Yamaha Grand Prix stalwart Christophe Charlier faces his final season in the FIM MX2 World Championship in 2014 on account of his age (the class carries a limit of 23 years) but has sharpened his skills, fitness and experience to the point where the flamboyant Corsican is now hoping to push for the title on the factory YZ250F.
Charlier initially made his Grand Prix baptism in the 2010 MX2-GP world campaign with a lot of expectation on his shoulders. The previous season’s European Champion (defeating the likes of Herlings, Gercar and Roczen), a former French Supercross Champion and well known for his fantastic ability on a dirt-bike, ‘CC’ was making the next step in an already bright ascension. 2010 would see moments of the brilliance that won 17 motos from 28 in Europe during ’09 but he ended his debut term in 12th after a dislocated thumb disrupted his learning curve. That Charlier had been able to win so much and build his profile away from Grands Prix is already a massive testament to his capabilities, particularly in a generation where France can already look to the likes of Musquin, Pourcel, Paulin, Frossard, Teillet and now Jordi Tixier for their motocross achievements.
In 2011 he hoped to make a progression but small injury niggles again interrupted any attempt at establishing a rhythm through the season in terms of results. Under the stewardship of Michele Rinaldi and Mino Raspanti in the confines of the factory team, 2012 was set to be a breakthrough year in terms of reaching the winner’s circle but an unfortunate foot break weeks before the first Grand Prix and a dislocated shoulder at his home round in June were further frustrations. Finally Charlier touched some of his potential in 2013. Three podiums and chequered flags (moto wins in Sweden and Great Britain) showed that he could lead the world. His consistency improved and he spent the second half of the season battling for a final top three position in the standings with Jose Butron before having to rest the year with a well-earned fourth place after seventeen Grands Prix.
Christophe has matured and hardened his race approach and has formed a close and effective working relationship with mechanic Manuel Volpato. With the 2014 version of the YZ250F and his confidence-boosting 2013 results to look back on ‘23’ should be one of the main contenders throughout the seven-month FIM calendar this summer.