the best and if they had been better then the results could have been higher but I have to be satisfied because at the beginning of the weekend I had no idea how the Grand Prix would go.”

— HRC Report

Gautier Paulin raced to his first Grand Prix victory of the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship by claiming the Bulgarian round at Sevlievo the fifth round of seventeen in the series. The impressive event, located two hundred kilometres east of Sofia, saw twenty-two thousand spectators (weekend figure) gather inside the award-winning facility where Honda World Motocross’ Max Nagl had a difficult day on the hard-pack.

The Bulgarian terrain was unforgiving, tough and fast and saw riders circulating within tenths-of-a-second of each other. The quick pace placed extra emphasis on the starts and this is one area in which Max Nagl endured contrasting fortunes.

Nagl experimented with the rear suspension setting in an effort to get his CRF450R to turn even quicker through practice and also swapped a few different Dunlop compounds for improved traction. The German made a decent launch from the gate in the opening thirty-five minute and two lap moto – although he ran a little wide into the first turn – and was lapping inside the top five until Tony Cairoli forced his way through. Nagl suffered a slow speed tumble after losing balance in a rut but still brought the Honda home in sixth. In the next outing the twenty-six year old was at a deficit from the very first seconds as he misjudged the gate drop and rounded the initial corners of the lap near the back of the pack. Some hard work was halted by hesitation behind Rui Goncalves as ‘12’ sought a way to safely obtain seventh position with superior speed but became increasingly frustrated trying to overtake. Eventually Nagl tired, lost concentration briefly and crashed, recovering the works motorcycle to score eleventh place for ninth overall.

One slot in front of Max was brand-mate David Philippaerts. The former World Champion is still in the midst of his recovery to full grand prix pace and fitness after two turbulent years with a wrist injury. The Italian did however manage two solid top ten finishes – an eighth and a ninth – on his CRF450R Honda Gariboldi to ditch his bad luck experienced in the past two rounds in Holland and Italy.

Evgeny Bobryshev is still on the ‘absent’ list with his fractured right fibula but is hoping to be fit enough to enter the Grand Prix of Portugal in two weeks. The principal Honda riders are grouped together near the bottom of the top ten; Nagl holds eighth while Bobryshev is tenth and Philippaerts is just one point behind. Round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place in two weeks at the undulating and scenic layout of Agueda for the Portuguese stop on the schedule.

Max Nagl – Race Result: 6th/11th Championship position: 8th
“I was feeling good the whole day and in the first heat I had a good gate jump but went too wide in the first turn. I struggled and lost a few positions but then recovered to come back to fifth. Tony got me with a few laps to go so I finished sixth; the riding was OK but the result was not that special. I screwed up the start in the second heat. I started to go a little and stopped but then the gate dropped, so I got it completely wrong and was far behind. I caught some guys and was stuck for almost the whole race behind Rui. I just couldn’t pass him. I did not want to make an aggressive move and make us both crash. I tried and tried to find the line to do it cleanly but I was getting stressed and tired. With two laps to go I even crashed in a turn through losing the bike. I’m really disappointed to finish eleventh. It should have been much better and my lap-times were good. I have to improve my riding – especially at the beginning – and get more aggressive with my passing…there is no other way.”

David Philippaerts: Race Result: 8th/9th Championship position: 11th
“I feel better about today compared to the other races. I could stay closer to the factory bikes. In the first moto I rode around fifteen minutes with Antonio but then got a little bit tired as my arms ached. It was very easy to make a mistake and also easy to simply follow another rider because the speed is so high and the laptimes are the same. In the second moto I started in the top ten and tried to follow through with Nagl for the whole race but he was just a bit faster. It was difficult to pass, but Nagl crashed and I moved. It was tough in the last minutes of the races but I am improving step by step. Today I was closer to the top five and this is good for me.”

— Kawasaki Report

Gautier Paulin and the Kawasaki Racing Team have won the Bulgarian round of the FIM World MX1 Motocross Championship at the glorious hillside track of Sevlievo for the second consecutive year.

The Frenchman dominated proceedings from the word go as he set fastest time in both practice sessions and scored a runaway victory in the qualification race. He then repeated the feat in the opening GP moto, leading from the first lap, before wrapping up the GP victory with a secure second place in race two. His 47-point haul has lifted the 23-year-old to second in the championship after five races of the 17 round series.

It was a tremendously successful weekend for Kawasaki as two more riders aboard the flagship KX450F also raced into the top six.

Paulin’s KRT teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek shrugged off the injuries which had hampered his efforts through the earlier rounds of the series to finish a solid fifth overall, whilst Tommy Searle of Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit was sixth on the day.

Van Horebeek had battled solidly through the opening moto to advance to seventh at the chequered flag and went one better in race two as he raced top six all moto. The Belgian has now moved to within nine points of the series top ten.

