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Monday Conversation I: Chris Pourcel

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Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel has been through a lot in the past couple of years. From winning his world MX2 title in 2006, to winning the Phoenix Supercross while riding part-time for the PC team in 2007, to injuring himself and doing nerve damage during his MX2 title defense, he ended up spending the past 16 months trying to recover from the injury. But at Houston, you would’ve never guessed that he hadn’t come off a starting gate in nearly a year and a half, as he took the holeshot and the win in his first race back.

Racer X: When you were coming into this race, did you feel confident that you had the speed that was necessary to win?
Christophe Pourcel: Yeah, for sure, I was really confident on the bike. We worked a lot on the bike, and it was really good. The speed was really good in training, too, so everybody was just focused on the good plan, to put the bike on the podium, and just try to focus on the race. I was leading, and I got a win, so that’s more than a podium! That’s crazy!

Talk about that start.
Everybody goes inside, and I was just focused on my gate. All weekend, I said to myself that I really wanted to take that one, and I just focused behind the gate, and I got it, so it wasn’t too bad.

Had you been practicing starts a lot? Because you haven’t raced in so long...
Yeah, I know, but I had been practicing, and I figured I’d just get my start and hold on and then we’ll see what happens out on the track.

To lead a whole race from start to finish in some ways is probably more difficult because you can’t judge the speed of your competitors or see what they’re doing. Did you feel that way?
Yeah, but I knew my speed already from training. It wasn’t easy for me to ride, though, because it was my first race, but I got no pressure, so I think that’s pretty good for me to ride like that. It wasn’t easy for me to have a weekend like this, but it worked.

What was the whole last year like leading up to this?
It was like just lying in bed, cannot really move, trying to walk and be up on my legs, and go through rehabilitation all the time at the rehabilitation center, and that was it every day. It was really bad.

You couldn’t walk at all at first, right?
Yeah, the first two months, and then I was paralyzed below my waist until eighth month, so that was really bad for me. I didn’t know if I would be able to get back on the bike or not, so once I was better, I just tried to ride, and it was good. I mean, it’s my life, so...

After the eight months, what was that like?
I went to Belgium to work a lot on my 450, and I was pretty skinny, and when I came back here, I worked a lot on my fitness, and then I worked a lot on my Kawasaki team, and they made everything good, and now I’m here.

You’ve lost a lot of weight, and you said before that you lost 15 kilos [34 pounds] since last time you raced supercross, so how has that affected your fitness and strength?
Right now, I feel good on the bike. I’m not too strong, and not too weak.

{LINKS}It’s jumping a long ways ahead, but you’re a former world champ in motocross, so what about outdoors this year? Do you feel like you’re going to be strong outdoors as well?
Yeah, I think I’m going to like it more than supercross.

Really?!
Yeah, I really like motocross because it’s not so tight. I like it anyway.
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