Gautier Paulin is quietly having a rather solid term with Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP. Third in the premier-class standings, and quite comfortably too, he is showing flashes of his former self whilst attempting to return to the top step of the podium. Paulin was on the lowest step for the second time this season at the Grand Prix of Trentino and recognised that as a step in the right direction.
MX Vice: Two thirds and another podium. Two in four races. All good things. I guess you are happy?
Gautier Paulin: Yes, I am happy. Hard work paid off. It has been a good race for myself and for my teammate, actually, for the full Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha team, because Arnaud went 4-4. It is great to have him back again at the top. We have done great work, but there are still some ups and downs. We are pushing hard. With the amount of time we have it is again still the same comment, but now we will have some free time to focus on the test plan and improve our team.
What moto were you the happiest with today? Obviously third in both, so same result, but was there one where you felt stronger?
Sure, second one. In the second one the start was definitely better. In the first four or five laps, I could catch up with the guys up front and enjoy the riding. The public were really cheering for the guys. To be there and, not part of it, really close for the beginning of the moto, this was the goal.
The goal is to start to fight with them. It is a long series. They were really on the top form today. The level was really high. The speed on that Arco, a tricky track… They put the level really high, but we will keep working to be with them. We get closer for sure. Second moto was definitely the best one.
In that second moto did you notice that you had Max Anstie, who was a lap down, kind of right with you the whole time? He was not pushing you or trying to pass you, but he was lurking.
Yeah, for sure. When you ride with no pressure it is much easier to ride this way. The hardest sprint is at the beginning of the moto. Once I was settling there, ten seconds behind Tim [Gajser] and Antonio [Cairoli] with Arnaud more than ten seconds away from me, we did not make a mistake, because Max was behind me. I know I had him by a lap and that he was there behind, learning, so for sure as a professional rider it is better to not give up and try to learn from the best.
The second moto only finished thirty minutes ago, but do you already know of an area where you could potentially gain on Tim and Antonio? Is there anything you saw?
Intensity. Today there was not so much to talk about lines. It was more about intensity and still the same two guys that start up front, so we need to work on this and to be on that level we need to be more confident, to be more on automatic mode. We need to improve in many places to have the bike helping me to have myself in a better rhythm and put myself in a better situation.
I have been on the podium, but at Valkenswaard I had a bad start and put myself behind dust and getting roosted. I did not see that bump, got whiskey throttle and crashed. I need to take less risks with riders and fight up front more.
When you talk about intensity everyone thinks of the first couple of laps but, talking to a few other MXGP riders, they are now saying it is intensity over a full moto. In comparison, a couple of years ago it was just about those first few laps. Do you notice that the pace is higher and there is more intensity the whole way through?
Not really. There are some ups and downs. There is the top form of the athlete that is right now high. There is also the confidence of the guys. They have been 1-1, 2-2, 1-1 and 2-2. They feel really good. I feel that today is a bit on that day where they really rode fast. I felt that Valkenswaard was not like this. I felt like Matterley was not like this and even Argentina. I think they are really on the top of the game right now today, but we keep pushing. We will watch all the video, analyze everything and the data to become stronger.
This is definitely the goal. I proved in the past that I could be an MXGP winner many races, so we will continue working. I definitely feel great on the bike. Again, it is a short time that we are working together. We need to have more experience and more data. Every round we do, it is a round with more experience for the team and for the riders so it is a really positive attitude. We went down in Valkenswaard and we are back up today. It was good. With Arnaud feeling good this week, it also helps for the future training to help us to continue to develop and put the level higher.
Did you prefer the track this weekend to previous years? The rain helped form some more technical ruts. Still a bit one-lined, but there were some deeper ruts where you could really make a difference.
Yes, I preferred the track today. Track was better. Yesterday I start thirteenth in the qualifying race and ended up fifth, so I could really pass riders and it was better racing. Was slightly too wet in a few spots, but this is motocross. There will be always a comment to do.
Finally, it sounds like you are happy about the big break. Is there anything you have in mind that you want to work on immediately? What is at the top of your checklist of things to do?
We have a plan already, for ten days, on what we will do. We have a busy schedule definitely to improve ourselves.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX