Clement Desalle took his factory Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 RM-Z450 to second position at Guadalajara for the first ever Grand Prix of Mexico on Sunday.
The fourth round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship was played out in 30 degree temperatures and across a track that was tricky through the mixture of loose terrain and hard-pack. Some 25,000 spectators turned out at the Nico España circuit and were able to see Desalle engage in two fantastic MX1 motos where he fought repeatedly for the lead and was denied the top step of the podium by just one point.
Desalle and team-mate Tanel Leok were both initially sceptical of the racing surface on Saturday and the dusty conditions and both decided to abstain from competing in the Qualification heat, which meant they entered the gate 14th and 18th respectively. The track was extensively watered throughout Saturday night and also Sunday morning and was a rough and gnarly prospect for the two 35 minute and two lap motos.
The Belgian made an excellent start in the first outing and was part of a riveting chase to the chequered flag with Antonio Cairoli and Christophe Pourcel. When the latter caught fencing in his rear wheel it was down to the reigning Champion and the '25' Suzuki; and the Italian had just a little too much for Desalle on this occasion. The same trio resumed battle in the second moto but were joined by David Philippaerts. Desalle and the former Champion had a gripping duel with several close overtaking moves for the lead. Although Philippaerts was able to break away on the final lap, Desalle lost the overall victory when Cairoli moved past Pourcel and his ranking of 1-3 pipped the Suzuki man's 2-2 scorecard.
Leok was visually faster and more confident on the RM-Z450 after recovering further from his injured left ankle. The Estonian had a poor start in the first moto but flew back to sixth place and was unlucky not to demote Kevin Strijbos in the closing stages. A better launch in the second affair led to another sixth position and fifth spot overall; his best result yet in 'yellow'.
The events of the Mexican event mean that in the MX1 World Championship standings Desalle is second and 29 points behind Cairoli while Leok is ninth. Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 will now crate up the works RM-Z450s and prepare for shipping to Beto Carrero for the Grand Prix of Brazil next week.
"Second again! I'm being consistent which is good but I was close to the win today so it was disappointing not to do it. I will keep working and be positive. The second moto was a good battle with David. We are two of the most aggressive riders and when you can race hard like that without crashing then it can be good."
"It went alright today. My riding keeps getting better and better as my leg improves. I can be more aggressive and when there is no pain then you don't need to worry. My start was not so good in the first moto but I was riding OK and catching up. My roll-offs finished just before the end and I wasn't able to catch Strijbos for fifth. My start was better in the second moto and I was happy with that. My speed is now good from the beginning of the races. I struggled a little bit to pass Boog but got him by the end. The track was good but the dust was the only problem."