The Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP outfit successfully completed the opening round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, run at the fabulous Grand Prix of Patagonia-Argentina, with their two signings Gautier Paulin and Arnaud Tonus. The event was run with 35,000 fans in attendance.
Gautier Paulin showed glimpses of potential whilst getting to grips with the picturesque Neuquen track on Saturday, which left him in seventh in the premier-class qualifying heat. A position that put him in a positive spot on the starting line for the two motos on Sunday. Paulin put that to good use in the first moto, as sixth was the spot that he ended the first lap in before progressing into fifth at the chequered flag. It was a solid start and one that bode well for moto two.
An additional fifth was acquired by Paulin in the second moto, but the way in which he got to that spot was very different. A first-turn crash threatened to derail his day, but he got up and charged forward in a phenomenal fashion. Paulin claimed countless positions with each lap that passed, until he hit the top five again. That left him fifth overall on the day, a fantastic result. That is also the position that he occupies in the premier-class standings.
Arnaud Tonus had an eventful time in his return to Grand Prix racing but got off to a very positive start on the Saturday, as he reached the chequered flag in eighth. Tonus was then on track to garner a similar result in the opening race on Sunday, as he duked it out on the cusp of the top ten, but got caught out by one of the fastest sections on the circuit and hit the ground hard. Fortunately, he felt well enough to return to the race track for the final moto and secured tenth to salvage sixteenth overall on the day.
The Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP squad will return to Europe now, ahead of round two of the FIM Motocross World Championship that will held at Matterley Basin, in Great Britain, on March 23rd/24th.
Gautier Paulin: “The bike is working really well. The chassis is awesome on the Yamaha, I really enjoy it, and the engine too. With the little improvements we can make, I am really looking forward to it and I need to keep working on myself also. I feel like I had a good weekend, just had bad luck with another rider hitting me in the first turn. I think his bike hit my bike and I went over the bars big time, but I feel strong and fifth place to start the season, close enough to the podium, is a good start. I really enjoyed the racing.”
Arnaud Tonus: “It was a difficult Sunday for me. I had a huge crash in the first moto. I made a small mistake and went a little bit off the track on a really fast part of the track and had a really big crash. I did not know if I was going to ride the second moto, but Yamaha’s physiotherapist worked some magic and helped me a lot to line up for the second race. It was not easy, but I am glad I was able to line up again. I finished tenth and, like I said, I am happy I went back out there. It was like a mental test and it is all good.”news