Rockstar Suzuki’s Belgian star Clement Desalle made a surprise visit to Lommel for some last minute bike set up for this weekends GP of Lierop. Desalle didn’t spend to long bashing in the laps around quite possibly the toughest circuit in the world.
The final busy stretch of the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship will begin this weekend with Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 facing the Grand Prix of Benelux across the flat and sandy layout of Lierop in the Netherlands.
Round 14 of 16 in the series will open a hectic month with further events in Italy and Germany preceding the season-closing Motocross of Nations at Lommel in Belgium on September 30th at which both factory Suzuki riders are expected to represent their countries.
First up is a welcome return to the bumps and churning terrain of Lierop deep in southern Holland close to the German and Belgian borders; meaning an event relatively near to the team’s Lommel-based HQ after it was absent from the calendar in 2011. Clement Desalle will travel to the popular and demanding venue less than 100% fit due to a painful right hand the Belgian injured at the British Grand Prix less than two weeks ago. Although scans revealed that the current world number two has not broken anything he has been unable to ride satisfactorily on the RM-Z450 and comes into the Grand Prix lacking optimal preparation. Desalle is however optimistic of being able to reach the best possible physical shape in the remaining days before the GP kicks-off and is certainly owed some good fortune at Lierop after a heavy crash in 2010 that left the MX1 title contender needing a swift visit to the dentist.
“My hand is not so good but I am having physio all the time and we still have a few days before the grand prix,” he said. “It has not been an easy lately with family issues and now this little problem that has stopped me riding since Matterley Basin. I only hope that I can find a good feeling at Lierop and my hand wont be too much trouble when I am on the bike. I’m in need of some good luck there. It is a rough circuit and can be very physically demanding.”
Lierop is a promising track for the speed and sand capabilities of Tanel Leok. The Estonian was unfortunate not to convert his excellent practice and qualification speed into overall results in the UK but – like Desalle – is hopeful a turnaround can take place in Holland. In 2009 Leok finished fourth in MX1 and in 2010 was sixth.
“Everything is OK and I’m looking forward to Lierop,” he said. “The sand isn’t so deep there but it cuts up and get can very rough. For me the story will be about trying to get that speed and pace from Saturday into Sunday. I feel I have been nearing the potential for top five and podium results and really want to make this happen.”
Lierop’s shifting surface will provide some valuable ‘warm-up’ race mileage for Lommel before the series visits two hard-pack and undulating sites in the forms of Faenza and Teutschenthal. The weather forecast for the second GP to take place within Dutch borders predicts bright but cloudy skies and decent temperatures.
MX1 World Championship Standings (after 13 of 16 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 542 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 487 p.; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 452 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 440 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 404 p.; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 342 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 336 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 300 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 295 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 242 p.