Clement Desalle could be back on his Rockstar Energy Factory Racing RM-Z450 Suzuki in a matter of weeks if a check-up on his wrist scheduled for today turns out positively for the Belgian.
The winner of four Grands Prix in 2014 has been frustratingly inactive on the bike since needing to curtail his season at the Czech round in July for surgery on his left wrist to fix a broken scaphoid. Desalle recently started some cycling and will dive into his winter training programme once he receives the ‘all clear’ from specialists.
“My wrist has been feeling good and we’ve been following our plan without any problems,” he says. “I started doing some light mountain-biking last week and I still miss a bit of strength and flexibility in the wrist, but I hope I will get the green light from the doctor to begin riding again in a few days.
“I will try the enduro bike and then slowly work-up to the motocross track,” he added. “It doesn’t make much sense to go full-gas right from the beginning. It has been a long time without any riding so that’s what I want to concentrate on now.”
Desalle has already mapped-out a schedule for the off-season that will include just over a week at the Portuguese ‘boot camp’ that Suzuki run each December and then several weeks riding and training in California. The last time the 25 year old jetted to the United States prior to a Grand Prix season, back in 2011, he won three of the first six rounds. “I have a friend over there with a house and I went for the same training back in 2011 but I had bad luck then because I became sick as soon as I arrived,” he says. “Nevertheless the weather should be good and I’ll use my friend’s knowledge for the best tracks to go to. I asked Sylvain [Geboers, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP Team Principal] if I could use a stock bike while I was out there but the team are actually going to send my one, so that’s great.”
Desalle has been Tony Cairoli’s closest and most consistent challenger for the premier class title since 2010 and was one of just five Grand Prix winners in 2014. Entering his sixth year with Suzuki he is expected to be one of the protagonists again, along with the likes of Gautier Paulin, Max Nagl and Jeremy Van Horebeek. Only fair then to ask for his prediction on how AMA Champion Ryan Villopoto will fare against the best MXGP has to offer. “I don’t want to say that he’ll win but then I don’t want to say he’ll struggle…honestly, we won’t know until the races start and many things can happen,” he opines.
“For sure he is a good rider but I’m not scared by that. For me he is just another good guy in MXGP. I think it is important to focus on yourself and not to look too much to one side and worry what the other guy is doing.
“I think he will have to adapt to some very different tracks. It will not be easy,” Desalle added.