4 June 2009
Preview - Grand Prix of France.
The FIM Motocross World Championships return to Ernee, in France, for the first time since 2006 this weekend, for round eight of the 2009 MX1 and MX2 series.
After losing points while riding injured at the British Grand Prix, Antonio Cairoli now leads the MX1 championship by 34 points over fellow Yamaha rider, reigning champion and Mallory Park winner David Philippaerts.
KTM's Jonathan Barragan, like Cairoli, also had a bad weekend and has now dropped to third in the standings, six points behind Philippaerts and six ahead of the Italian Monster Yamaha team-mate Josh Coppins.
Ken de Dycker was also a shadow of his usual self, due to injury, and now sits one points behind Coppins on the Teka Suzuki, with Clemet Desalle the top Honda rider in sixth.
Red Bull KTM's Max Nagl took his first heat win of the season last weekend and is now up to seventh place.
Meanwhile, having claimed seventh place on his surprise grand prix return - replacing the injured Kevin Strijbos and Marc de Reuver at Martin Honda – former double 250cc world champion Mickael Pichon has his sights set on an even greater upset in front of his home fans,
33-year-old Pichon, starting his first MX1 GP since 2006, qualified second behind Philippaerts in Saturday's qualifying race at Mallory and was on pole last time MX1 visited Ernee.
In the MX2 class, French fans can enjoy the sight of home heroes Marvin Musquin and Gautier Paulin at the top of the championship, Musquin winning on his Red Bull KTM debut last weekend at Mallory Park - having split from NGS Honda.
Musquin is now 15 points head of Bud Racing Kawasaki's Paulin, who returned to the podium with third overall last weekend. Taking second on the British podium, CLS Kawasaki rider Steven Frossard added his name to the list of potential home winners at Ernee.
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