The Grand Prix of Belgium got off to a wet and muddy start at a rain-hit Sans Souci circuit in Bastogne, but Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 rider Clement Desalle guided his factory RM-Z450 through the ruts and slippery terrain to record his first Pole Position of the season at his home meeting.
The eighth round of 16dawned under heavy showers and turned the grassy circuit into a difficult location. Through fear of what the poor weather would do for the state and condition of the racing surface, the Saturday schedule was shortened and the qualification heat races were cancelled. The fastest lap ranking from the pre-qualification session determined entry into the gate for Sunday and Desalle was among the quickest throughout the period, eventually notching his Pole lap at the penultimate attempt.
Encouragingly for the team Tanel Leok was also in the groove and marked a good rhythm around the sodden terrain. The Estonian was third fastest and missed the chance of going for Pole after running into some traffic in his final circulations. Leok benefited from a new engine setting on the RM-Z450 after some tests during the week.
Thankfully good, dry conditions are forecast for the Grand Prix motos tomorrow.
"It is a bit sad for the organisers here that the weather has turned out like this because a big effort was made with the modifications of the track. I had a good qualification session and felt good out there and on my bike. I was able to find the speed without taking risks and I'm happy about that...although the important part is tomorrow."
"I felt good and it is getting better and better. In the timed practice I was a bit frustrated because I know I can do more than that. I made a few mistakes and then hit some slower riders that stopped me making a faster time. The speed was OK though and I was comfortable. I thought the track would be worse because of the rain but it was quite hard underneath. It is slippery and hard-pack in some places and with the rain those spots are very greasy. Of course there are some big ruts also."
MX1 pre qualification classification: 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 2:02.083; 2. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:00.775; 3. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:00.985; 4. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:01.036; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:01.051; 6. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:01.127; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:01.605; 8. Davide Guarneri (ITA, KTM), +0:01.902; 9. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:01.936; 10. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.028.