Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle raced his works RM-Z450 across the new track and under the lights at Losail to earn second pick of positions in the start gate for the Grand Prix of Qatar tomorrow evening.
The 23-year-old Belgian was consistent and quick through the night air at the opening round of the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship.
The freshly-inaugurated layout, just outside the capital of Doha and a stone’s throw from the first turn of the MotoGP track, offered a flowing, soft and rutted course. But the heavily turned-over soil forged a single racing line in many places that made overtaking complicated.
Desalle made a decent start in the first 20 minute and two-lap heat race of the year and, although he was unable to pressurise reigning World Champion Tony Cairoli, he was able to pull clear of Evgeny Bobryshev and Ken De Dycker.
Team-mate Kevin Strijbos – making his first race appearance for the team in his third spell in factory ‘yellow’ – lacked a slight killer-instinct in the opening laps but settled down and shadowed Tommy Searle searching for a place to take seventh spot. The Belgian eventually crossed the finish line in eighth.
The first MX1 moto takes place at 20.10 Saturday evening and the Superfinal at 23.10 (local time), two hours ahead of CET.
Clement Desalle – 2nd position:
“I’m pretty happy because when I first went out on the track I didn’t enjoy it so much but I had more fun every time. My start was not so bad in the heat race and I noticed an improvement over the pre-season meetings. Overall it was a day of good adaption. I would say the lighting for the track is on the limit and it is nothing like the MotoGP track unfortunately. I think if we had the spotlights like those for the asphalt, it would be really good.”
Kevin Strijbos – 8th position:
“The track looks good and it is nice to ride but it is so difficult to make a pass stick. I had one spot where I could have passed Tommy but I wasn’t close enough. My start and riding was just OK; I need to push a bit harder in the first few laps and if I can start in the top five, then it will be a lot better. In the beginning it was really strange to race under the lights but by the second practice I was used to it. There were a few places where the bulbs were in the eye-line for the jump take-offs and that made it a bit sketchy, but overall it is something good and something new. I’m happy.