DESALLE AND SUZUKI DOMINATE VALENCE MX
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1's Clement Desalle dominated the season-opening Valence International Motocross in France for the second-successive year - and in his first outing of 2012.
After taking Pole position in Qualifying, the Belgian - who lost his challenge for the 2011 World MX1 series after incurring a serious shoulder injury - charged his Factory RM-Z450 to victory in the first two heats with Steve Frossard (Yamaha), Gautier Paulin (Kawasaki) and Rockstar Energy Suzuki team-mate Tanel Leok as the main contenders. And in the Super Final - a race where the 20 best MX1 and MX2 were mixed together - he grabbed the holeshot and wasn't headed.
Leok - who was on for a promising result with second and fourth positions in the first two heats - had problems with the start gate in the Super Final, but after starting dead last, he fought through the ranks, encountered a small set back when he touched the wheel of a competitor; but managed to work his way back into 10th position, giving him fifth overall on the day.
Japanese Suzuki rider Yohei Kojima - currently in Europe to prepare his Japanese MX season after surgery on his forearms at the beginning of January - finished 10th overall with 8th, 13th and 12th positions in the three races.
Desalle said: 'We had a good week of training in Spain last week with the team, but it's good to be racing again after such a long time. It's different from training and essential to find some race rhythm, but it felt good and I had a lot of fun riding. It's a good start to the season, but the real test will be at the first GP! "
Leok said: "It's a shame I missed the start in the third heat, which might have set me back in the overall results, but overall I feel good on the bike, I feel the rhythm is coming; and I feel confident for the new season."
Kojima said: "The race went good, but I'm mainly happy with the result of my forearm operation. I missed-out on training a bit because of this, and that's why I'm feeling a bit tired. But my goal is the Japanese Championship which starts in May, so I still have some time to prepare for that. "
Next-up for the Rockstar Energy World MX1 team's schedule is the Hawkstone Park International race in the UK next weekend, where all three riders will be taking part.
MX1 Results: 1 Clement Desalle (Rockstar Energy Suzuki) 75 points, 2 Gautier Paulin (Kawasaki) 60, 3 Steven Frossard (Kawasaki) 58, 4 Xavier Boog (Kawasaki) 51, 5 Tanel Leok (Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 6 Markus Schiffer (Suzuki Europe) 46, 7 Milko Potisek (Honda) 35, 8 Cedric Soubeyras (Honda) 35, 9 Shaun Simpson (Yamaha) 29, 10 Yohei Kojima (Rockstar Energy Suzuki) 27.