Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team moved significantly closer to the top three in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship series standings after finishing fourth in France.
Initially ninth in the opening moto, the Belgian moved quickly forward to seventh and executed an exciting outside pass on Alessandro Lupino for sixth after fifteen minutes. Advancing to fifth five minutes later, he set his sights on fourth and with a stunning move lined up through three corners took over the placing in style on the penultimate lap only to make a mistake shortly afterward and be pushed back again to sixth. Determined to make amends in race two Clement rode a tremendous opening lap to advance from sixth to third and was all over the front two for several laps as all of the leaders set a tremendous pace. His efforts to find a way past inevitably opened up the possibility for an assault from behind and finally he surrendered a place to the eventual winner to come home a solid fourth in both moto and the GP overall. Gaining twelve points on the third-placed rider in the series, he now trails by just ten points headed for the Russian GP, an event in which he was victorious last year.
Clement Desalle: “I was a little bit disappointed with the first race; I had moved into fourth position when I made a small mistake in a fast corner; in fact I hit my leg and my knee a few corners before and I made the mistake because I just wasn’t focused enough. I started the second moto with a painful thumb after a stone hit it during the first race, but I got a good start and was third during the first part of the race until Gajser passed me. But fourth was a decent result, even if I just missed the podium for the third weekend in a row! I hope I can recover from my knee this week and be back on the box very soon.”
Julien Lieber, matching his KRT teammate’s lap times, was chasing Desalle up the leaderboard in race one until a fall mid-moto pushed him back to ninth. Tenth out of turn one in race two, the stylish young Belgian advanced to eighth by the end of lap two and gained two further places by the close to finish sixth. He was rewarded for his efforts with sixth overall to move into tenth in the series standings, just three points shy of ninth and only twenty-one away from seventh.
Julien Lieber: “It was a much better day after the crash behind Paulin yesterday. My neck was sore this morning as I hit the ground with my head pretty hard and today I had pain all day long; it was not an easy day but I never give up and after the first moto I concentrated on my recuperation. I didn’t have a good gate pick after the crash yesterday but the second start was decent in the top ten; I passed a few guys quickly and rode the entire race behind Paulin. Sixth overall in the GP is not so bad, but I know that without the crash yesterday it would have been even better.”
Alessandro Lupino put in a typically workmanlike ride on his Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki to finish eighth in the first moto after his usual top six start but a troubled opening lap in race two left him initially twenty-ninth; after a solid ride he had advanced to sixteenth at the finish to narrowly miss the top ten overall by just three points. Seventeenth in race one from an initial twenty-fifth teammate Benoit Paturel raced just outside the top ten throughout race two to finish twelfth.
BOS Factory’s Tommy Searle faced a difficult task from his outside gate but put in two determined rides to advance from nineteenth to fourteenth in race one and go one better in race two after starting twenty-third. Teammate Evgeny Bobryshev, racing for the first time this year, showed good pace early on in each moto to run inside the top twenty but the lack of bike time inevitably took its toll and he had to pull out of each moto at half distance.
Evgeny Bobryshev: “I’ve only been out on a bike four times since I aggravated my wrist injury in March so I’m at best 80% fit. I need to catch up with the rest but I hope to be feeling much stronger for my home GP in Russia in two weeks.”