French GP - Rider Comments
Posted on October 10, 2021
Take a look at some rider comments from todays French GP. More to come throughout the night and tomorrow, so keep checking back.
Jeffrey Herlings: “Actually today was pretty good. I raced here three years ago so I definitely knew Romain was going to be good today and that I had to step up my game. This morning you could see that nobody could really match my speed. We were two seconds ahead of the 3rd. Going into the race I knew I had to bring my A game. Actually, the set up I had for race one was pretty difficult. I was struggling a bit and got arm pump. Then I just could not hold Romain and he made a pass. I had to let him go and try to close him at the end of the race but it was too late and I could not put a good fight anymore. He won fair and square. Second race, I had a good start again. He beat me on the first turn, then I managed to pass him on the second or third turn. I was trying to pull away, but it was tough with his speed. I think I had a 2 or 3 second gap, then I had an issue. I’m lucky I did not lose much time and kept the 3 second gap. I managed to win this race and win the overall and looking forward to next weekend”.
Romain Febvre: “I was happy to win the first race, especially because I haven’t won a race in a long time so I am happy with that. Our speed with Jeffrey was really fast which made the second race really challenging because we were again 1 and 2 after a few turns, I knew it was going to be challenging until the end. Like he said, he made a mistake in the turn which allowed me to go around him and pass him. I tried to make a few fast laps to make a gap. At the end, I wasn’t that fast in a few sectors, then he caught me. Obviously, I was disappointed because I almost won at home, but anyway it’s good to be on the podium. It’s great to see a lot of fans out there. They deserved the win but I could not make it happen. We are really close in the championship which means every weekend you can take the red plate, which for me is fine. Hopefully we keep it like this until the end and we have to find something in the pocket in the few last rounds”.
Tim Gajser: It was a bit of a frustrating day here, despite ending up on the podium. I knew coming in that starts would be crucial because the track is so tight and narrow in a lot of places, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out of the gate well enough in either moto. In the first race I was around 10th place early on and it was just really difficult to make any passes, it was hard to find a good rhythm, but eventually I worked my way through to sixth, which was all I could manage. In race two, my start was a bit better but I couldn’t latch onto the top two and battle with them and so once I got into third, I was too far behind to catch them. Still, there are a lot races to come and I will now focus on next weekend when we head to Spain.
Tom Vialle: “I was a really nice day, it’s the first time I won the French GP, so it’s just amazing to ride in front of the public and it’s really nice to have them at the race. There was a little bit more pressure than a normal GP but I managed to do good. I’m really happy because the start was really important today as it was not so easy to pass and I did two great starts. I’m really happy to win both races again and it’s just amazing for the fans”.
Mattia Guadagnini: “I’m happy to be back on the podium, especially coming back from last weekend because the feeling was really bad, I was not very good. We come here and we did great job, so I’m really happy and I was also about taking my first pole position and here was really important for the start, I took two good starts and I tried to do my best. The track was tough, the start was really important, I’m happy to finish second. The second race, I lost a bit of rhythm on the track, made a few mistakes and Maxime passed me but anyway I’m happy to take second place and hopefully we will have some good races in the next few weeks”.
Maxime Renaux: “I think I tasted all of the rocks from Lacapelle. I had to fight so hard. I had two similar motos in the end. I started both races inside the top-12 and had to fight like never before because this track is not an easy track to pass. It’s very tricky and small in places, but anyway, I managed to find my way through. Honestly, I am super happy with myself today because I did all that I could. It’s bittersweet because I feel like I gave 100% and it’s my home GP and I really wanted to win, but I have to be happy with myself and how I was riding. I gave it my all.”
Jago Geerts: "It was a good day for me. Last night I felt really bad and needed to throw up a couple of times. This morning i didn't even know if I could ride. I was really unwell, so I'm really happy with 5-4 moto scores. Now I will rest this week and hopefully feel 100% again in Spain."
Jed Beaton: “I guess overall It was a good day but on this track you really needed two good starts. I got a great one in race one and brought it home for third so that was pretty decent, and I was happy with my riding. I didn’t quite execute the same start in race two but I was able to make a few passes early on and ended up sixth. Not too bad but with a better start I know I could have been much closer to the front. It’s a little frustrating but now it’s onto Spain next weekend.”
