Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team
Clement Desalle started his second season with the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team with a stunning podium result at the opening round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship in Qatar.
He had qualified quietly the previous day but his Kawasaki KX450-SR launched the Belgian to an immediate third place in a tightly-bunched lead group as the front four broke clear of the chasing pack. The leaders set a strong pace throughout and Clement was the first one to make a move as he stormed forward to secure second on lap fourteen of eighteen and soon make the placing secure. He again moved into the first four with some thrilling passes on the opening lap, but overtaking is notoriously difficult on the man-made raceway adjacent to the Losail road racing facility and, secure in the knowledge that his overall podium was safe, Clement had to settle for fourth in the moto as the rider ahead defended furiously.
Much had also been expected of KRT teammate Jordi Tixier, but the Frenchman suffered from poor starts in both motos and eventually had to settle for eighth overall from two ninth placed motos after chasing through from eleventh place on the opening lap each time.
Both Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team riders are now placed strongly to mount a challenge for the MXGP world title chase which continues next weekend in the sweltering tropical heat of Indonesia.
Clement Desalle: “It’s good to start the season with a podium. Yesterday I was not so happy but today was much better. I came here with a good feeling on the bike after the pre-season races, and it was good to confirm this at the first GP. The feeling with the track was better today than yesterday; for sure it’s much easier when you start in front. I didn’t get the best starts, but I was in the top five each time. Here it’s very difficult to make the difference; there was one main line and it was very difficult to pass as everyone was taking the same ruts in the corners; in the second moto I was faster than Febvre, but never found a place to pass him.”
Jordi Tixier: “I didn’t really have the weekend that I was expecting! I had good speed in the free practice session, but then in the timed practice period some riders crashed and they disqualified me because of a yellow flag. I came back through to tenth in the qualifying race, but today I started twice around twelfth place and we all know that here in Losail it’s really difficult to pass. I think that I had the speed to do better than eighth overall with two ninth positions. We’ll keep positive and stay focused on Indonesia.”