Twenty-nine year old Desalle clinched third place in the final series rankings with two more solid rides at Imola in northern Italy to secure a safe third on the day; it was his ninth podium finish of the twenty race season, during which he was the only rider to defeat both the defending and newly-crowned world champions. Clement gated well in both GP motos and, with the larger picture in mind, put in two sensible no-risk rides on a slippery surface to take third place in each race, thus cementing his hold on third in the final standings. His forty-point haul also ensured that Kawasaki ended the series as the highest-placed Japanese manufacturer in the series.
Clement Desalle: « It was a good season. I was consistent and avoided any injury, in contrast to other recent seasons which I was unable to finish. One GP win; for sure I would have liked more but that’s not easy with Herlings and Cairoli around, but I won’t give up and will continue to work hard with the team and the new bike to bring Kawasaki even more success. I’m sure the new bike will have great potential, and I’m really happy to work with this team; it’s important for me to be happy doing what I do, and with the KRT boys we’ve a great relationship from the mechanics to the boss and the manager. I’m happy with the season; nine podiums, no injuries and a medal placing in the final standings are a good result and I’m sure we can do even better as we know each other really well. I have a great feeling on the bike and every year e make little adjustments to be even better so I’m confident for the future. This weekend was different than the other races; I wanted the series podium so much that I rode safe and to end the season with a podium is great. »
Desalle’s KRT teammate Julien Lieber also excelled at Imola to claim fourth overall in the GP. The twenty-four year old also enjoyed a series of impressive starts throughout the weekend, advancing strongly from sixth to take the checkered flag in fifth and fourth. He ended his rookie season in the premier MXGP world series in eleventh place despite missing to mid-season rounds through injury.
Julien Lieber: « It was a great weekend; my best one for a long time! I had a good rhythm all weekend long and today I could gain many places through the first two turns and then had to battle with Simpson in both races to finish fifth. I finish my first MXGP season with a fourth place overall; it’s a great way to end the season! I want to thanks the team. They have always been behind me; we had some ups and downs with injury but they always worked hard. I can’t wait to test the new bike; the motivation is there after such a good result.”
After an impressive qualification Alessandro Lupino pulled a fantastic holeshot in the opening GP moto on his Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki but was unfortunately involved in a collision with another rider during the early stages of the race and had to withdraw from the second race. Tommy Searle of Bike It DRT Kawasaki was another rider to suffer from contact with rivals during the hectic early laps but he persevered to finish twelfth and sixteenth.