We spotted Valli Motorsports Yamaha’s Christophe Pourcel on press day at Muddy Creek and asked him about his season—he had plenty of interesting things to say. Here’s a look.

On racing a new track…
The track looks good. I checked it on TV and it looked very good. I think they made a few changes. I think it’s a good track.

On the track being tight and fitting his style…
I think it is more like a U.S. track—the jumps and the speed. GPs are more technical and compact and soft. It’s more American with the aggression and style.

On the weather being a factor…
From the weather [channel] I don’t think it is going to be an issue. I don’t think it is going to be over 85 degrees. Maybe the humidity will be a factor a little bit. But most of the guys live in Florida and it’s 95 percent humidity all the time. Today is actually kind of chill, but you never know.

On getting back to where he should be…
I wish I did better. It’s has been a long time. I’ve been struggling a little with the bike. It’s a new bike, and I’ve rode a Kawi for 20 years. Four races on the new Yamaha, I think finally I got a good set-up with the week off. I think that helped me. The last two races I’ve been leading the race for 10-15 minutes. It feels good to get back in the groove, but after those 15 minutes I’m missing something still. Then Blake [Baggett] is passing me and is gone. He’s on another level after 15 minutes. I’m just a little stuck with my speed right now, but with all the changes we did on the bike, I will be able to move forward like I did in 2009 and 2010, where when I needed to go fast I could. This year, I feel like every time I’ve been in front I’ve been fighting with the bike and the track more than focusing on my plan—leading, slowing down and then pushing at the end. It’s been four races now, so I think it’s time for me to put it together.

Pourcel works on his starts at press day yesterday. Photo: Andrew Fredrickson
Pourcel works on his starts at press day yesterday. Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

On being a calculated rider…
I think I’m used to it because of the GPs. I grew up riding a lot of different, technical tracks. You have to learn a lot of places. When I practice, every morning of the race, I would check all the lines and I would know when to take it during the moto and when that should help me. It hasn’t been too good [this year], but I found some lines last weekend [High Point] on the wall, but still, my speed isn’t where I want it to be. I’m missing something with the bike. Once I get this little thing, I’ll be able to do my own lines. Because when you have another speed, you can go different lines. A good example is [Eli] Tomac last year. The way he rode was amazing. All the lines and stuff came because he had more speed and he was just flowing. It was nice.

On being a coincidence that he always sets his fastest lap in practice at the very end of the final session…
Right. Because I change all the lines and stuff in practice. And the tires are used to the track, also.