Sunday's Portuguese Motocross Grand Prix, the middle of three back-to-back events, provided more podium joy - and another moto win - for Dunlop and Gautier Palin.

Paulin, riding in his first full MX1 season, confirmed his second podium in a row after emerging victorious in a tight moto two battle with Antonio Cairoli on a rough and rutted Agueda circuit, following overnight rain.

The Kawasaki Racing Team star thwarted the reigning world champion by just 0.484s in a thrilling contest, having earlier claimed fourth in race one. Paulin's combined haul of 43 points (out of 50) presented him with second overall in the grand prix.

That is one place higher than the Frenchman had achieved in front of his home fans the previous weekend and is Paulin's best result of the season after victory in Bulgaria (round two).

Paulin's only regret was that, without a damaged exhaust in the opening moto, he might have claimed his second Dunlop grand prix win.

He said: "I had to settle for fourth in the first race after another rider crashed into me at the start and damaged the pipe so I lost power. The track was rough for the second moto, and I had a great race with Desalle and Cairoli. Antonio had tried to pass me several times and he eventually found a way on the last lap, but I wanted the win after doing all the work for 35 minutes and passed him back. It's great to get a second podium in a row; we all worked hard and that's a nice reward for the team."

Paulin's latest rostrum has also promoted the 22-year-old to third in the standings and just three-points from second place.

One Strong Moto for Fellow Dunlop Racers

While Paulin showed consistent pace in the thick Portuguese dirt, his fellow Dunlop riders had to be content with one strong moto.

Race one saw LS Honda's Spanish star Jonathan Barragan claim a season-best sixth in the nearest event to a home race, with Paulin's team-mate Xavier Boog seventh.

In moto two it was Honda World Motocross riders Rui Goncalves and Evgeny Bobryshev that joined Paulin in the top ten.

Home hero Goncalves - involved in a first lap pile-up in race one - steered his CRF up to fifth place, before a stalled engine cost him a position. Bobryshev took seventh.

Boog finished eleventh in moto two, but was still able to claim sixth overall in the grand prix classification - one place off his best of the year.

Goncalves and Barragan (who struggled with a bent gear level in race two) were seventh and eighth in the overall GP standings, while a first moto non-score due to a stalled bike left Bobryshev 16th.

MX 2012 Reaches Halfway Stage at Bastogne

The Motocross World Championship now heads straight to Belgium, with this weekend's event (June 16-17) also marking the halfway point of the 16 round series.

With usual venue Lommel gearing up for the end-of-season Motocross of Nations, Bastogne has stepped in to host the grand prix.

A familiar name due to its role in the WW2 'Battle of the Bulge', the scenic village in the Ardennes has constructed a purpose built grand prix circuit amid a pleasant tree-lined setting.

Belgium is a passionate motocross nation boasting more past champions than any other country and the event is sure to be well supported by the home fans.

The first impressions of the track suggest plenty of big jumps, some fast, flowing corners and a loose surface of pale dirt. Predicting and then responding to the unfamiliar terrain as it evolves during the weekend will play a major part in success on Sunday.

Bastogne is located 74km from Luxemburg and 95km from Liege.

Dunlop MX race coordinator Eddy Seel:

"I am really happy with Gautier Paulin's second place in Portugal! He showed again how strong he is and that he is one of the world championship title pretenders. After two weeks in a row on GPs abroad, I am glad that the next GP is just some minutes away from my home. We don't know the track, so it's always difficult to predict tyres, but I am very confident that we are well prepared for the GP with our tyre range. Let's hope for a third podium in a row!"


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