Belgian Clement Desalle took his first moto and overall win of the season by edging out eight-times world champ Tony Cairoli to overall victory in the red-hot French GP at Ernee.
Desalle, fourth in the opener won by Max Nagl from Cairoli and Jeremy Van Horebeek, soon made his way to the front of moto two. He was hounded all the way home by crowd hero Gautier Paulin but the Frenchman couldn’t get close enough to strike.
Paulin, fifth in the first race, ended up third overall thanks to his runner-up spot in moto two and the massive partisan crowd went wild. The Husky man worked his way past Cairoli who admitted he wasn’t gelling with the track. His third in the second race meant he was second overall, one point shy of Desalle.
The trio are now the main men in the championship, with Cairoli now leading Paulin by 50 points, from Desalle in third, a further eight points back.
World champ Tim Gajser didn’t race despite trying to ride in qualifying yesterday. The pain from the shoulder he injured last week in Germany was too much. He’s now fourth in the series, 86 behind Cairoli.
Nagl took fourth overall, losing out on a podium place when he slipped off in the last part of the final moto. Van Horebeek was fifth from Romain Febvre.
Jeffrey Herlings, fifth in the first race, fell at the start of race two and came from last to a fine fifth place again to take seventh overall. Briton Max Anstie was 10th overall.
In the MX2 class, Pauls Jonass took the overall win after a three-way battle with title rival Jeremy Seewer and local favourite Benoit Paturel.
Jonass took the holeshot and won the opener from Seewer who just held off a hard-charging Paturel at the line.
Second time out Paturel took the lead and stayed in front to take his first ever moto win. “And my first ever holeshot too!” he said. He took third overall behind winner Jonass and Seewer. Jonass now leads Seewer by 42 points.
Briton Ben Watson took 16th overall.