Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team finished seventh in the GP of Lombardy, eleventh round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship, at Ottobiano in northern Italy.
Having won the last two GPs in France and Russia the Belgian arrived full of confidence at the sandy track on the northern basin of Italy, but he never quite achieved his expectations as temperatures soared about 40 degrees with high humidity. A crash during the qualification race on Saturday got the racing activity off to an unfortunate start although Clement recovered to twelfth place by the finish, a gate choice which enabled him to still make good starts in both GP motos. He started the first moto in fourth position but found it difficult to maintain his usual consistent rhythm and eventually finished eighth, frustratingly losing the final place on the very last lap. Again starting fourth in race two he again failed to find a good rhythm and eventually took the chequered flag in seventh position. Clement is now third in the series standings, just three points shy of second.
Teammate Jordi Tixier returned to action after sitting out the Russian GP two weeks previously and immediately showed good speed to qualify tenth and the Frenchman again impressed as he moved forward to finish eleventh after inevitably needing time to find his race rhythm during the early laps of the race. Race two followed a similar pattern as he advanced from twelfth to seventh during the middle of the race before being forced to retire after a big crash.
Tommy Searle of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki attended the GP as a spectator; he injured his left hand when he struck a trackside post two weeks previously but expects to be given clearance to ride again next week and can hopefully return to GP action after the summer break.
Clément Desalle: “It was a tough weekend with such high temperatures. In the first race I had a good start but in the first few corners I lost several positions. I was fourth and tried to keep my rhythm but it was tough and I eventually finished eighth; I was disappointed to lose one position on the very last lap. I know how I train in the week and every time I try to analyse how it’s going, but the opponents are strong in the MXGP class. My second start was also good; I was fourth or fifth and again I tried to keep my rhythm to finish seventh. I can’t say that I’m happy with the results but I am glad to go back home in one piece as yesterday I had a big crash in the qualifying race. I learnt a few things this weekend that will help me to prepare even better for future hot events; it’s always important to learn from the experience of every situation.”
Jordi Tixier: “It was a positive comeback, even if the final result is not what I was expecting. On Saturday I qualified in tenth which was not so bad as I couldn’t train so much in the sand before coming here due to my injury. My first moto was also not so bad; I was just missing some speed and rhythm during the first part of the race. In the second race I had a better feeling and was able to improve my rhythm in the last fifteen minutes where I posted my best laps. I could pass some good riders to come back to seventh, but then I had a big crash and had to retire. I want to keep the positive points; I have a good speed when I ride smoothly, and we must continue to work like that. Everyone know that my body doesn’t like high temperatures, but since last year we find some solutions to improve the situation.”
Tommy Searle: “I had already booked my flight to come here before my latest injury so I thought I would come and see everyone in the team and support them. It’s two weeks now since I injured my hand and the doctor said that I should be back on the bike within four weeks without an operation. I go back for a check-up on Thursday and can expect to be back riding one week after that so hopefully I can return to racing at the Czech GP after the summer break.”