Bastogne, Belgium hosted the fifteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship on Sunday, as the riders visited the venue for the second time. Interestingly, the Belgian GP provided us with some great, unpredictable racing, which has left us with quite a few talking points! In order to determine what really went on out there, we must delve into the lap times.
Jordi Tixier vs. Christophe Charlier – MX2 Moto One:
Jordi Tixier (2nd)
Christophe Charlier (3rd)
In the first moto at Bastogne, both Christophe Charlier and Jordi Tixier were inconsistent. At different points I thought that either Jordi or Christophe could potentially get into the battle for the lead, as they seemed to have the speed required to mix it up at the front. However it never happened for them, as they were inconsistent with their lap times. It was really weird, as they were very hot and cold. It was certainly peculiar; perhaps it was because of the pressure both riders were under? With Herlings out of action, every guy in the top five presumed that it was their time to shine.
Christophe Charlier found a way around Jordi Tixier on the fifth lap, as he set a very fast 1:53 lap time. Following lap five both of the guys upped their pace; this was when they started to become a factor in the race for the lead. In fact the 1:52.816 for Charlier was his fastest time of the race; only four guys set a time in that 1:52 second range. Christophe managed to edge away a bit, soon after making the move. But, from the eighth lap onwards Jordi picked up his pace and edged closer to his countryman again, before making the move on lap eleven.
When Jordi Tixier made a move on Christophe Charlier, it was clear that he was faster. If you look at the lap times on the eleventh lap, Charlier lost quite a lot of time, and he didn’t really recover. The Monster Energy Yamaha pilot was six seconds behind on his countryman by the finish; so he clearly could not regain that pace that he previously had. Jordi actually closed in on the leader (Dean Ferris) at the finish; so he seemingly got more comfortable as the race progressed.
Antonio Cairoli vs. Clement Desalle – MX1 Moto One:
Antonio Cairoli (1st)
Clement Desalle (2nd)
Clement Desalle stalked Antonio Cairoli for the duration of the first MX1 race, as the Belgian was waiting for Cairoli to make a mistake. Desalle made a mistake of his own on the last lap, but he had closed right onto the back wheel of Toni prior to his fall. Perhaps Cairoli lost time because of backmarkers? Intriguingly their lap times did not differ as much as I predicted, as Desalle closed right onto the back wheel of the Sicilian – despite the fact that he was slightly slower than his rival on some laps. It proves just how close they already were. The 1:50 time that Cairoli set on lap fifteen was his fastest of the race, so his fastest pace was clearly faster than Desalle could go, interestingly.
Clearly, as soon as Antonio Cairoli realised that Clement Desalle had gone missing on the last lap he backed it down, as the 1:58 lap time was a result of his just cruising to a safe victory. It is interesting that despite the fall, Desalle still posted a 2:00 lap time, which indicates that he really had to push still, to secure that second spot.
Words by Lewis Phillips