Follwoing the success of Steven Frossard in jumping to the 450 class for Rinaldi Yamaha, Kawasaki is signing Yamaha’s Gautier Paulin for the 450 classin 2012.
Press release: The Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) is delighted to announce that French rising star Gautier Paulin will join the team next season for his first ever 450 GP campaign.
A native of Draguignan in Provence, France, Gautier has been one of the leading contenders in the 250 GP series for the last four seasons and has been a regular face on the podium. Gautier, who led the 2009 250 World Championship for Kawasaki before injuries dropped him to third of the series, has won at least one World Championship race and scored countless podiums in recent years.
Still only 21-years-old, Gautier could continue two more seasons in the 250 class but, having already shown his great potential on a KX450F when he won a moto at the 2009 Motocross of Nations, had announced earlier in the year that 2011 would be his final season in the 250 class. He has decided to return to Kawasaki for his assault on the main class, and will join the KRT team this winter to test the KX450F-SR factory machinery and prepare his assault on the highly-competitive 450 category.
Thierry Chizat Suzzoni: “It’s with a great pleasure and high expectations that we will soon welcome Gautier Paulin to the Kawasaki Racing Team; we were looking for one of the best prospects, and his signature with us is the result of long negotiations. We wanted to incorporate him into the KRT structure a few years ago, but at that time we already had three riders in the team. This season has been pretty difficult for us, and we started our discussions with several riders very early as it was our priority to sign a top rider for Japan and our sponsors. We’ve always followed Gautier’s performances, and we were able to offer him a strong programme that he accepted. Gautier had several strong seasons in the 250 class and he has the potential to do well in the 450 class; he is strong physically and has a riding style and technique to shine on a 450, as he already proved at the Nations in 2009. His teammate will be Xavier Boog; his season was not as good as 2010 but we trust in his potential and again he won the French title for us. We’ll line up two French riders but that’s not a problem for us or for Kawasaki; France is one of the country which has numerous talented motocross riders, and our team remains international with Belgians, Germans and New Zealanders technicians who are all highly motivated to work with Gautier.”
Steve Guttridge: “We are really happy to have signed Gautier. We pushed to have him in 2008 with Molson Kawasaki because we understood his talent and potential. He did a great job in 2009 with Bud Racing Team on the Kawasaki KX250F, fighting for the title and at the Nations he won a moto on a KX450F in his first ride on the bike so we know his potential on this bike and generally he always had a good feeling with Kawasaki. For our 450 team we knew it was our best option, and so it’s important that he chose us from all of his options.
“Gautier is a very intelligent guy; he considered all the points of the team, the bike, the technicians, he looked to every aspect of the situation and he felt that we offered him the best package. The atmosphere in the team is really good, and they have new motivation to win for next year; Jonathan Barragan did a fantastic job for us, he helped us a lot in Spain and we hope to find a solution to continue with him next year.
“The goal of the factory is to make the best 450F possible; this class is very important to us, and so the Japanese engineers will come for tests through the winter to help build a bike especially for Gautier. Kawasaki Motors Europe work closely with Kawasaki US and Mike Fisher; we’ve always supported them at the Nations and now we share much information with them; this year we had the bike first in Europe, and when they are allowed to use these bikes in the US we can share all the information we have. They have a great experience in the US, and they offered us some specialist help to put Kawasaki in front in every continent. I’m sure both KRT riders and their results will benefit greatly from all of this effort and collaboration.”
Gautier Paulin at this year’s Lommel GP.
GAUTIER PAULIN BIO
Born: March 26, 199 in Draguignan, France
2007: Raced the MX2 European Champion
2008: 21st in the MX2 World Championship (missed the last nine GPs due to injury). First World Championship race podium in Spain with a 3rd position in the second moto of the GP.
2009: 3rd in the MX2 World Championship. Winner of the GPs of Italy and Czech Republic; 2nd at the GPs of Bulgaria and Turkey; 3rd at the GPs of Great Britain, Latvia and Sweden.
2010: 10th in the MX2 World Championship (missed the first four GPs due to injury). Winner of the GP of the Netherlands; 2nd at the GP of Italy; 3rd at the GPs of Sweden and Czech Republic
2011: 4th in the MX2 World Championship (2 more rounds to go). Winner of one moto in Germany; 2nd at the GPs of Portugal and Germany; 3rd at the GPs of Brazil, France, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain.