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5 Minutes with... Christophe Pourcel

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For Christophe Pourcel, the 2007 global racing season was the best of times and the worst of times. First, on Saturday night, January 13, 2007, at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, the 2006 FIM MX2 World Champion went out on a Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki KX250F and won the main event. A week later, he was out of the series and back to Europe after injuring his lower right leg in the West Region main event in Angel Stadium. But the worst was yet to come. On Sunday, August 22, 2007, at the Grand Prix of Northern Ireland, a frightening crash left him with a broken sacrum (Note: The last bone of the spinal column) and a dislocated shoulder. Christophe would be out of action for upward of eight months. Poised to come to America to race for Mitch Payton and the Pro Circuit syndicate in 2008, the youngster from Marseilles, France, was forced to play a waiting game while his body knitted itself back together. Once healed, though, over the winter, Pourcel arrived in California to begin testing for Payton and the 2009 supercross season. However, a collarbone injury suffered in mid-November sent him to the sidelines yet again. And then everything regarding Christophe Pourcel seemed to go dark. The Pro Circuit organization went remarkably quiet on just what the team had planned for the former World Champion, and as the opening round of the 2009 Monster Energy Supercross Series rapidly approached over the holidays, nobody seemed to know what in the world was going on. But then came the twilight of Saturday, January 17, 2009, and standing in the darkening Team Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki pit area in Angel Stadium, I found Pourcel. Quickly, I politely pulled him aside, stuck a tape recorder in his face and asked him just what was up to. Here’s what he had to say.

  • Christophe Pourcel
  • Pourcel burst onto the American scene in 2007
Christophe, due to injuries and setbacks, your plans for the 2009 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series have been shrouded in mystery. Do you now know what you’ll be doing in 2009?
This year?

Yes.
Yeah, I’m going to race for sure. I signed with the Pro Circuit team, so I’m going race supercross and motocross.

So you’ll be competing in the AMA East Coast Series beginning next Saturday night in Houston’s Reliant Stadium?
Yes, I will.

I know you’ve been hurt quite a bit in the past year. When did you finally decide you would be racing in 2009?
I think after my big accident I decided to sit out something like eight months. When I got my paralyzed back, I took a lot of time off.

How long have you been riding now?
I started back up something like five months ago.

So physically, you’re 100 percent now?
Yeah, everything is good.

How long have you been testing with the Pro Circuit team? Have you been testing all winter?
No, I started just two months ago.

So you just started testing relatively recently?
Yeah, and everything has gone good.

How is the motorcycle? Did it feel good to you right away?
Yeah, I chose that one because I know it’s the best one. We did a lot of testing on the bike and we got a good motor this year and we are, right now, trying to get the suspension finished and I hope everything is going to be good for the first race.

Do you like testing? Do you like developing the bike?
Yeah, I like to make the bike like I like it! I like to make it comfortable for me, so I like to make it to me.

Man, when is the last time you raced? It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?
Something like two years. Yeah, almost two years. So it was a long time ago. It seems crazy.

Two years. Wow! Do you think it’ll take you a while to warm back into racing again?
No, obviously, I think it’s going to be good. There is no pressure on my shoulders. I will ride like I can ride and we will see.

What sort of goals and expectations do you have for Houston? Are you just going to sort of take it all as it comes?
Yeah, I’m just going to try make a good race and try to get a podium for the race. I would be happy if I did that.

As far as your speed and being physically fit, are you confident you can fight for the championship?
Yeah, for sure. I know my speed is good. Everything will be good, for sure. I am just waiting for the first race and I will see if I am ready to make the podium and I will see for the championship later.

  • A series of injuries has had Pourcel on the sidelines for a while
  • Christophe won the Phoenix round in 2007
I know you’ve practiced and tested a lot with your teammates Ryan Morais, Jake Weimer and Austin Stroupe. Are your speed and lap times right there with theirs?
Yeah, that is why I know I am fast, because I ride like them. I like to ride with them and look at them moto. It’s really good to watch them on the track. That has been really good for me.

Have you bee able to attend the first two rounds? If so, what did you think?
Yes. I was surprised about the first round. But like I told you, they have the best bike in the paddock. It’s why they are out front and after they got the good start, they did the best in the race. The bike is so good, so they got good finishes.

What did you think of the riding of Ryan Dungey and Jason Lawrence?
They are riding fast, for sure. You just have to be consistent when you are a good rider and make your 15 laps and you’ll be there. They are pretty good.

Have you raced in any of the East Coast stadiums before?
No. Never. I just broke my collarbone one month ago, so I couldn’t make the West Coast. I wanted to ride here, but it didn’t work out. I hope the tracks are going to be good over there.

If you had to guess, who do you think will be fighting for the 2009 East Coast Championship?
My teammate, for sure [Austin Stroupe].

What about guys like Brett Metcalfe and Nico Izzi?
I don’t know. I don’t know how they ride. I’ve never seen them on the track, so I cannot say too much on that so we will see.

How do you like being a part of this Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team? Do you enjoy the atmosphere inside the team?
Yeah, everything goes so good with the team. Everyone works to make everything good for you. Everyone is behind me and every rider on the team. Everything about the team is good.

Do you get along well with Mitch?
Yeah. Mitch is really good.

The 2009 AMA 250 National Motocross Championship is going to be astonishingly competitive this summer. Do you feel good about racing in that series?
Yeah, for sure. We’re going to get a really good bike for the outdoors. I’m sure the team is going to make something really good. I’ve never rode with the Pro Circuit motocross bike before, but it seems like it’s going to be really good. I’m really excited to ride here. The tracks are really, really good over here and it’s going to be good to ride on tem.

{LINKS}What the goal for outdoors? Are you going for the championship?
No, I don’t have any goal at the moment. I am just going to race and see at the first race.

It’s been almost two years since you came roaring out from behind a starting gate. How do you feel with Houston just seven days a way? Are you nervous? Excited?
I just feel good. I have a good feeling of the bike. I have no pressure. I will ride like I can go. If I can go really fast and win the race, I will try to win. But I don’t want to get in any crashes or anything like that. I will ride smooth and try to go fast.
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