Round 13 of 15 in the 2010 FIM Motocross World Championship will take place this week at the new facility in the city of Campo Grande for the Grand Prix of Brazil.
With Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1 riders Clement Desalle and Steve Ramon celebrating success in the USA (AMA Nationals) and Belgium (Belgian Championship at Mol) last weekend on their works RM-Z450WS’ and holding second and fifth positions in the MX1 standings before the flight to South America, Team Principal Sylvain Geboers offers his views on the season so far and thoughts towards 2011.
Campo Grande will make its inauguration as a GP venue this coming Saturday and thus is an unknown quantity to the paddock, but the event will represent the second visit to the country in successive years and many – including the Belgian squad – will have memories of a busy and popular meeting in 2009 (in which Desalle was victorious at Canelinha).
How do you feel about the season so far?
“So far we have reached a target. Both riders are in the top five of the standings and Clement is second, where I believe he can finish the season. That is what we could have expected of him in his first year with us and that was also the plan; it would have been difficult to be Champion right from the start. Steve recovered from his injury from last year and has ridden well but lost control a few times and through the crashes he has picked up some injuries and has had to race through them.
“Regarding the motorcycles, the riders are happy with the bike and so are we. We have not found any weaknesses and any improvement we have managed between the wintertime and now have been accepted by both riders. We now face Brazil and the final races but for me so-far-so-good. I really feel that Clement has everything to become a World Champion. He makes a schedule for himself and does not want to burn himself out. He is focussed on 2011 already and will start working this year to go for the title in 2011.”
And what about development on the 2010 RM-Z450WS?
“We were pleased with the changes and they were not big steps. Don’t forget we needed to work with the two metre max sound test and that required effort to get the bike to fit the new regulation. We have worked a lot to be safe but unfortunately the whole paddock is not following the rules and the FIM is not controlling it precisely; but will be doing so in the future. The performance of the bike is still very good and that’s why the reaction of the riders has always been positive. I cannot think of anything I would improve right now, except perhaps to give the riders yet more confidence in the motorcycle and we are heading in that direction with our development.”
How do you feel about the direction of the FIM World Championship?
” We are happy with the proposal and outline for the future that have been set out, such as having the first and final race in Europe, 15 races and two overseas for 2011. It is important that we can have a programme to work towards, so we know the intention will be three overseas in 2012 and four the following year. We know in advance and we can work towards that.”
Will there be any changes to the team for 2011?
“We have been able to balance our needs with some excellent support from Teka Group and Rockstar Energy but that does not mean we suddenly have much more budget to run a third rider for example. For 2011 we have the contract for Desalle and for the second rider we have to wait until the end of August to get the confirmation of support from Suzuki which is virtually the most important piece. I think everything will be OK. We will be happy to continue with two riders for 2011 and also focus on the two riders in MX2. The main difference for us regarding 2011 is that we have a rider who is interested in the USA and wants to find out how he can perform there. It could be that at the beginning of the winter we have to go overseas to practice some Supercross and see how Clement can handle it.”
Will it be difficult to divide responsibilities between the AMA and World Championship?
“We are only talking about a few Supercross races. He doesn’t want to do the full series yet. I believe Desalle just wants to see how he can get on against the Americans. As for Ken Roczen, he is in a similar situation, pending any change in the AMA age rule, and there might be more flexibility for him to contest more races of the AMA West Coast Lites.”
The team is now a major operation with a lot of staff, increased technical expertise and areas such as hospitality and marketing taken care of. How do you feel about that?
“It is not easy but we have extra people now as part of the set-up and concentrating on specific areas. We have it under control and I’m convinced this is the way to go if we want to stay in this field and remain as a leading team with riders going for the World Championship. If we want top partners then we need to give them publicity and a degree of comfort at the race. Even if the hospitality, marketing and other responsibilities mean a load on the shoulders I am happy we are heading in this direction and we have it covered. We are not here to get rich; we are here for the sport and to do the best we can for our partners. My target has been to always get people working/racing in the best possible way; to have the best tools to do the job and get the results. Unfortunately by the actual world economical recession we can’t look too far ahead; we all need to plan carefully year by year.
MX1 World Championship standings (after 12 of 15 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 531 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1), 447 p.; 3. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 394 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 382 p.; 5. Steve Ramon (BEL, Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1), 376 p.; 6. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Yamaha), 309 p.; 7. Tanel Leok (EST, Honda), 290 p.; 8. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 276 p.; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 270 p.; 10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, Honda), 213 p.