Christophe Charlier follows a golden history of French motocross legends, set to follow in the footsteps of riders such as Jean-Michel Bayle, Michel Pichon, David Vuillemin, Marvin Musquin and Gautier Paulin, Christophe Charlier carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. After winning the 2009 European 250 championship which entitled defeating the new generation of legends Jeffrey Herlings and Ken Roczen, Christophe Charlier was set to be the next French phenomenon.
After entering the MX2 World Championship in 2010 it has been a tough climb to the top, but ever persistent Christophe Charlier continues to fight. The young French rider obtained his maiden podium in the FIM MX2 World Championship last year at the Grand Prix of Brazil and this season he has already been on the podium twice, during his home Grand Prix in Ernée and in Uddevalla, Sweeden, where he also obtained his first Get Athena holeshot award. As the Monster Energy Yamaha rider continues to improve he inches closer to a top three finish in the 2013 FIM MX2 World Championship, so last weekend we figured it was time we catch up with the friendly Frenchman to shine a light on his constant climb to the top …
Question: Since your Grand Prix debut in 2010 it seems like your results have not reflected what you are capable of but after these recent races, it looks like it is all beginning to come together for you..
Christophe Charlier: It was difficult for me the two years after winning the European championship. It is not easy remaining 100%. Since my first year on the Rinaldi Yamaha team I have worked really hard and I feel like I have taken a step forward. Like the saying goes; hard work pays off.
Q: How hard is it to move from the European championship which you won, into the Grand Prix MX2 class?
Charlier: It’s very hard to move from the European Championship to the World Championship. If you are lucky (like Herlings) you can enter the world championship on a Factory team, but for most of us we have to ride bikes that aren’t as good as the Factory bikes. Also, the level is higher and the riders have much more experience so you have to work very hard, but in the beginning I didn’t do that, I had a bad period …
Q: Have you had to change your training programme over the last three years in order to be better prepared for the GP’s?
Charlier: Yes, I started working with Willy Linden three years ago. My first year with him was during my bad period and I was not really serious, but when I went to team Rinadi I began to work very hard on my physical and mental condition as well as my concentration. I followed Willy’s plan very seriously. My girlfriend also helped me to lose a lot of weight through diet and eating right. So yes, it took a lot of work and changes to get to where I am now.
Q: You obtained your maiden podium in the FIM MX2 World Championship in the mud of Brazil last year, I guess you like the mud?
Charlier: When I was young I did many races in the mud during the French championship. I like it! These races taught me to ride in these conditions. I think it is very important to have the ability to adapt to any track or conditions.
Q: How about race one in Sweden, you got a great start and just rode your own race. Even though Jeffrey did crash on lap one he couldn’t catch you. How did it feel to get your first win of the season?
Charlier: Honestly it was wonderful, it is a dream come true to take my first holeshot and my first win in the same race. I didn’t have words, I couldn’t stop smiling.
Q: You were so close to winning the overall in Sweden, after battling with Tixier the entire race you had an overall win right in your sights, what was going through your mind at that moment?
Charlier: I was very focused for the second race. I finished third behind Tixier which gave me the second place in the Grand Prix. I didn’t want to go over the limit; my main goal was to take a good amount of points. In race one I took my first ever MX2 race victory and I finished overall with the same points as Jeffrey (Herlings) so I was very satisfied with my day. I also obtained my first Get Athena holeshot award.
Q: So obviously your main goal would be to finish inside the top three, what do you think will be the key steps to making this happen?
Charlier: The season is long; I feel it is necessary to remain focused and to stay physically and mentally strong. It’s important to continue to work hard and ride smart race after race.
Q: The question on everybody’s lips, are you going to move to the MX1 next year? Or remain in the MX2?
Charlier: I don’t know for the moment.
Q: If you stay in the MX2, do you think it will be possible to challenge Jeffrey (Herlings) for the win?
Charlier: I don’t know. Herlings is a very good rider; he has worked hard on his physical condition and his bike skills since his first year in the World Championship. I lost three years; in 2012 I had a shoulder injury and I think it is difficult to be as conditioned as him. My team works very hard all year; they are very professional and are always looking for new ways to evolve the bike. I think if I continue like I am now it might be possible to be on the same level as Herlings in some races but we can’t forget that there are also many other riders that are capable of reaching that same level, this year and next year also. It’s not going to be easy but I will continue to work hard.