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Benoit Paturel at the 2017 Grand Prix of Switzerland

Paturel makes the breakthrough for Swiss Grand Prix victory

Aug 132017

Like some of the stereotypical aspects of Switzerland the fifteenth round of nineteen of 2017 MXGP at Frauenfeld demanded clockwork precision and provided some actions scenes that were delectable as the country’s famous chocolate. For the second year in a row this ram-packed fixture on the Grand Prix slate was another sterling and memorable occurrence and was stamped by a noisy 40,000 attendance and hot sunshine. On this fantastic stage Kemea Yamaha’s Benoit Paturel broke the floodgates by securing his first ever Grand Prix win in the MX2 class.

Scarred, jagged and forcing a committed approach, Frauenfeld was as technical as they come and mixed some speedy sections with big jumps; a recipe for racing that the fans wedged into the grandstand seating thrived on. The vibe reached fever pitch as local heroes Jeremy Seewer and Arnaud Tonus won the first MX2 and MXGP races respectively.

Friday’s heavy rainfall helped contribute to the testing surface but the dirt ripples were an invitation to the determination and skills of Paturel who burned months of frustation and inconsistencies to run second to Seewer and then win a close contest with Thomas Covington to claim the chequered flag and overall honours.

“Finally I got the win! I have been waiting a long time and today was my day,” the former Motocross of Nations champion said. “We have worked really hard for this. In the last races I have been showing ‘something’ and always with good speed. I cannot say how happy I am. I want to show my real potential in these last races. The season did not start well but I pushed so hard to come back. I want to stay ‘in this way’ and put my feet back on the box. I want to thank everyone around me. This is so nice.”


In a campaign dwarfed by KTM, Suzuki and Husqvarna, Yamaha gratefully quaffed frothing podium champagne. American Darian Sanayei was also prominent in the MX2 pack and claimed eighth overall on his Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki.

Wearing a face of relief and exhilaration was Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle. After a knee reconstruction at the end of 2016 and then an operation to fix a broken left hand the Brit was finally ready to make his first race appearance of the year and his determination was palpable. Searle gunned the KX450F to the limits of his slightly rusty condition and race fitness and although he classified fifteenth was clearly thriving at being back in the heart of the chase. “It felt like I had never been away, the only difference is that I’m not quite where I need to be on the track but it was still a really positive weekend,” #100 said. “I didn't come here feeling that good and thinking ‘I was going to race these guys’ because I knew I was not ready to do that. Before I broke my hand I was, and would have come in hot. Now I’ve had just two weeks riding and not particuarly good ones because I felt stiff on the bike and still do. Saying all that I’m really happy because I started up there in both races and mixed-it-up. I’m not that ready to race the others to the end but speedwise it was a good way back.”


Belgium and now Switzerland and MXGP shows no sign of easing the cable. After missing a space on the 2016 calendar the slick and tight circuit of Uddevalla returns to host the Grand Prix of Sweden next weekend and the third meeting on the bounce for the paddock before the USA beckons at the end of the month.