The Grand Prix of Spain at the 20,000 spectator-flanked Talavera de la Reina circuit saw Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle recover from a second moto crash to finish fourth in the premier class classification.
Team-mate Kevin Strijbos climbed back on the works RM-Z450 for the first time since the second round of the FIM Motocross World Championship for what was the sixth appointment of 18 on the 2015 schedule and the Belgian secured eighth overall.
Spanish sunshine was in abundance at the compact and hilly location south of Madrid but the Grand Prix was no vacation for the Belgian crew as the rutty hard-pack was narrow, winding and tight. There were precious few overtaking spots and this meant a hefty percentage of the motos were decided out of the start gate and around the opening turns.
Desalle rolled gently into second position on the start line after his cool ride on Saturday and Strijbos was happy to not be feeling any adverse effects after recent surgery on his right wrist and took up the ninth slot. In the first moto (thirty minutes and two laps duration) Desalle rocketed into second place behind Max Nagl. He then spent practically the entire race trying to close to the rear wheel of the German but could not shadow the Qatar and Argentine GP winner close enough to be able to move through. Strijbos was in the midst of a busy tussle on the periphery of the top-10 and was content with eighth.
The second moto was eventful: Strijbos plugged away as hard as he could in the heat and understandably tired as the laps clicked down. The veteran was still able to grab 11th and total 23 points for the weekend. Desalle had taken up residence in second place on the first lap but was unseated on the finish line jump by a kicker that sent ‘#25’ over the bars. Lucky not to be injured, Desalle lost five positions but was able to retrieve the bike – that had suffered some damage in the spill – and ride to fifth. His 38 points in total saw him miss a sixth podium finish in a row by just two points.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff set some excellent speed during practice on Saturday but crashed out of the Qualification Heat in the afternoon and needed some treatment on a cracked bone in his left thumb. The Dutchman attempted warm-up in pain and discomfort on Sunday morning and felt able to tackle the motos. Coldenhoff circulated to 19th for two points at the first time of asking and then took some more effective painkillers for the second moto. The ‘#259’ was then able to push through to 15th and will use the free weekend before the next GP to heal the injury.
A glance at the MXGP FIM World Championship standings shows that Desalle now has 247 points and is second; 12 behind leader Nagl. Strijbos has ‘reactivated his account’ after missing three meetings to rest in 13th with a third of the calendar now in the books. Coldenhoff is 11th.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP next head to the UK and the sweeping Matterley Basin circuit near Winchester for the British Grand Prix and round seven in two weeks’ time.
“The first moto was good and my starts were not holeshots but in the top three. I was actually running the same speed as Max but the track was very hard for passing. Later, I got a kicker on the take-off and went over the front. I almost saved it. I bent the handlebar. I restarted to finish fifth but it was very hard physically. It was still two top-five results today…but I want to win! We will keep working and see next time.”
“The first race was not that bad. I was a bit hesitant in the starts but I worked my way up to eighth in the first moto. Honestly I was not that happy with my riding and was not finding the good lines. I was too slow and getting tired. I got a good jump out of the gate in the second moto but again seemed to start braking half way down the start straight! I didn't want to crash, I guess. It was difficult and I lacked power. The wrist was good and fine and no problems. Hopefully it will still be OK on Monday and start to build-up with some real training.”
“I am happy in a way to get through the motos. Yesterday I felt great here until the crash and I hurt myself. The pain was too much in the first moto and the people here did all they could to help with the taping and it was a big assist but…I still couldn’t really hold the bike. I took some more painkillers for the second moto and that was an improvement even if my start was not great. I couldn't ride like I wanted but I think 19-15 is solid when you saw what happened yesterday. We have one weekend off and normally I would do an event in Belgium but I will sit it out and have some X-Rays tomorrow. I won’t be on the bike this week and we’ll see how it goes. I hope it will be better for Britain.”
MXGP Moto1: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), 35:12.010; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +0:04.430; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:22.570; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:31.852; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:34.525; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:49.887; 7. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:54.543; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +0:58.608; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:00.581; 10. Steven Frossard (FRA, KTM), +1:04.644; 19. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +1:41.937.
MXGP Moto2: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 35:46.317; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:07.304; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:13.313; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:19.515; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +0:21.618; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:24.478; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:45.093; 8. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:55.322; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Honda), +0:59.077; 10. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:04.925; 11. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +1:09.518; 15. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +1:19.620.
MXGP Overall Result: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 45 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 45 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 40 p.; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 38 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 33 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 30 p.; 7. Tyla Rattray (RSA, KAW), 27 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 23 p.; 9. Xavier Boog (FRA, KAW), 20 p.; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, HON), 17 p.; 19. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 8 p.
MXGP World Championship Standings (after 6 of 18 rounds): 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 259 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 247 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 229 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 208 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 196 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 171 p.; 7. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 124 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 114 p.; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 104 p.; 10. Tyla Rattray (RSA, KAW), 95 p.; 11. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 94 p.; 12. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 84 p.; 13. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 78 p.