Lots of pressure for you at this race. Does it bother you? Does it affect you?
Affect me, not really. A little bit because when I was coming here with the Kawasaki racing team, along with Monster Energy, they said, “Okay you can ride but our goal is the 2014 Championship.” And with so many GP riders getting injured here in Bercy, the first goal was affecting me a little bit because the close goal, really, was to not be injured. But as a French guy who doesn’t race so much in France, in front of that amazing French crowd, I wanted to do good. My goal was the podium, I missed it by a few points behind Andrew [Short]. I’m loving racing supercross. Was a long time that I wasn’t on a supercross track, so it was really good.
Great ride on Friday night.
On Friday the track was a little softer so it was easier to make a difference, there wasn’t so much speed, and it was easy to find a good line in corners. At Bercy, the track [layout] stays the same, but the dirt gets harder and harder, more dry, and the whoop section gets smaller and smaller. Everyone was entering them so fast, so it was getting harder and harder to find the difference.
I always think, even the slowest American riders are very good in the whoops compared to the European riders. Do you agree?
Yeah of course I agree. In America you have almost this culture of the whoop section!
And maybe even the suspension guys know more about how to set a bike up for the whoops.
Yeah because you are working on both championships, a supercross championship and a motocross championship. In Europe we are more focused on motocross. I think I’m the only European who really likes big whoops. When I have a good feeling, I prefer when they are big, when they are a little slower. It’s kind of the section I really love when I race.
We saw you race in America in Lites Supercross a few years back. I know now you’re racing in the GPs for Kawasaki, but any plans to come back?
Good question. When I went to American in 2010 I had just been injured in Motocross of Nations in 2009, so I only had one month to get ready.
Plus you’re a bigger guy.
Yeah I was really big for riding Lites. Now I’ve just turned 23, I have a contract for 2014 and my goal is to achieve my goal of becoming a World Champion. I’m working really hard with Monster Energy Kawasaki to do that. After that, we’ll see. But first of all, my goal is next year.
"But as a French guy who doesn’t race so much in France, in front of that amazing French crowd, I wanted to do good." - Gautier Paulin
Ray Archer photo
Cooper Webb, MyPlash/Star Racing Yamaha, Fifth Overall
You got better every time you took to the track, and that was probably key.
The track got worse but I got better. I guess it was kind of experience and nerves, and getting used to the 450. We made some bike changes that helped. Unfortunately I had to go to the LCQ, that wasn’t good, but in Super-Pole I got fourth, I was happy with that. I think it was a good night and overall a great Bercy.
Overall your first Bercy, what did you think? And how sketchy were the tunnels?
It’s definitely different. It’s a whole new experience, even from Monster Cup to this. But I thought it was good, we got to try stuff on the bike, which I think will help us back home. And racing the unknown, you don’t know how these guys are going to do. And the fans, they’re wild. If you’re battling with a Frenchman, if you make a pass, every time I heard yells, and… it was nerve wracking to be honest.
"The track got worse but I got better. I guess it was kind of experience and nerves, and getting used to the 450." - Cooper Webb
Ray Archer photo
Andrew Short, BTOSports.com KTM, Third Overall
This year [you got] third place, not too bad considering you lost some spots when you forgot to take Joker Lane.
Yeah it was great training for me, getting to run with Barcia and Canard. You can ride at home all you want. But this format has changed quite a bit since I’ve been here, a lot of one-lap sprints and elimination races, stuff that’s not my specialty. It’s good to work in those areas. This is a great race, all this history and the whole atmosphere makes this race really special. Overall, really enjoyed it.
Your practice times, like you said, just one area where you’re not great at. But then the Super-Pole, you were up on top for a while, and you led a main. But the practice times were off.
Even back home, it’s the same, I’m never very fast in practice times. But when the gate drops, something just clicks, and that’s what’s cool about being a racer. It was great to kind of get some time in, going over the gate with other riders. I got good starts, much better than Monster Cup.
You were leading and you knew those two Honda riders are coming. What’s your thoughts?
Yeah when Trey got me I wasn’t so bummed, I was going to try to be a little buffer between him and Barcia. But Barcia smoked me! I was a little timid, he ran it in hot on me after the whoops in the heat race, and it definitely had me thinking. It was kind of weird. But I felt like I definitely ran a strong race. I need a little more speed to run with those guys.
Okay, Joker Lane, you missed that. The Super-Pole, the elimination races which you won today. What’s your favorite out of those quirky deals?
I like the one race wonder deal [Super-Pole]. Like I said, not my specialty, but it kind of shows you what everyone has. And the Europeans are really good at that, especially the French kids, they can lay down one lap. It was interesting to see everyone’s techniques. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to be in a stadium this size, not an empty seat, and all eyes are on you.
"I like the one race wonder deal [Super-Pole]. Like I said, not my specialty, but it kind of shows you what everyone has." - Andrew Short
Ray Archer photo
Wil Hahn, GEICO Honda, Seventh Overall
Tough ending today, sounded like a serious crash.
Yeah I don’t know what’s going on with me. I got a good start. That was new, felt like the old Wil was coming around, took me three days to get going. Tried to latch on to Trey and them and was doing well, just mistimed the rhythm section—it was hard all weekend. I mistimed it just right, caught the last one with my front wheel and went over the bars. It was good, it was tight racing, it made you learn that 450 really quick. I’m just bummed I crashed, because like I said I finally got a good start. I was in a good position to run up front, and we were pulling away from that pack, that was good.
Feel better coming into this after having gone through it last year.
Oh without a doubt, you just know what to expect. But, my results weren’t any better, so it could be argued! I’d love to come back again and again. What it’s about is good practice.
"It was good, it was tight racing, it made you learn that 450 really quick." - Wil Hahn
Ray Archer photo