Tony Cairoli: “It seemed better today compared to last week in Germany but I’m still struggling a lot. It’s four weeks now since I’ve been able to ride during the week. I didn’t do much before Sardinia because I knew it would be a heavy GP but then I crashed and haven’t trained since. I cannot do much cardio either because the ribs hurt. It’s hard to keep my condition like it was before. Today I was 5th in the first moto and could push until the end but in the second I started to suffer. It was good to get the holeshot in the second and be 3rd. I was riding a bit conservative but Gajser was chasing me a lot and I started to get cramps in my side and back. I was hard to hang-on anymore. It was a shame to be 4th because another few laps would have given me the podium. I have to accept that things are not easy for me at the moment in this condition and with the training. I can only hope that this week I can do a bit more than I could recently and regain some more speed with the bike.”
Jorge Prado: “Coming here this weekend I didn’t know if I could even ride the bike but I had the mentality to try. I’m in the fight for the championship and to get some points is something. After these two motos the cut looks OK and it’s not worse. It was a rough day because I didn’t feel there was much strength in the arm. I didn’t get a good lap in Timed Practice, so I didn’t get a good gate and then actually touched the gate for both starts with my front wheel! I did what I could, and I began to feel better in the second moto. We got some valuable points and now we’ll get ready for the home GP because I want to bounce back as soon as possible.”
Kay de Wolf: “Today was another good learning weekend for me so despite my crash in race one, there are still positives to take away from here. The track was hard to make passes, which was the same for everyone, so starts were really important. But crashing in race one in the first turn made things really difficult. Fortunately, I was ok and then in race two I finished 11th so that was not too bad. Not the best but I’m healthy and excited to be racing next weekend.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen: “I’m really happy with my results today and I’m also a little bit relieved as well. It’s been a little bit up and down this season but today showed that I can do it. I’ve been making steps forward in recent weeks and it all came together today. I qualified well, which gave me a good gate pick, and that meant I could start up front and overall it was just a great day all round.”
Arminas Jasikonis: “It was a solid day for me today and scoring points in both motos is a positive step. I felt really strong in race one and was in the battle to the end so that was positive. I still struggle with my vision and in race two it was difficult with such a tight track, riders were really close and the low sun created a lot of shadows. So, it wasn’t an easy race but I fought to the end and I’m happy to have had two races where I could push to the end and score points in both races.”
Rene Hofer: “Coming here I thought it would be better for passing but it turned out to be pretty one-line. The starts were quite OK and I was happier with the second race because my pace was good and 5th place was quite solid. I made a few mistakes in the first race and that was the key moment because I couldn’t make the passes. We can definitely keep on progressing and we gained pretty good points for the championship. My confidence is up and I feel much better compared to the beginning of the season. I haven’t ridden the next track in Spain but I like the look of it. We’ll put in the hard work this week and will be ready to go again.”
Thibault Benistant: “The weekend was not so bad. I struggled a little bit with my starts and my feeling on the bike was not the best today. The result was not too bad, but the riding itself could be improved. Sometimes we have days like these. It is what it is and I look forward to the next one."
Jeremy Seewer: “I was quite close to a podium. I had two really good starts, but I had Jeffrey (Herlings) come somehow into my line and then into a scary straight. I ended up losing some spots to the freight train behind me. So, that was a bit unlucky. Overall, P.3 in moto one was a massive comeback, two good starts and a good timed practice. To sum it up, it was one of my best GPs of the whole year. I am starting to enjoy it again. I had a lot of fun riding my bike today. I am on my way up. I still have energy, and I feel like I am becoming more fresh. There are still plenty of GPs left and I just want to keep moving up and hopefully be back on the podium soon.”
Glenn Coldenhoff: “I felt pretty good this morning. The times were really close in Timed Practice and I was eighth, which was still good for the start position. In the first race, I got a really good start, but there was a bit a of chaos in front of me with riders changing lines, and then I hit a kicker as well and went down while in fifth position. On a track like this, it’s very difficult to come through the pack, especially with the times so close to each other. In the second race, I wasn’t really feeling it. I stayed way too long behind the riders in front of me. I found some better lines in the end, but only finished eighth. 13-8 are disappointing results. We will work towards Spain.”
Ben Watson: “I had a really bad day today. I felt terrible all day, starting from qualifying. That blocked me. I got a good start in race one but was bumped off the track. It was just a battle from the back of the pack, which I couldn’t do anything to get to a decent position. In the second one, I changed a few things on the bike and went completely in the wrong direction, and then I twisted my ankle. So, I really just want to get out of here and regroup for the next one.”
