The Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP squad travelled over to Agueda, Portugal, this past weekend, in order to compete in the sixth round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship. The iconic red soil is often host to memorable action and the same could be said about the recent Grand Prix of Portugal, as the Wilvo outfit celebrated podium success once again.
Mother Nature was much kinder than a week ago, as the beating sun overlooked the Portuguese track on both days and created pleasant conditions. Gautier Paulin and Arnaud Tonus both thrived on the first day, as they were comfortably inside of the top ten in every session, and it was the former who did the best in qualifying on Saturday, as he crossed the finish line in fifth. Paulin had a much bumpier start to the opening points-paying moto on Sunday, as a crash on lap one left him with a lot of work to do. Amazingly, he moved up from twenty-eighth on the first lap to fifteenth at the chequered flag.
Fortunately, Gautier Paulin managed to make it through the opening lap unscathed in the second race and immediately entered a duel for a spot inside of the top five. Paulin managed to slot into fifth at the end of the heat, which was a consistent way to end an eventful day, and therefore took tenth overall. The twenty-two points that he acquired at the Grand Prix of Portugal helped him to keep his grip on third in the current standings.
Arnaud Tonus had an unbelievable first race at the Portuguese event, after qualifying in sixth, as he started inside of the top five and immediately turned his attention to the front. Tonus quickly moved up into third, then proceeded to set some of the quickest times of the race and chase the leaders. Although he could not quite get to the top two, he recorded a very impressive third place and set himself up well for the final race that would dictate his overall ranking.
The second moto started in an impressive fashion yet again, as Arnaud Tonus was on top form whilst battling for a spot on the box. Tonus went back and forth with the title contenders as the moto progressed and was third at the chequered flag yet again. A brace of thirds put him third overall on the day, unsurprisingly, and that marked the fourth visit to the podium for Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP this term. Ninth is the position that he occupies in the championship standings.
The Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP team have no time to rest now, as the seventh round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship will be run next weekend. The Grand Prix of France will be an exciting race for the team.
Arnaud Tonus: “It feels amazing to be back on the podium. It is hard to put the feeling into words actually. I just feel thankful. Really thankful. Thankful to my team, Yamaha and all of the people who support me for sticking behind me through what was the toughest time in my career. To be back up here after all of that is so cool. I am so happy and especially because I had to fight really hard for this result. I was passed and I had to pass people back and fight really hard, so that just makes a result like this so much sweeter.”
Gautier Paulin: “The result on paper was not what I wanted. It definitely does not reflect my speed. It reflects a mistake I made in time practice, where I was the only rider doing a cool transfer. I went too wide, missed the line and had a big crash. I struggled since that moment. I was feeling stiff this morning and then I crashed chasing the top-five on the first lap and was stuck under my bike. On a track like this it is really hard to come back, so I fought hard for fifteenth place and then in the second race I finished fifth. It is not what I wanted, but I leave here safe. I will recover this week and come back stronger next weekend.”