The 11th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will be an interesting one for Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 with only the second Grand Prix of Russia set to take place at Semigorje this weekend.
The team – packing the factory RM-Z450s – is currently en-route from Latvia to the circuit some 500km north-east of Moscow for the eastern stint of the calendar that will involve a trip to the Czech Republic in two weeks time.
Clement Desalle has had a few days to recover from the cold that affected his approach to the Latvian round last Sunday in which he had to relinquish the red plate as MX1 Championship leader. The Belgian showed excellent speed around a bumpy and very difficult Kegums circuit but one or two mistakes prevented him from going for a third victory this season. Now Desalle faces a fresh challenge: It will not only be his first trip to Russia but also – like the entire Grand Prix paddock – the first siting of Semigorje.
“It’s a long way to go but it should be interesting to see and a new track always puts everyone on the same level,” said Desalle, who stands just 12 points behind Antonio Cairoli at the peak of the championship. “I’m feeling a bit better after the weekend but my back is a little painful. It should be fine for the racing though and I will do my best,” he added.
Little is known about the course that lies within the grounds of a leisure complex and was submerged under several metres of snow back in February when the site entertained the 2012 FIM Snowcross World Championship. By all accounts, Semigorje is a picturesque and modern setting situated near the banks of the Volga. Online photos of the facility indicate a hard-packed sandy terrain, flat with a flowing layout and some big jumps.
Tanel Leok will attack the second race within a week after an encouraging showing in front of legions of his fans in Latvia. The Estonian managed seventh overall last Sunday and, like many, will be hoping for a weekend that will be undisturbed by varying weather conditions.
Said Leok: “It is difficult to comment much on Russia. It will be a new place to discover and for sure everyone will be keen to get a look at the track when we arrive. We made some good work on the bike in Latvia and a couple of changes we made worked for the race. We are in the right direction for speed and results, so I hope all will be OK at Semigorje.”
The weather forecast for the region predicts warm but changeable conditions.
MX1 World Championship Standings (after 10 of 16 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 392 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 380 p.; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 357 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 348 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 299 p.; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 279 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 258 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 230 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 219 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 212 p.