Roan van de Moosdijk: “It wasn’t a perfect day but it wasn’t too bad. The times were really close this morning; I was eleventh but less than three-quarters of a second from pole. I enjoyed the track but I just couldn’t find the tenths to make passes. In the first moto I got a good start around fifth or sixth but I had to go a little wide at the first turn and lost a couple of places. The first fifteen minutes were good but after that I started to feel a little pain in my hand; this track is typical French and hard on you if you are not 100% so I slowed down a little to be sure of making it to the finish. I started top ten again in the second moto; I changed line to pass Bénistant but the back wheel jumped out of the rut. I looked round in the corner, saw Mikkel and we almost touched. I tried to pass back but it was difficult to pass your teammate here as you had to force it. “
Haarup had again shown his speed with fourth-fastest time, just a quarter of a second off pole, in Qualifying but got closed down out of the gate by the championship favourites to emerge fourteenth from turn one. Despite being unable to ride through the week he showed resilience to advance to twelfth at the finish. The young Dane again made some good early passes in race two to join his teammate in the top ten as early as lap two; he eventually passed his teammate to finish the moto eighth and earn ninth overall on the day.
Mikkel Haarup: “It seems like I have Qualifying dialed now with another P4. I didn’t get off the gate well in the first race but I made a few passes to finish twelfth; the speed was really good but it’s pretty difficult to make many passes here. I made a better start in race two and had a good battle with Roan. I hadn’t been on the bike all week as I had been sick but I rode consistently all day. “
Wilson Todd: “Something happened at the start of race one but I had the inside at turn one and came out round about tenth. I settled in through the opening laps and then I closed down Roan and got round him. I went after Renaux too but I got held up and he was gone. I got a good start the second race but I ended up on my head. I’m looking to finish top ten every moto when I can and move into the top five. It all depends on getting out of the gate and how I’m gelling with the track. “
Stephen Rubini: It was so nice to race in-front of my home fans today. I could hear them cheering me on and waving the French flags. It was crazy. My day started really well with second in Free Practice, but in Timed Qualifying the riders’ timings we’re all really close, so I couldn’t get a better place than 15th which meant that I didn’t have the best start-gate choice. My top-ten starts today were good though and in race one I managed to defend my position well. Then in race two I struggled to improve my track speed. I got some arm-pump at one point and found it hard to find my flow on the track and find good lines. I felt a little bit lost, but eventually I found a good pace but it was too late. I like next weekend’s track in Spain, so I’m looking forward to an even better overall result at the next GP.
Pauls Jonass: “On paper today was a good day overall, although a fourth and a fifth for sixth is a little bit difficult to accept! I felt pretty strong on the bike in both races and the set up that we have on my MC 450F is working really well, it’s just that I’m missing that last little bit of speed early on in the races. Today was an improvement in that respect from last week, though, so it was actually a pretty decent day with decent points, and we still have a lot of racing to go in the championship.”
Brian Bogers: “A tough day today. A bad start and then a crash in race one meant I was way down and I felt a little tight and not really flowing. Unfortunately, my start in race two wasn’t much better but I moved into 14th within a couple of laps and stayed there for the whole moto. Not my best day but if I can get better starts then I know I can run up front so that’s the plan for next weekend in Spain.”
Simon Langenfelder: “Today wasn’t quite the weekend that I was hoping for after such a good result last weekend in Germany. I qualified well in eighth and I felt great on the bike but in both races I just didn’t get the starts needed to run up front. I also crashed in race one, which didn’t help so it was a tough GP for me. I’m already looking forward to next weekend in Spain where I’ll be hoping to get myself back inside the top 10.”
Isak Gifting: “Today started off pretty good with an 11th in race one, which is a good result for me on a track like this. I was hoping for more of the same or better in race two but in a section of the track with a lot of shadows I tucked the front wheel and went over the bars. The bike hit me on my shoulder and unfortunately, I damaged the bike too much to continue. It’s disappointing to end the GP like this but I think I will be ok for next weekend.”
Conrad Mewse: "It has not been the weekend that any of us wanted. It is difficult for us all to accept these results. I did not gel with the track in qualifying this morning and missed that aggression from the last couple of weeks. We will go back to work this week and work towards the next few rounds. I was off the pace, but we're going to go back to the drawing board and come out swinging."