Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Gautier Paulin and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer emerged from the penultimate round of the MXGP World Championship in Afyon, Turkey, in sixth and seventh overall, while Tonus finished eleventh.
The wide and flowing man-made clay track in Afyon was heavily ripped to improve line choice. The hot summery conditions meant frequent watering, which made for sea-deep ruts and gnarly bumps that demanded caution and careful line-selection.
Finding smooth lines was the key to Seewer’s fourth place finish in the opening race of the weekend. The Swiss rider got off to a decent top-five start and quickly moved into fourth position where he remained undisrupted for the entire 30-minute plus 2 lap duration of the race.
Paulin delivered a strong performance as he followed his YZ450F mounted teammate, Tonus, through the pack and eventually passed the number ‘4’ with 3-laps remaining.
After an exciting battle with the new World Champion, Tim Gajser, Tonus was demoted to seventh on the final lap.
The Afyon venue is situated approximately 1000m above sea-level which meant the YZ450F race machines had to be re-tuned for maximum performance. Seewer proved that his YZ450FM had fantastic output regardless of the high altitude by taking an impressive holeshot. Unfortunately, the ’91’ was swallowed by a frantic first lap where he was shuffled back to seventh position before being slammed to the ground by another rider.
As Seewer remounted in 16th position, Paulin challenged and claimed sixth position while Tonus struggled to muster enough energy to excel on the rut riddled square edged circuit. A valiant attack from Seewer in the second half of the race saw the Swiss rider bounce back from the nasty fall to finish eighth position while Paulin held on for sixth. Tonus was 15th.
Paulin and Seewer made up the top-7 respectively, while Tonus finished on the same points as the rider in tenth position.
Seewer remains 43-points clear of Paulin in the battle to be crowned vice World Champion in 2019, while Tonus remains fifth in the Championship Standings with one round remaining. The 18th and final round of the MXGP World Championship will take place in Shanghai, China, in five-days’ time.
6th MXGP Overall, 3rd MXGP Championship Standings
“Actually my starts cost me a good result this weekend. A good start was important today with the track being so rutty it was difficult to change your line to make a pass. Everything else was there. The track was really rough, but I enjoyed it and I felt good. My YZ450F was really good too, both suspension and engine. Physically I felt awesome, so I am looking forward to China.”
7th MXGP Overall, 2nd MXGP Championship Standings
“Overall today I had the speed to be on the podium. Fourth in the first moto with a gap to the riders behind me and I could control the position. In the second moto, I took the holeshot and for some reason it felt like I was standing still, and a lot of riders passed me. I made a small mistake, and I tried to keep Pauls Jonass behind me, but neither of us closed the throttle and I got put over the berm. After that I had a good pace and came back to eighth. I am sad because I could have been on the podium today, but happy because my second place in the championship is pretty safe now.”
11th MXGP Overall, 5th MXGP Championship Standings
“Race 1 was alright considering I had a bad feeling on the track yesterday. In the second moto, I was completely ‘off’ and tired for some reason. I don’t even know how I ended up, but I was completely drained of energy. So, I will try to recover and regain some energy for China next week.”