The Grand Prix of Qatar was the stage for Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle to score his first podium finish of the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship and with the RM-Z450 as the Belgian ended the motos in Qatar with two second positions and status as runner-up at Losail.
In three editions of the spectacular night event, Desalle and Suzuki have now picked-up two trophies; this latest result complimenting his victory in 2013.
Under the many lights and around a wide and quick layout, Desalle carried his impressive pre-season form onto the Losail bumps and set the fastest lap in Timed Practice on Friday. The winds and sodden terrain (through extensive watering) from practice and qualification had largely vanished for Saturday night’s two 30-minute and two-lap motos but the softer soil was treacherous in places and the long and large jumps were a tough ask for the MXGP elite.
Desalle’s start was bright if not stellar for the first moto of the year and against a deep and competitive field in the premier class. The ‘# 25’ however wasted little time in passing Shaun Simpson and Antonio Cairoli to reach the front and tried to close a three-second gap to runaway holeshotter Max Nagl. At times Desalle chipped away tenths-of-a second but then suffered a problem with his boot and eventually had to settle for second. In the next moto he made light work of Gautier Paulin but stared at a larger distance to Nagl again and focussed on maintaining the margin over the Frenchman.
Team-mate Kevin Strijbos endured a frustrating weekend with pain in his right wrist largely limiting his possibilities. He made a terrible start in the first moto and suffered with arm-pump as a result, taking 12th by the flag. Strijbos ingested more painkillers before the second moto and managed to end the Grand Prix on a positive note by getting out of the gate among the leaders and riding conservatively to sixth spot.
Desalle will swiftly fly home on Sunday while Strijbos will head directly to Thailand to prepare for round two of the series next weekend at the new circuit of Nakhonchaisri.
“It is a strong result and I am happy with my riding and my feeling with the bike and the new stuff. We try to improve every year and this was a good beginning to the season. My starts can be better; this is something we can work on for the next race. We will fly back now and benefit from the time at home to get ready for Thailand.”
“I had a lot of pain in my wrist all weekend. It was difficult because I had a good winter and I want to do well and go for the podium; at least top five. The first moto was really bad. I had pain in the morning so we tried to strap it…and on top of that I had a bad start. I could not ride the way I wanted to, which meant I tightened up and had arm-pump. I felt better in the second race and the start helped. I went from third to sixth and stayed there all moto. My wrist was not hurting, which was good. I think I made a mistake because I should have taken painkillers before warm-up and repeated the dosage before the motos. At least we know for next week. Overall I can be happy with how things went considering the problems.”
MXGP Moto1: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), 34:52.985; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:01.221; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:18.550; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:24.809; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:34.810; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:42.395; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:47.295; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:56.052; 9. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), +0:59.609; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +1:03.179.12. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki) +1:09.114. 18. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +1:47.302.
MXGP Moto2: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), 35:00.295; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:06.023; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:08.752; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:12.787; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:17.740; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:24.676; 7. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:36.357; 8. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), +0:40.816; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:03.294; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +1:07.182.
MXGP Overall result & Championship Standings (after 1 of 18 rounds): 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 50 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 44 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 38 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 25 p.; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 25 p.; 9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 24 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 21 p.; 11. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 17 p.; 12. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 17 p.; 13. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ) 14 p.