Heading back to Ernee after the latest appearance in 2006, the FIM Motocross World Championship will offer the French fans an exciting two way battle for the MX2 red plate starring home favourites Musquin and Paulin.
Cairoli leads the MX1 Championship from Philippaerts as French star Pourcel will be attending just as a spectator after a recent shoulder operation.
Winning the previous GP in Mallory Park David Philippaerts of Yamaha Monster Energy Motocross took a giant leap in the points standings as he stormed from fifth to second. The defending Champion, who celebrated his last MX2 podium appearance in Ernee 2006, will be looking for another win this weekend to make up for a poor 18th in his last French appearance in 2008 at St. Jean d’Angely.
Yamaha Red Bull De Carli’s Cairoli had a bad weekend in Great Britain where he hurt himself in a crash during the qualifying heat. The Italian managed to defend the red plate but stopped his four podium row to see Philippaerts becoming a bigger threat than he was the week before.
Another one having a bad British weekend was third placed in the Championship Barragan, who was out of heat two due to a clutch problem while KTM fellow rider Nagl went on to take his first heat win of the season. A podium finish gave further confidence to the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s German who could keep young gun Desalle behind in third overall by just one point.
Other Yamaha Monster Energy rider Coppins looks ahead to France where he will chase the podium finish which he just missed at Mallory Park despite two strong rides.
Getting back on a Grand Prix bike to answer a last minute request of the Martin Honda squad, who was left with no riders after the injuries of Strijbos and De Reuver, French legend Mickael Pichon clinched a sixth place overall at his first time out on the factory Honda at Mallory. The two time World Champion announced he will head to France with higher ambitions to please his home crowd.
On the other hand Pourcel, who won the French GP last year at St. Jean d’Angely by taking both heats, will be just a spectator at Ernee because a recent shoulder operation sidelined the GP winner ahead of his home event. As Pourcel is due to miss most of the remaining GP’s, French countryman Florent Richier will be replacing him in Ernee and Teutschenthal.
Like Strijbos, also Tanel Leok ended on the podium in 2006 at Ernee which might be a good venue for the Estonian to come closer to the top of the Championship standings where he sat after Faenza’s season opener.
2008 MX1 PODIUM (St. Jean d’Angely):
1. Sebastien Pourcel
2. Joshua Coppins
3. Jonathan Barragan
2008 MX1 POLEMAN (St. Jean d’Angely): Steve Ramon
Despite his swift manufacturer change from Honda to KTM, Frenchman Musquin won first time out on the new machine as he dominated the British weekend courtesy of two heat wins. Being already at ease with the new bike, Musquin hopes in another win at Ernee to follow the steps of KTM’s Stefan Everts, who won his 101st Grand Prix there in 2006 at his last GP appearance.
The French crowd’s excitement mounts with other home rider Paulin being second in the Championship standings after he kept the red plate until Bellpuig. The Bud Racing Kawasaki man mounted on the podium last weekend at Mallory Park to announce he is back chasing countryman Musquin after a difficult Catalan Grand Prix at Bellpuig.
Taking second on the British podium Frossard added his name to the list of potential home winners at Ernee. The CLS rider will have extra motivation for his home event even though he is conscious that winning is no easy task in such a hard fought Championship.
KTM fellow riders Goncalves from Portugal and Van Horebeek from Belgium, who both won their maiden GP this year, can be other strong opponents to face the French armada while third placed in the Championship Guarneri needs to finish ahead of Goncalves if he wants to keep his spot safe – the Italian has not yet mounted on the rostrum this season.
Looking back at last year’s home podium at St. Jean, Boissiere is confident for Ernee as he is 18th in the MX2 Championship with one podium and one heat win in his 2009 winning account already.
2008 MX2 PODIUM (St. Jean d’Angely):
1. Tommy Searle
2. Tyla Rattray
3. Anthony Boissiere
2006 MX2 PODIUM (Ernee):
1. Antonio Cairoli
2. David Philippaerts
3. Christophe Pourcel