Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 rider Clement Desalle talks about the off-season, racing the Valence and Hawkstone pre-season internationals and preparations for the opening GP at Valkenswaard next month.
When the gate went down at the Valence International for my first race in six months I had a great feeling. It was really cool to have that adrenaline going again. The results were pretty good, and then again a week later in the sand of Hawkstone. Those were my only two races before the first Grand Prix in Holland at Easter and I believe that is enough.
My speed and confidence was high on the bike and although I think there is still a higher level to reach in the sand after what happened in Hawkstone - I won MX1 but not the Superfinal - I know I am in the right direction. We will work on it. No stress!
The off-season felt long but I didn't change anything in my programme or training schedule. I still worked mainly with my dad and then took the pieces of advice that I wanted from my doctor and Yves Demeulemeester, our Team Trainer. After quite a while off the bike I was excited to ride again, excited to train and it was a relief to be having fun. I don't think I am more eager to start this season compared to any in the past just because I was injured and needed those shoulder operations. It will be cool to get to Valkenswaard regardless.
I was really happy already with my RM-Z450 in 2011 so I did not make any specific requests to the team for this season. They listened to my comments after each race last year and then presented a few components and changes for 2012 that we tested and looked to see if there were any improvements. The differences are small, details like an adjustment with the front brake and also on the suspension. Like I said, I really felt positive with what I had so I'm already confident in terms of the race bike.
The next couple of weeks will be taken up with preparations. I bought a new camper last year so I don't have to worry about that now and then things like fitness tests and yet more riding. At the moment we are working through two days of our team photo shoot. Having fun and messing around on the bike for the cameras is great but the studio work not so much!
I have a new team-mate with Tanel Leok this year and he's a nice guy. We don't hang out so much but we talk about the bike and everything is OK. It has been funny having Yohei Kojima over from Japan. We've done some training together and he's a cool person.