The busy racing campaign for Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe continues unabated this weekend with Grand Prix events in France, Portugal and Belgium occurring in the next three weeks.
Harri Kullas, Petar Petrov, the crew and the factory-backed RM-Z250s had minimal downtime after their arrival back from South America and commitments in the ADAC MX Masters German Championship last weekend.
After an energetic run to clear away the last dregs of jet-lag at Hochstadt - Kullas' fourth position in the first moto in a field stacked with 450cc machinery being the highlight - the team now encounters the sixth round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
St Jean D'Angely against welcomes top flite motocross after two years as a Grand Prix host and also being the scene of the 2011 Motocross of Nations last September. The hard-pack and stony terrain can be a fast and technical terrain if the rain permits ruts to form. Most of the normally-passionate French fans get a good view of the action thanks to the amphitheatre setting of the circuit with the course on one side of the hill and the spectators grouped on a large banking opposite.
"I can't say St Jean D'Angely is my favourite track but if it rains and gets a bit bumpy and with some ruts in those sharp corners, then it can be fun and a bit better for me," said Kullas, who counts on four top-10 moto finishes in his two attempts at the French GP so far. The Fin is currently in his third Grand Prix campaign and sits 10th in the points table.
"The trip back from South America was not too bad, actually, and I felt back to normal in terms of energy and fitness quite quickly," he continues. "At Hochstadt I was riding quite well and enjoyed the first moto but unfortunately we just missed the waiting zone for the second race. For sure it was a good way to get some training done. Any race situation where you have to push and get decent time on the bike is always useful.
"With my fitness, I am almost back to 100%. I think another two weeks and I will be able to train and ride exactly how I want to and that will be a big thing because the start of the season has not been easy. I really hope the speed will improve as I feel stronger. I see no reason why it shouldn't.
"The team has been working really well and with the RM-Z250 I have the tools to do the job. We proved that by running near the top-five in the last few weeks. It is up to me now to show what all the work has been about."
Petar Petrov is currently 13th in the Championship standings and needs to work on a 28-point deficit to reach his team-mate and move into the top echelons of the leaderboard. Like Kullas, the Bulgarian has been fighting his own fitness strife this season but his energetic style and irrepressible-approach is starting to find roots with the RM-Z250 and the youngster is due a rich spell of form. He currently looks at 10th position as his best race result but there is clearly potential for higher points gain.
The weather prediction for the weekend indicates warm temperatures and changeable skies for both days with the chance of showers.
MX2 World Championship Standings (after 5 of 16 rounds): 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 223 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 203 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 189 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 152 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 137 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 128 p.; 7. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 120 p.; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 107 p.; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 103 p.; 10. Harri Kullas (FIN, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 99 p. 13. Petar Petrov (BUL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 71 p.