Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team swept to a moto win and his first GP podium of 2020 in the sixteenth round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Pietramurata.
The thirty-one-year old proved he is still as enthusiastic and gritty as ever with two outstanding rides at the spectacular track in the Trentino region of northern Italy just one week before he will call an end to his amazing career. The inside gate into the rapid uphill first turn at the hillside track in the shadow of the Dolomites is rarely favoured by leading riders as the tight inside line demands perfect throttle control but the stylish Desalle is a master of this technical aspect and was able to avoid the regular chaos in the centre and outside of the turn to emerge seventh in race one. Maintaining his lap times to the chequered flag in the high-speed leaderboard train he executed an immaculate outside pass for sixth six laps from the end of the race. Two hours later came the highlight of his season, which had been interrupted during the summer by injury, as he emerged third from the first two corners and immediately put down the hammer to take the lead halfway round the opening lap ! Tackling every obstacle with the immaculate style and energy which has been a trademark of his fifteen-year MXGP career the Belgian, his lap times fluctuating only by fractions of a second throughout the thirty-five minute race and his fastest lap half-a-second faster than any other, controlled the race from the front to record his first GP moto win since 2018 and take his first GP podium of the year with third overall. He has now advanced to seventh in the championship standings.
Clement Desalle: “It’s a really nice moment. I have continued to believe in myself and back at the truck after the first moto I even said to my team that I felt I could be fourth or fifth; mathematically even perhaps the podium was possible. That second moto will stay in my memory for a long time. I got a good start in third; I could pass Toni in a corner and then Jeremy made a mistake and I was leading. It’s a feeling I didn’t have for a long time; it was so nice and I appreciate it. I took it lap-by-lap. In the beginning I was making some mistakes in one sector; I didn’t have a good line there at first but I found a better one. After that I was really happy with my riding; I found a good rhythm and stayed focused. Toni came back at me some laps but I went again and with a few laps to go I realised that perhaps I could do it to the end. I gave what I had and I did it ! I’m super happy; such a nice feeling. I will take the next two GPs race-by-race but for sure I know what I can do and I would like another podium and another race win. “
KRT teammate Romain Febvre faced a difficult day after crashing already on the entry to the first turn in the opening moto when he touched with another rider; run over by the following pack and losing twenty seconds to the pack the Frenchman displayed great determination to pull himself back to fifteenth, with the top-ten in his sights, within eight minutes, only to slide off as he accelerated on the polished exit from a tight turn when he momentarily lost clear vision in the roost of the rider ahead of him. Rejoining the race twenty-first he once more charged through the field to sixteenth but fell again and had to mount his third recovery of the race to finish fourteenth. Ninth on the opening lap of a hectic race two he made two decisive passes in the first three laps but then faced a long chase before taking over his eventual sixth place five laps from the chequered flag. Ninth overall in the GP he has advanced to fourth in the world championship standings as the series heads to the two final rounds of the series at the same venue on Wednesday and Sunday next weekend.
Romain Febvre: “It was not a good GP for me; the worst of the season in fact. At the first start I collided with another rider and someone hit my back; it’s still really painful after the event. I crashed two other times during the race; not a good one. At the start of the second race the rider next to me anticipated the start and that disturbed my concentration; I missed a good start but fortunately I rode a very good first lap to finish the race sixth. Now the goal is to recover from the crashes; I’m bruised and I’ve only got two days to recover.”