The FIM Motocross World Championship reaches the half-way stage this weekend and Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 will travel to the new Sans Souci circuit in Bastogne for Grand Prix of Belgium and its home event.
The spotlight will fall chiefly on Clement Desalle and his works RM-Z450 Suzuki, not only for the Belgian's roots in the Wallonie region; but also for the fact that he picked-up his first victory of the season last Sunday in Portugal.
More eyes than ever will be on Desalle who will count on healthy local support and the growing interest of worldwide motocross fans through the fantastic entertainment and unpredictable nature of the premier MX1 category to see if the Suzuki man can go 'two in a row' and really kick his 2012 campaign into a higher gear.
"Clement knows it is time to go for it," said Team Principal Sylvain Geboers. "He has used a little bit of a different approach to this Championship because he didn't want to take injury risks but he hasn't done national races and also only a few Internationals so he 'built' his way into the season.
"I think he knew is was time to step-up the speed and he showed that already in France two weeks ago but that weekend he was dealing with a family bereavement and I believe he did well to come through that race like he did," the Belgian continued. "We then went straight to Portugal and he produced the goods again; if anything pushing a bit too much at the beginning of the second moto which cost him a bit by the end.
"In his mind and our minds the Championship is still completely achievable but Clement knows that now is the moment to start pushing and beating some of the others. MX1 is very tough this year with some great competition."
Desalle is second in the MX1 standings and trails Antonio Cairoli by 37 points.
The Grand Prix of Belgium has taken place at Lommel for the past three years but with the sandy track preparing for the massive Motocross of Nations on September 30th the race was able to visit a new venue this season and the hard-pack Sans Souci will provide a fresh and unseen challenge for the vast majority of the paddock. Bastogne is a historic town perhaps best known for the bloody and costly Battle of the Bulge in the Second World War. On Friday, a parade of historic military vehicles will carry a host of motocross stars into the populous centre and freestyle and Trial show will take place. The weather forecast is not too positive for Saturday with rain and cool conditions in store. Brighter skies are predicted for Sunday and the GP motos.
The team will also see an improving Tanel Leok strive for a top-five finish and maybe better on the second works RM-Z450. The Estonian is 10th in the standings and has picked up points in all 14 of the Grand Prix motos run so far.
"Tanel had those injuries with his leg and thigh that just ruined his training and preparation so he has been fighting to get back to a level that we know he can run," said Geboers. "I believe he is reaching a good speed now and we almost saw it in Portugal but he isn't finding that rhythm to be able to overtake efficiently and get up there with the leaders. He's a good guy who works hard and he deserves something."
MX1 World Championship Standings (after 7 of 16 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 295 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 258 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 255 p.; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 254 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 211 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 190 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 185 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 171 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 156 p. 10. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 142 p.