After finishing 1-2 at the previous weekend's Bulgarian GP, Pourcel and fellow Kawasaki rider Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team again showed dominant form in Italy. They were both more than two seconds per lap faster than the opposition during the timed Pre-Qualifying session the previous day and followed this up with a runaway 1-2 win in the Qualification race before quickly moving to the front of the pack in the opening GP moto.
Again their vivid duel took them clear of the pack with Pourcel emerging the winner by less than a second after they had passed and repassed each other in the closing stages of the race. Unfortunately Paulin slithered to the ground at the first corner of race two and had to be content with sixth place at the finish despite a storming ride through from last position, but Pourcel was again prominent and, despite the handicap of blood streaming down his face after he was hit on the nose by a rock, he crossed the line in the wheel tracks of the moto winner to clinch the overall GP victory.
This was not only the first victory for the CP377 team, but also the first personal win in the world championships for Pourcel since 2007, his most recent full season of GP racing; that win, also in Italy at the Faenza facility,was in the MX2 category so today's win was his first overall success in MX1.
Pourcel's elder brother Sebastien also maintained his renewed show of speed as he made it three Kawasakis in the first five in the Qualification race, but he too took a rock on the nose on race day and sadly had to withdraw from both races.
Paulin's KRT teammate Xavier Boog's gating skills deserted him for the weekend, but he had an impressive charge from 13th to nearly snatch fourth place at the chequered flag in race one before a fall restricted his scoring potential in race two.
Christophe Pourcel: “I was confident already when we arrived here in Italy. We had the bike set up really well from the race last weekend in Bulgaria and I immediately felt comfortable on this track. My Kawasaki got me out of the gate well in both races and I won the first race after an exciting battle with Gautier Paulin. I was sitting comfortably in second place in the second moto and was optimistic that I could win that race too, but a rock hit me on the nose a few laps from the end; blood was streaming down my face so I decided it was wiser to settle for second place as this would secure the overall GP win. We’re a young team and it’s great to win already at our third GP to confirm the potential we showed in Bulgaria.”
Gautier Paulin: “I had a good rhythm in the first moto but I made too many small mistakes; I nearly passed Christophe several times, but I always made a mistake and even after I did take the lead with two laps to go I went wide in a corner and lost the race. I ruined my second race by crashing at the start; I recovered to sixth place but I want to be on the podium every week. We’ll continue to work for that, and the speed we showed this weekend confirmed our results from Bulgaria.”
Xavier Boog: “I need to work on my starts ! In both motos I started in the pack and am making life tough for myself. I found a good rhythm and good lines in the first race to nearly snatch fourth place Desalle, but I wasn’t riding smoothly in the second race and I even crashed once.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I had a good feeling on Saturday, and it was great to qualify in fifth position. My first start was not so good, and during the opening lap a stone hit me on the nose. I lost a lot of blood and eventually had to stop. In the second moto I felt tired after just a few laps; possibly this was the result of the incident in the first race, and I pulled in rather than taking risks.”