Thor Racing Presents MXP Chatter With Christophe Pourcel

After a very solid weekend at the opening round in Kamloops, Christophe Pourcel came into Round 2 feeling very confident. Not only was he the holder of the MX1 class points lead and the red plate that goes with it, but he also spent the week in Prince George and took advantage of Tuesday practice at the Blackwater MX Track. From his MXGP upbringing, Pourcel appears to know the importance of arriving at a track early and acclimatizing himself to the area. This thought process worked like a charm on Sunday as Pourcel was able to stay strong and make a last corner pass on Matt Goerke for the moto win and the MX1 overall, ironically using an obscure line that he found practising on Tuesday. To get his immediate thoughts on his successful day in Prince George, I caught up with him moments after his thrilling second moto victory.

MXP: Christophe, that was a pretty incredible pass on the final lap to take the win. Can you take us through what led up to that final pass?

CP: Well, I think we have to go back to Moto 1 and how I was feeling afterwards. I thought I had that moto win also as I had a few seconds lead over Matt with just a few laps to go. I came into a pack of lapped riders that seemed to be battling for position and weren’t in the mood to let me by. I was forced to follow them for a few corners and that allowed Matt to close the gap and make a pass on me. I stayed close to him to see if he was doing anything better than me. Sometimes second in the first moto is just as good as a win so I didn’t really push too hard to retake him. In between motos I was a little mad and coming into Moto 2 I really wanted to win.

Christophe Pourcel got out front early in Moto 1 and led most of the race before getting passed by Matt Goerke. Photo by Summer Denzl

But then you didn’t really get that great of a start in Moto 2. 

Yes, you’re correct, my start was not great and I had to pass a few riders to get into second. I took my time as Matt was spending a lot of time trying to pass Alessi so he wasn’t pulling away. The moment Matt got into the lead I started pushing as I wanted to stay close. Even though he had the lead I felt like the advantage was mine for the entire moto as it was now his turn to deal with the pressure and with the lapped riders first. This track was very good and a lot of fun to ride, but because it was short, we were into lappers quickly and quite often.

It looked, though, that for the most part the lappers did a great job of being aware of you two and trying to move aside.

Yes, for the most part. It just gets more difficult when you begin to lap into the top 15 or so as those riders are going fast also and sometimes they’re battling for position.

Sorry, I got you side tracked. You were sitting in second behind Goerke and the laps were starting to wind down. What was going through your head at that point?

No problem (slight grin), I knew that I didn’t want to make my move too soon as I didn’t want him going crazy and coming back at me. I knew if I could make a pass on him then it would have to be late in the moto, maybe not on the final straight right before the checkered flag but in the final few laps. At one point during the moto I decided to push a little harder and close up to see how Goerke would handle the pressure of knowing that I was right there. When I did that, he really started to push hard and make some mistakes. After seeing this, I backed it down and saved some energy for the final few laps. Once we got the two-lap board I picked up my pace as I knew that he would pick his up as well. I had a few lines that were better and I used those to close the gap. I was thinking that if I could get close to him in the final few corners that I might be able to make a pass in the final turn. On the final lap I got right behind him and actually almost passed him with a few turns to go, but he blocked me and we almost hit. From there, I knew that he would go inside in the final turn as we had been using the line the entire moto, and also, no one goes wide in the final turn when you’re leading. Anyway, when he went inside I held it wide open around the outside and was able to build a lot of momentum down the final straight and I just got him before the finish. It was a very cool moment and I’m glad it worked out the way it did.

The final moto on Sunday produced a photo finish as Pourcel took the win by just a few inches over Goerke. Photo by James Lissimore

As you said, you had that outside line in your head on that final lap. Did you take that line at all today? 

No, it was so far outside and kind of rough, but I was using it on Tuesday when we were practising here so I knew it was there.

I guess it does pay sometimes to come to a new track early and learn as much as possible. That is a great lesson for younger riders, for sure. Okay, so we’re now four motos into this series and you still hold the red plate. Are you enjoying yourself so far? 

Yes, so far everything is great. The tracks have been different and fun and the people here are very nice. Everyone seems chilled and welcoming so it feels a lot like back home in France.

You stayed out last week, is the plan to stay out again this week and go ride the Calgary track on Tuesday?

Yes, we’re staying out here until Regina and then going home. I like being on the road and seeing the country, especially since we’ve never been here. Everything is new and exciting so we’re enjoying ourselves.

Christophe gets a big hug from his wife after his thrilling second moto victory. Photo by James Lissimore

I’m sure winning and moments like that one in Moto 2 help make it fun also. 

For sure, that is always fun!

Well Christophe, thanks for doing this. Have a great week and we’ll see you in Calgary. 

Yes, thank you and thanks to all the fans today who were cheering me on.