One week on from the previous round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, the Grand Prix of Russia, the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP squad hit the sandy track of Kegums in Latvia for the ninth round of eighteen. Clear skies and intense heat ensured that the fixture was another test of both man and machine.
Arnaud Tonus obviously entered the event with both confidence and momentum on his side, thanks to an unbelievable streak of podium finishes. The Grand Prix of Latvia even got off to a positive start, despite the very different conditions, as he jostled for the lead in the qualifying race on Saturday and hit the finish line in third. Another top-three start in the first points-paying race on Sunday was a solid start, but he was after a lot more and charged into the lead on lap five. Tonus then held that for eleven laps, before ultimately ending up in second. The runner-up finish left him in a great position heading into moto two.
The power within the YZ450F helped Arnaud Tonus tremendously in the second race, as he got the holeshot and found himself in a scrap for the victory once again. Following some very intense battles, which spanned across the duration of the thirty-minute moto, he eventually finished in fourth, which left him tied on points for the overall victory! Third overall was his official placing, so he stood on the podium at the fourth round in a row, and the forty points that were gained catapulted him up into fifth in the series standings. Just ten points separate him from the rider in third.
Gautier Paulin faced a tough outing in Latvia, after qualifying in fifteenth, as a pair of mediocre starts in the points-paying motos left him with a mountainous task to overcome. Paulin eventually managed to grab an eighth in moto one and backed that up with an eleventh in the second outing, which put him in seventh in the overall classification. Paulin now runs fourth in the championship standings, after nine rounds, but just two points separate him from the rider in third.
Another event lies ahead of the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP outfit, as the Grand Prix of Germany will be run next weekend. Teutschenthal, the historic circuit that will host the race, will act as round ten of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Arnaud Tonus: “I have to be happy with this weekend. It is a bit frustrating to come this close to the win. We fight hard for this, so to be on the same points as the winner but miss it is tough. We will keep working. It still feels great to be on the podium, so I need to thank my team and all of the people around me. I will enjoy this podium finish a lot and keep fighting for the win in the future.”
Gautier Paulin: “I have had two big impacts at the previous two GPs, and this has affected my physical condition, so I felt this weekend was tough with my energy levels being very low. The qualifying race was not good for me with two crashes but, even with a bad gate-pick, the team have given me a really good bike, so I managed to get decent starts, but I just did not feel one hundred percent today. To take the positives away from the day today, I had two consistent races with no crashes. I will build on this to get back to the level where I should be.”news