Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1′s Clement Desalle goes into this weekend’s Grand Prix of Europe at the Faenza circuit in Italy close to wrapping-up second position in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship.
The Belgian needs to score three points more than Gautier Paulin on his works RM-Z450 to make absolutely sure of his second runner-up championship finish since joining the team and factory in 2010. The Italian trek represents round 15 of 16 in the campaign and Desalle enjoys a 48-point advantage over the Frenchman with 50 points left to win after Faenza.
Desalle came through the toughest GP of the season last weekend in Lierop, Holland and now faces a complete contrast in terms of the track ahead. The winner of the Portuguese Grand Prix leaves the rippled sand and heads onto the Italian hard-pack dirt with forecasted temperatures set to hit 30 degrees over Saturday and Sunday.
Said Desalle: “The focus for me is to feel good on the bike, try to have fun; and always look ahead, not what is going on behind me with Gautier. The track is totally different from what we had in Lierop and the last time we went there, the rain turned it into a bog, so it has been a couple of years since we raced on the hard-pack. It will be the same challenge for everyone but my aim is to run at the front.
“My hand is still not so good,” he added on the injury he picked up at the British Grand Prix in the middle of last month. “I have been able to train normally this week although there hasn’t been too much time between resting after Lierop and getting packed and ready again for Italy. I know I can race ok with the hand but the main problem is through missing some strength. We’ll see what happens.”
Tanel Leok was actually the last rider to win at Faenza. The circuit hosted Grands Prix in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The first edition roasted in summer sunshine, the second saw the ’08 campaign end in dramatic last race circumstances (where Steve Ramon was just pipped to the title on his RM-Z450 by David Philippaerts) and 2009 was cancelled after one moto due to the deluge of rain that made the steep uphills impassable. It was the Estonian that day that was the most cautious and steady through the mud. Leok comes back to Faenza fresh after his first podium for Suzuki at Lierop and hunting another trophy.
Said Leok: “Even though I won there in 2009 I have to say it is not my favourite track because it is so hard and fast. Anyway, it felt good to have the podium result in Holland and my speed has been building up to these kinds of results. I want to finish the season in a good way.”
The long term forecast for the weekend predicts sunshine and hot weather.
MX1 World Championship Standings: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 592 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 516 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 468 p.; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 452 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 446 p.; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 369 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 355 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 338 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 315 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 271 p.