Searle, a strong third in the qualifying race, once again showed that he is a threat in his rookie MX1 GP season as he charged to fifth in the opening race; he seemed poised to repeat the performance in race two but a troublesome rival forced him off the track early in the race and the Englishman had to charge back from 15th place to eventually finish eighth.

Gautier Paulin: “It was a very good weekend, and it was great to race head to head with Antonio Cairoli as it had been difficult to accept him winning so many races in the earlier GPs. I had a great feeling with the track and my Kawasaki right from the first practice session, and today I got two good starts. I got the holeshot in the first moto and won, then in the second I learnt a lot racing with Antonio. It’s great to win a GP, the first one for me this season; I have now scored four podiums including this GP win in the first five GPs and look forward to yet more victories in the races still to come. The KRT team is working well and we know where we can improve yet further; and I want to thanks all the people who are working with me.”

Jeremy Van Horebeek: “I’m happy to be back in the top five; it’s so great to do some good motos. I’m still not at my best as I couldn’t train this week due to my shoulder injury, and the last ten minutes of both races were tough. But it’s great to be back near the front; I have been so many times on the podiums in the MX2 class and now I want to be there in MX1. I had a great feeling right from the first practice session this weekend, and now I’m confident as we have two weeks before Portugal; I will have time to work, and for sure I will be stronger there.”

Tommy Searle:“ The first moto was OK, nothing special to say and fifth was not so bad. My starts were not so good as last week and we need to work on that point. My second start was pretty average and then I had a crash earl in the race; I went down after a mistake and then it was hard to comeback from fifteenth to eighth; it was just a difficult weekend, I rode well at times but not consistently and I must keep working on that.”

Alessandro Lupino recorded the first GP podium finish of his career as he took his CLS Kawasaki to third overall in the Bulgarian round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship.

The Italian newcomer to Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit finally shrugged off the misfortune which has followed him through the early rounds of the series to clinch the first GP podium finish of his career with two impressive displays at the fast hillside track on the outskirts of Sevlievo. Holding down eleventh place after the initial sort-out leaving the tricky first turn the 22 year old defied two broken ribs, a relic of last week’s GP in his homeland, fought hard to advance three places on a surface made slippery by slight drizzle to finish eighth before stepping into the limelight in race two to advance in determined fashion from an initial fifth to finish third, defying all attempts to dislodge him from the placing which clinched third overall on the day. The result also lifted Lupino three places in the standings to eighth.

Valentin Teillet of Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki made an heroic return from injury in Bulgaria to finish an astounding third in the opening moto, and the Frenchman had advanced to sixth in the early stages of race two before being forced to withdraw with a painful shoulder after a crash.

His young teammate Dylan Ferrandis had been most unfortunate in the first moto as he slipped to the ground in the hectic first turn, but he fought relentlessly to the chequered flag to finish nineteenth before reaping his just rewards in race two with an impressive ride from an initial twelfth to finish ninth.

CLS Kawasaki newcomer Jimmy Decotis proved the power of the Kawasaki KX250F as he snatched the holeshot award in the opening moto, but the American is still adapting to GP racing conditions and a second lap error left him trailing before he was forced to withdraw from the race after an awkward landing. Bravely going to the start despite a painful knee injury, he battled to the finish but has yet to open his points scoring account.

Alessandro Lupino: “It’s so nice to be on the podium, the first one in my career! I didn’t know that I was on the podium, and didn’t expect that as I finished only eighth in the first race. I have a great feeling with the team and my bike, but in the previous GPs I couldn’t show that and it was difficult to accept it. I had some better starts today, in the top ten in race one and top five in race two and that makes things much easier, but I must still work to improve my starts even more. I had to take some pills for the pain as I broke two ribs last week; it was painful during the first ten minutes but then it was OK.”

Valentin Teillet: “On Saturday it was pretty tough as my shoulder is not so strong, so I was satisfied with eleventh in the qualification. I felt a lot better today. In the first race I got a good start and then could keep my rhythm to finish third; that’s a great reward for my work with Jacky Vimond. I was in sixth position in the second race but I crashed on a downhill, I not quite sure what happened but I lost too much time to get back on the track to continue with the race. I will go to the doctors for them to look at my shoulder again this week as I never felt confident with it all weekend, and I want to understand why.”

Dylan Ferrandis:” I lost so much time with the crash at the first start that it was difficult to come back, but the second moto was much better. I feel that my speed is coming back, but I must get better starts and stay focused during the entire forty minutes. I will continue to work hard together with the team to get back to my best form; it is less than two months since I was able to start riding my bike again.”

