Rockstar Energy Suzuki Set For Valkenswaard MX

MXGP hurries onto round five of 18 in the 2015 FIM World Championship this weekend with the Grand Prix of Europe, giving riders their first taste of the sand this season. The Eurocircuit at Valkenswaard, a popular GP venue over the last two decades, will entertain MXGP fans in northern Europe for the first time since last August. Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP will make the short journey east from their Lommel HQ with Clement Desalle still wearing the red plate as leader of the standings, but cannot count on the skills of Kevin Strijbos with the Belgian not yet fit to tackle the rippling bumps of the Dutch terrain. The veteran is still in the rehab stages of an operation on his right wrist. “I will not race this weekend. I have only been on the bike twice since the operation for a couple of 10-15-minute sessions and afterwards my wrist was still stiff so I am not ready for 30 minutes plus two at GP speed,” said Strijbos. “Spain is the goal now and I might try a race in Germany next week to get some good bike time. “It is a pity I will not be there in Valkenswaard but I also want to come back when I feel good,” he added. “You have to be 100% to fight for a top-five position because MXGP is so stacked right now.” Desalle has been training in the sand this week in the Loon Plage area of northern France. He is physically fit and ready to go despite two falls in a chaotic Grand Prix of Trentino last weekend where he still managed to take third place overall and maintain his 100% podium record this year. Desalle was fourth in the 2014 event at Valkenswaard. “I have been feeling good on my bike this season and I’ve had some good results in the sand in the past so I’m looking forward to the weekend,” ‘#25’ commented. The dark Dutch sand provides a bumpy but relatively shallow test compared to deeper circuits like Lommel and Lierop. The weather conditions also play a part with rain helping to churn the surface further while a sunny climate means the course can seem powdery and dusty. Valkenswaard, which is mainly flat for the majority of the layout except for two small mounds, has been home to snow and also 25-degree temperatures over the years for a Grand Prix weekend. The coming forecast predicts showers across both days in southern Holland. The event will be the first home Grand Prix in two years for Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff. The 24 year old missed the 2014 visit to Valkenswaard due to injury and scored a top-five finish at the venue close to the city of Eindhoven in 2013 in the MX2 class. ‘The Hoff’ has accumulated points in every moto so far for his maiden season in the MXGP category and with the RM-Z450, but has yet to better an overall ranking of 10th. The backing of the supporters, his familiarity with the track and terrain and his growing confidence in the premier class means that he is poised for potentially his best outing so far this weekend. “I rode this morning and everything went well, obviously I’m looking forward to riding the sand and in front of the fans,” he said yesterday. “It feels like I didn't finish my job in that second moto last Sunday and hopefully I can get it done in Valkenswaard,” he continued, referring to the crash from a possible top-five result at Trentino. “My goal has been to try and finish each moto in the top 10 and I haven’t done that yet so this is the perfect time to get this started.” Jeremy Seewer will head the RM-Z250 wing of the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe this weekend with Brian Hsu and Bas Vaessen also in attendance as Valkenswaard will stage the second round of nine in the EMX250 European Championship. The Swiss has been working hard on his pace and proficiency in the sand and is most certainly looking for improvement on the 2014 incarnation of the Grand Prix at the same site where he only picked-up 11 points and was bumped to the floor in the second moto. “My speed was there in Italy and I needed to put it together…but sixth overall was not too bad and just one position away from my goal,” he said reflecting on last weekend. “I know things can be better. Normally I feel pretty good at Valkenswaard. The sand is quite special there and it gets hard underneath. I practiced a lot in the sand this winter and I’m really fit; I think it will be OK for me.” MXGP World Championship Standings (after round 4 of 18): 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 171 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 170 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 170 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 129 p.; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 128 p.; 6. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 124 p.; 7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 100 p.; 8. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 78 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 75 p.; 10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 70 p.; 11. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 67 p.; 12. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 61 p.; 13. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 59 p.; 14. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 55 p. MX2 World Championship Standings (after 4 of 18 rounds): 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 172 points; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 159 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 133 p.; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 126 p.; 5. Julien Lieber (BEL, YAM), 101 p.; 6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 101 p.; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 99 p.; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 95 p.; 9. Thomas Covington (USA, KAW), 86 p.; 10. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 75 p. EMX250 European Championship overall result and Championship Standings (after 1 of 9 rounds): 1. Maxime Desprey (FRA, KAW), 50 points; 2. Adam Sterry (GBR, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Ander Valentin (ESP, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Nick Kouwenberg (NED, HON), 38 p.; 5. Simone Zecchina (ITA, KAW), 25 p.; 6. Damon Graulus (BEL, YAM), 23 p.; 7. Alvin Östlund (SWE, YAM), 23 p.; 8. David Herbreteau (FRA, KAW), 22 p.; 9. Alessandro D'Angelo (ITA, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Nicolas Dercourt (FRA, KAW), 20 p.; 11. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 19 p.; 12. Brian Hsu (GER, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 37 p. Bas Vaessen (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 0 p.