The Grand Prix of Portugal once again produced great racing and it was Belgian rider Clement Desalle and Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings who came away with the gold medals. Here are some rider comments from the teams.
Clement Desalle: "Finally I win a GP! And also the first moto. It is always positive to win and it's good but I'm a little bit disappointed by the second part of the second moto because I can do better. I lost a lot of energy at the beginning of the race because I had a bad start and had to push a lot to come back to the front. When Paulin and Antonio came back at me later on I made a big mistake and it reminded me that I had to be careful; and to stay on two wheels was the most important thing. The track was drier in the second moto and we had more possibilities to pass. It's my third win here now and I like Portugal and Agueda. It will be good to ride at home now and great to come back to Wallonie after Namur was the last time. I will do my best and I hope we have good weather. It was a bad moment for my family last week because we lost my Grandfather and I was very close to him. Even now I cannot believe it. It was difficult. Sometimes during the weekend I was thinking of him because he was a positive person and always liked to watch me on the TV."
Gautier Paulin: “I had to settle for fourth place 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 in the last three laps 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.”
Tony Cairoli: “I made some mistakes in the first race when I crashed and I lost contact with the first guys and went back to fifth, anyway third was okay. I wanted to go for the win in the second race and I did get past Paulin briefly in the last lap but it was hard to block him because `I didn’t want to make contact and crash l anyway third was not what I expected because I wanted to win but it was still good for the championship.”
Jeremy van Horebeek: “I felt really good in the first race. I was second at the start and Jeffrey and I pulled away from the rest but after five laps I had to throw away my goggles and I had to let him go. Still it was good to be second and it was a good race, I wanted to stay close to Jeffrey because he has the speed. I also had a good start in the second race but I was a bit off the pace then I twisted my bad ankle again and I was in a lot of pain.”
Jordi Tixier: “The track was not easy this weekend. It was very slippery, bumpy and heavy but I got a good start in the first race and had a good feeling with the bike. My fourth place was my best result this season.”
Xavier Boog: “I was riding well in the first moto, but I lost too much time early on when Philippaerts and Bobryshev crashed in front of me at the third corner. I came back to seventh and still had plenty of energy left for race two but I never found a good rhythm.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I posted some fast laps on Saturday, and today was not so bad but I’m still not physically strong enough to keep the pace for two motos. After an eighth position in the first race, I was fifth for fifteen laps in the second one but in the last ten minutes I nearly crashed twice and had to slacken my pace.”
Tommy Searle: "I spoilt my first race when I sunk at the gate, but I was closing down quickly on second place until I accidentally hit the kill switch. I didn't realise what I had done at first and by the time I got going again the first two were too far ahead. I got to second place quickly in the second race and had a close race with Herlings. We lapped to seventh place so there was a lot of traffic so I intended to save my attack until the final lap, but apparently a lapper got in his way and I could pass him earlier than planned."
Tanel Leok: "Not so bad. I'm happy with the riding and speed. In the first race there was a crash on the third corner and I was stuck there. I couldn't get out; my bike was jammed there. I got back to 13th and I wasn't happy because I could not pass like I really wanted to. In the second race I had a good start but touched together with Kevin Strijbos on the straight and also messed up the hill after the first turn. I recovered some ground on the next turn and was around 12th or 13th. I was part of the second group and was close with Bobryshev. I need to get sharper with my overtaking and then everything will be OK."
Kevin Strijbos: “It was another difficult weekend for me. On Saturday I got a small surgery in my hamstring and it was really painful. On Sunday morning it was still stiff but I had a good start in the first heat. I made a mistake getting into a turn, which was too wet and I slipped with both wheels. It was a stupid mistake that it cost me a lot of places. I was happy with my riding in the beginning of the race and I think I could have finished in the top seven. In the second moto I got a better start and by the end I could pass Simpson and Boog and I was very happy about that. I finished tenth, which is not the place I want but we have to deal with it. Next week I hope to do it better, especially because it will be my home Grand Prix and I will try to put a good result for my fans.”
Elliott Banks-Browne: “It was a very bad weekend for me; I got an injury last week and this weekend I could not get into it. I go back home now and I’ll try to come back and do a lot better because I should be riding among the top ten every weekend, but at the moment it’s not happening. “
Matiss Karro: “I felt like it was going to be a good weekend for me, qualifying was okay and first race was awesome and I was so happy with 9th place. We’ve made so much progress throughout the World Championship, on the back of a great start in the British Championship, and I am really happy with our showing so far.”
