Strijbos close to Leon podium result

Kevin Strijbos closed the book on a successful 2014 MXGP campaign by steering his works Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP RM-Z450 to fourth position overall at the new Leon circuit for the Grand Prix of Leon in Mexico and the final round of 17 in the FIM Motocross World Championship.

Some 30,000 spectators ignored overcast and cool conditions deep in the Parque Metropolitan north of the city to soak up the action of the country’s second-ever hosting of the FIM MX series.

Strijbos, who had already confirmed his best world championship classification since 2007 with third position after the Grand Prix of Goias last weekend, rode across a hard and jumpy circuit with second and third places in the two 30-minute and two-lap motos. Leon is situated 1800m above sea level and the altitude meant a hefty period of adjustment for the riders and teams throughout practice and qualification on Saturday. Reduced engine potential was an effect that Suzuki entered on the first Mexican-staged Grand Prix in Guadalajara in 2012 and therefore the Belgian crew had settings and data on how to cope with the handicap.

Starting from third in the gate after a strong run through qualification on Saturday, Strijbos launched from the line and won the holeshot entering the first corner of the opening moto. He was swiftly passed by Max Nagl, winner of the previous GP, but kept the German company over the next 17 laps. Strijbos closed the small gap down to a second by the finish line. It was his best race result since winning Moto1 in the Czech Republic in July.

In the last moto of the year Strijbos just couldn’t nail the start he needed to vie for the overall victory. He was fifth on the first lap and had to work hard to pass Jeremy Van Horebeek and then close to the back of Max Nagl. A great move to seize third place meant that ‘#22’ tied on points with Antonio Cairoli and only lost out on third place overall due to the Italian’s run to second in Moto2.

The 28 year old ends his second year with Suzuki since re-joining the team in 2013 as the third best rider in the world, with 572 points, seven podiums, one moto victory and three pole positions on the RM-Z450.

Clement Desalle missed the last three rounds of the series after opting for surgery to fix a broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist. The Belgian rested fourth in the 2014 FIM Motocross World Championship and is now deep into his rehabilitation programme with a look towards testing and preparation for 2015 in the coming months.

The racing season is still not over for Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP. Strijbos has been selected to ride his RM-Z450 for his country at the 68th Motocross of Nations at Kegums, Latvia on September 28th.

Kevin Strijbos: “I’m quite pleased with my riding today and I feel like I did a good job. It was a shame to miss the last podium, especially after the first race, but I pushed as hard as I could on this track. So third overall for the year and this was my goal. It was hard because of the pre-season injury but in the second half of the season I was going well and I’m happy about that. We worked week-by-week and step-by-step and once we came to Loket it reached a good point. I’ve had some bad years but to be back in the top three is great.”

MXGP Moto1:

1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 34:33.587; 2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP), +0:01.205; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:28.257; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:33.591; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:42.340; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:48.044; 7. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:56.187; 8. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +1:05.625; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:08.100; 10. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), +1:08.721;

MXGP Moto2:

1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 35:02.891; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:01.311; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP), +0:02.550; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:03.762; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:40.793; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:43.944; 7. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +0:45.281; 8. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:59.239; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Yamaha), +1:01.253; 10. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), +1:03.576;

MXGP Overall result:

1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 43 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 43 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP), 42 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 27 p.; 7. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 27 p.; 8. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 27 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, YAM), 22 p.; 10. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), 22 p.;

MXGP Final World Championship Standings (after 17 rounds):

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 747 points; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 628 p.; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP), 572 p.; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP), 484 p.; 5. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 419 p.; 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 400 p.; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 397 p.; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 358 p.; 9. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 297 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 275 p.;

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