Clement Desalle takes his first win of the year in Portugal

Clement Desalle continued his impressive run at Agueda by acing the MX1 Grand Prix of Portugal for the third year in a row on the RM-Z450 and celebrated Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1′s first triumph in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship.

In an intensely competitive premier class this season, Desalle captured first and third positions today to become the fourth different winner in seven events.

Once more, the FIM series was hit by inclement weather and rainfall throughout Saturday afternoon and evening that created a muddy and slick surface for the first motos of race day. Changeable skies swapped sunny spells for showers throughout the Sunday but the red soil was rough, technical and physical.

Desalle fronted the Qualification Heat yesterday but his bid for a first Pole Position of the season was thwarted in the final moments by Antonio Cairoli. His second pick in the gate was still a decent slot and he excelled with a faultless run to his first victory of the year in the first 35 minute and 2 lap moto. The Belgian faced pressure from Christophe Pourcel for virtually the entire distance but didn’t put a wheel out of place to claim his first ’25′ points since the Grand Prix of Czech Republic last August.

In the second race Desalle circulated as part of an entertaining and very fast four-way fight for the lead with Cairoli, Pourcel and Gautier Paulin. The quartet swapped positions and ran close for over half the moto until several small slips saw the Suzuki man lose the tow of the front two and consolidate a safe third place; which was enough to toast success.

Tanel Leok posted a top-10 finish with ninth overall. The Estonian is still on the path to full race form and fitness and missed a little of the ‘killer instinct’ today with his overtaking. With the nature of the track limiting options at the start, Leok spent the day searching for the best route through the field and his efforts were not helped in the first moto when a pile-up on the third corner forced ‘#4′ to a halt. He recorded 13-8 for the day.

Desalle now sits second in the MX1 standings, 37 points away from leader Cairoli and three points ahead of Gautier Paulin. Leok is eight positions further back.

After travelling from France to Portugal, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 now drives to Bastogne for the first time and its home Grand Prix next weekend. The spotlight will be firmly on Desalle as one of the local riders from the region and ‘#25′ has been a focal point of the event’s publicity drive.

Clement Desalle:

“Finally I win a GP! And also the first moto. It is always positive to win and it’s good but I’m a little bit disappointed by the second part of the second moto because I can do better. I lost a lot of energy at the beginning of the race because I had a bad start and had to push a lot to come back to the front. When Paulin and Antonio came back at me later on I made a big mistake and it reminded me that I had to be careful; and to stay on two wheels was the most important thing.

“The track was drier in the second moto and we had more possibilities to pass. It’s my third win here now and I like Portugal and Agueda. It will be good to ride at home now and great to come back to Wallonie after Namur was the last time. I will do my best and I hope we have good weather. It was a bad moment for my family last week because we lost my Grandfather and I was very close to him. Even now I cannot believe it. It was difficult. Sometimes during the weekend I was thinking of him because he was a positive person and always liked to watch me on the TV.”

Tanel Leok:

“Not so bad. I’m happy with the riding and speed. In the first race there was a crash on the third corner and I was stuck there. I couldn’t get out; my bike was jammed there. I got back to 13th and I wasn’t happy because I could not pass like I really wanted to. In the second race I had a good start but touched together with Kevin Strijbos on the straight and also messed up the hill after the first turn. I recovered some ground on the next turn and was around 12th or 13th. I was part of the second group and was close with Bobryshev. I need to get sharper with my overtaking and then everything will be OK.” 

MX1 Moto1: 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 40:04.024; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:06.155; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:16.903; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:23.550; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:41.323; 6. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Honda), +0:43.183; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:45.298; 8. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:13.177; 9. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), +1:16.143; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:16.869. 13. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +1:34.011.

MX1 Moto2: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 39:04.520; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:00.484; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:25.785; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:29.957; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:31.550; 6. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:33.435; 7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:38.248; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:43.679; 9. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:48.689; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:50.250.

MX1 Overall Result: 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 45 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 43 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 40 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 32 p.; 6. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 24 p.; 7. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 22 p.; 8. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Honda), 22 p.; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 21 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 21 p.

MX1 World Championship Standings (after 7 of 16 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 295 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 258 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 255 p.; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 254 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 211 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 190 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 185 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 171 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 156 p.; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 142 p.

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