Jimmy Decotis: “I got a good start in the first moto, but I crashed in the first lap and then it was tough. The second moto was no better and it’s very frustrating. The team are doing everything they can so it’s all down to me; I don’t know yet what I’m doing wrong but I will keep on working and working. We now have one weekend off from racing and I will work together with the team to improve my results; that’s what it’s all about.”

— Suzuki Report

Max Anstie was several metres away from his first podium result in Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe colours after a spirited performance on his factory-backed RM-Z250 resulted in fifth position overall at Sevlievo for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria.

The fifth round of 17 was played out in front of 22,000 spectators surrounding the wide, fast hard-pack: Anstie had to enter the gate in 15th place on Saturday and his mid-gate position didn’t help with his starting prowess. The two 35 minute and two-lap motos were a test of overtaking skill and technique for the Brit as the grippy but flat terrain permitted few clear-cut passing opportunities and saw an elevated average speed.

Anstie worked his way from 21st to ninth in the first race; the highlight being an excellent double overtake on Dean Ferris and Mel Pocock. He slotted into the top 10 at the launch of the second sprint and pushed up to fourth position. Anstie circulated on the back wheel of Alessandro Lupino and gave all he had to try and relegate the Italian. Moving up to third would have allowed a spray of champagne but it wasn’t meant to be on this occasion.

Julien Lieber had to return home on Saturday afternoon after catching his foot on the ground and twisting his right knee. The young Belgian will head to the advanced Ortema facility first thing tomorrow morning for scans on the joint and for a full diagnosis.

Anstie has 128 MX2 World Championship points; just nine from Christophe Charlier and the top five of the standings. The Grand Prix of Portugal at Agueda is the next major appointment for the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe team and will take place on May 5th.

Max Anstie: “I felt strong. Each week we are improving and I’m learning about the bike and the team and they are learning about how I feel. We are getting better and stronger but we just need to figure out the gate. We got out of it in Qatar and Thailand but I had a poor qualification position and we paid the price for it today and had to push through. It made it a little bit difficult. I’m really looking forward to Portugal and also Brazil. It is about time we got on the podium now.”

Clement Desalle might have walked the podium at Sevlievo for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria and his third trophy of the FIM Motocross World Championship but his double moto battle with Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 team-mate Kevin Strijbos was the highlight of this fifth round of 17.

Sevlievo was hard-pack, ample and fast meaning the slightest mistake was costly and creating, or eroding, any differences on other riders was extremely tricky due to the closeness of the lap-times. Both Desalle and Strijbos – on their works RM-Z450 – gave an excellent demonstration of the character of the hilly circuit that was crowded by 22,000 spectators.

In the first moto it was Strijbos who slotted into second position and had Desalle as a shadow for virtually the entire 35 minute and two-lap distance. The pair formation-flew until Desalle ‘switched off’ for two circulations, made an error and was victim to an emerging gap to the #22. A renewed effort was finally rewarded with an overtaking move for #25 but Strijbos replied instantly and was then able to control the duel until the finish line for his best race finish in ‘yellow’ and since coming back to the factory set-up.

Desalle had the initiative in the second moto. This time it was the younger Belgian who had to play the role of being the ‘hunted’ in what was a tussle for third spot. Strijbos was handicapped by faulty goggles that affected his vision but still showed his team-mate a front wheel on several occasions. By the chequered flag it was Desalle’s second moto classification that decided the final rostrum as the duo tied on points and Strijbos had to feel content with fourth overall.

Both Suzuki riders pocketed a tidy bag of numbers for their world championship standing. In the MX1 points table Desalle holds third and is six points off second place. Strijbos is fifth. The FIM Motocross World Championship will gather again in two weeks time for the Grand Prix of Portugal at the customary venue of Agueda, south of Porto.

Clement Desalle: “I’m happy to take my first podium in Europe! I had some bad luck in the last two grands prix and I was disappointed about that so it feels good to be back. I had some good starts and I’m happy about that and was with Kevin for most the day. Some moves were really close and we had to be careful! It was a good battle for sure and we rode together for almost every lap. I tried some stuff to pass him in the first moto but then had two laps of making mistakes and he made a gap. I concentrated again and got close and then passed him but he came straight back; I didn’t expect him to come so close. Anyway, no crashes, good fighting and this result feels good.”

Kevin Strijbos: “It was good today. I got most of it right in the first race; at the end my team-mate passed me and I could get him right back, so I was happy with that. In the second race I felt OK, got a good start but Tony ran wide, hit the berm and I had to slow down a little bit so not to hit him. I was fourth and stayed there the whole time! I was pushing hard but on the fifth lap a rock hit my goggle and the lens popped out, and that was about it. I couldn’t get close to Clement and every time I did I had sand in my face and it was flying around when I was going over the jumps. I wasn’t happy about that but overall it has been a good weekend. I had good speed for the podium and now I’ll work a bit more to try and make it happen in Portugal.”

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