Jamie Law: “It’s a great feeling to get my first point on the board in only my second World Championship GP with Team STR. I'm learning all the time and really enjoying myself and looking forward to Belgium next weekend.”
David Philippaerts: We didnt get it going today and we didnt have much luck. I was right at the front, in fourth, at the first start but crashed in the third corner and had to push a lot to come back. The track was difficult and one-line with ruts on the jumps. Twelfth is not my position but when you have to come from the back then you need to take what you can. In the second moto I was outside the top ten at the start and I think something happened to the clutch because it felt like I wasnt going to finish the race at one point. Ninth again is not where I should be. Now we have Bastogne and it will be a new track that I am looking forward to. It will be a level playing field and we will see what happen.
Shaun Simpson: We are at GP seven and were still trying to get out of the gate. I feel that if I had got away near the front in the first one then I would have had the pace to be between fifth and seventh. It didnt really happen and I take some of the blame for trying the outside gate but all year Ive been packed in and squashed around the first turn so I thought Id at least try something different. I managed to charge up to tenth in the first moto and I was happy with my riding and went all the way to the end but you could see in the second one that it cost me. From about half way I lost the tow to Rui in sixth. We need to make a few changes to get better starts because you cannot give these guys a head-start every week. I feel a bit disappointed to imagine what could have been here and hopefully well try some things before Bastogne.
Ken de Dycker: “I can’t complain. I had two good races. I was a bit tired after the first race but I had a much better feeling in the second moto. I was also coming off a crash yesterday and had to start from the last place. This is good for the championship and I had the same speed and was almost closing on the first guys so I was happy with the races.”
Mel Pocock: Best set of results Ive had at a GP and it felt so good to be running up there with the top boys. With regards to the Herlings incident I was just riding my own race and he is a good enough rider to be able to take a different line and pass me. I held my line and slowed down and it was just a racing incident. I really got on with the track and this place is one of my favourites. I like the elevation changes and the dirt. The season is going very well so far and I really hope it will get me a full-time GP ride next year! I am working hard and I train hard so it is nice to get the reward. A big thanks to Steve, Ben and everyone for their help.
Arnaud Tonus: It has not been a good day. I almost crashed and then lost time in the first corner of the first moto. I was mid-pack and it was hard to come back through. I still need race time and I was a bit lost between all those guys in the first few laps. I was a bit tight and to get seventh in the end was not too bad but there is a lot of work ahead. I went down at the start in the second moto and was stuck under the bike and lost a minute. I rode back to fifteenth but made some mistakes and couldnt hold on anymore. It was hard physically out there but hopefully it will get easier with more laps and different track conditions.
Christophe Pourcel: “In the first race I led the race on the first lap, but Desalle was riding fast and passed me; we made the gap to the rest of the field and I was happy with a second position. I got the holeshot in the second moto and it was a close battle between four of us. I had a good feeling on the bike and I let Desalle, Cairoli and Paulin pass me because I wanted to see their lines so I could wait for the end of the race to attack again but then a lapper cut across my line and I crashed.”
Joel Roelants: “I still have some troubles with my vision after the crash in Italy last month, and in the first moto I took all the tear off from my goggles too quickly. In the second race somebody hit my back wheel and I couldn’t turn at the first corner; I collided with some other riders, and lost a lot of time. I got back to seventeenth, but I’m not happy with this results.”
Valentin Teillet: “I had a good qualifying race, as I got the holeshot and finished fifth. In the first race I was happy to finish fifth again, and was expecting another good result in the second race, but at the start we all crashed when Roelants pushed me wide; unfortunately I felt on my shoulder and broke my collarbone. It’s so frustrating to have another injury, especially as the accident wasn't my fault.”
Dylan Ferrandis: “I had a good start in the first race and was running ninth when I got a stone in the rear brake disc; the disc was damaged, and I had to retire. I grabbed the holeshot in the second racea, but Herlings and Searle passed me already on the first lap; later I only lost one more place to finish fourth position. This was a good result as the wrist which I injured last week was painful during the second half of the race.”