Clément Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team consolidated his third place in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship with his seventh podium of the series in the Bulgarian GP.
The old-school track at Sevlievo, baked hard by temperatures in the mid-thirties, demanded respect and skilled riding so the elegant Belgian was well-placed to continue his impressive season. He started third in the first moto and fourth in the second race and displayed the concentration to maintain these positions to the checkered flag each time. The combined results earned him third position overall in the GP and ensured that he retains a comfortable thirty-two point advantage over his closest rival for third in the championship as the series heads into the final three rounds.
Clément Desalle: “It’s good to be consistent with another podium. I’m a little disappointed with a few mistakes which I made, but I still got the podium. Now it’s important to stay consistent through the last three GPs to maintain my third place in the championship standings.”
His KRT teammate Julien Lieber showed a return to the impressive speed he displayed earlier in the season before injuries intervened. He quickly made several passes on the opening lap of the first moto to advance to seventh place and maintained the pace of the top six to the checkered flag. The Belgian looked set to repeat this form in race two but a freak incident as his foot caught in the frame and prevented him from applying the rear brake saw him crash off the track heavily but fortunately without injury.
Julien Lieber: “I saw already yesterday that I am getting back to the speed I had before my injuries and I made some good passes in the first race to finish seventh. I also had the same speed as the guys ahead of me, but it wasn’t easy to pass here. Gajser hit me in the first turn of race two and then I had a big crash at the back of the track. I caught my foot in the frame; I couldn’t brake and went over the bank into the fence. I’m a little frustrated not to have got the result I deserved, but I will take the positive points of my riding to Turkey next week.”
Tommy Searle of Bike It DRT Kawasaki and Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki each bounced back from misfortune during qualification to post good scores in each GP moto. The Englishman secured tenth in the GP from thirteenth and eighth place motos, whilst the Italian defied a knee injury to finish one further back from twelfth in each race.
Tommy Searle: “It was just one of those things yesterday. They had to water the track and some places were really slippery; I crashed in a rut at the bottom of a hill. The throttle grip and my gloves were covered in mud and it was about the third lap before my hand was not slipping on the grip anymore. Today I came from last to thirteenth in the first GP moto before a rock hit my goggles and the lens popped out so I couldn’t risk getting too close to anyone after that. I’m really happy with eighth in the second race; I got a better start this time and was behind Paulin. I’ve made the mistake too many times this year of slipping into his rhythm and other guys have passed me but I made a quick pass on him this time.”
Alessandro Lupino: “I had great expectations for this weekend and eighth place in the timed practice confirmed that I had good speed. It all went wrong on the first lap of the qualifying race when I passed Seewer for sixth and I twisted my knee on a slippery patch. I immediately felt pain in my right knee; I thought I could handle it at first, but after one more lap I was in agony and had to pull into the pits. Today was all about riding sensibly to protect my knee. I was in pain but I gritted my teeth and was rewarded with twelfth in each race.”