Dunlop Motocross stars Gautier Paulin and Xavier Boog will be setting their sights on home victory during the French Grand Prix at St. Jean d'Angely on June 2-3.
Both Kawasaki Racing Team riders have enjoyed success already ready this season, Paulin roaring to overall victory in round two at Sevlievo while Boog arrives on home dirt boosted by a debut moto win in Brazil.
Back in familiar territory
After taking on two brand new circuits during its Latin American adventure, the Championship returns to a familiar European venue for round six.
Since leaving Europe at the end of April, Dunlop's tyres have faced dusty conditions in Mexico, followed by a mud fest in Brazil. Few dare to predict what the weather will have in store for France but, as always, Dunlop will have tyres to suit every eventuality.
Located in the west of France, 160km from Bordeaux, the St. Jean d'Angely circuit winds its way along a steep hillside. Fast, hard-packed dirt sprinkled with big jumps and constantly changing camber sum up the traction challenge, while the natural amphitheatre setting provides excellent viewing opportunities for the passionate spectators.
Dunlop has excellent recent form at the track, having helped all three members of Team USA to victory in last year's prestigious Motocross of Nations at St. Jean d'Angely.
Boog Big in Brazil with moto win
Few could fault the effort that went into the debut of Brazil's new Beto Carrero's track, a first class stadium-type layout constructed inside one of the largest theme parks in Latin America.
A weekend figure of 42,000 spectators turned out in support of the event, but one thing that couldn't be planned was the weather.
Heavy overnight rain turned the thick Brazilian dirt into a deep, sticky soup for the opening moto, while drying conditions meant the second moto was held on a faster, but rut-scarred surface.
One of many to be caught out in the race one mud, Boog came out fighting in race two. He passed overall grand prix winner Christophe Pourcel midway through the moto, then fended off the challenge of more experienced rivals to secure a memorable debut MX1 race win.
Boog, who finished the GP sixth overall, said: "It's a great feeling to win a GP moto for the first time! The last few laps seemed to last for ever, but my Kawasaki kept running perfectly and I could hold them off. "
Paulin Denied by Podium Tie-Break
While Boog starred in the second moto, greater consistency by Paulin put him on the brink of the Brazilian podium. The Frenchman claimed 3-5 race results to finish the day equal on points with Kevin Strijbos and was only denied a rostrum place after moto two positions were used as a tie-break.
Paulin, second in Saturday's qualifying race, said: "The team worked hard and I wanted to give them a podium but just missed it. It's great for the team and our prospects for the rest of the season that Xavier won his first GP moto."
Paulin remains the top Dunlop rider in the championship standings and will start his home round fourth overall, just nine points from second place.
Honda Riders Rebuilding Fitness and Form
Ruled out of the Mexican event by bronchitis, Honda World Motocross star Evgeny Bobryshev caused a stir with four place in the Brazilian qualifying race. The Russian's diminished physical condition took its toll on race day, but he scored solid points with ninth and tenth results.
Team-mate Rui Goncalves fought back from a fall in race one to claim fourth at the flag, but found a recent tendon injury harder to overcome in the second moto ruts, when he claimed eighth.
Dunlop Quote - Dunlop MX race coordinator Eddy Seel:
" The Latin American excursion is over and it goes back to Europe to race on French soil. Our two Frenchmen are specialists on the hardpack and are racing in front of their home crowd, so I really hope for some great results! I know they can do it! Bobby and Rui are also capable of achieving strong finishes, so let's hope for the best and as much yellow caps on the rostrum as possible."
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