Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 riders Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos grabbed second and third positions overall on their RM-Z450s at an overcast Beto Carrero for round seven of 17 in the FIM Motocross World Championship in front of 45,000 spectators.
Cloudy, humid and rainy conditions affected the meeting at the impressive facility north of Florianopolis. Showers throughout the night and also light downpours during race day kept the red terrain slick and clumpy. The layout itself was a tight and twisty combination of jumps, waves and off-cambers where overtaking needed a considered move.
Desalle began the Grand Prix in good form and rode to a fast and easy second place on Saturday for the second choice of slots in the gate for the first MX1 moto. The last running of the Superfinal format for the season saw the Belgian take to the line according to his championship position, so that meant one rank lower and third spot.
The opening moto of the day saw Desalle – celebrating his 24th Birthday – chasing Max Nagl for second position. He was a constant threat behind the German and attacked hard in the final laps but was unable to relegate his rival and secured third place, although was not so content with his rhythm across the Brazilian surface. Desalle again got away positively in the Superfinal and endured a relatively lonely ride to third once more. His combined points total gave him the runner-up ranking for the Grand Prix behind Antonio Cairoli and ensured his fifth spray of champagne this season.
Strijbos maintained his positive run of results in Brazil: The Belgian took a modest and solitary sixth place in the first moto but his fiery start into the lead of the Superfinal was electric stuff. He fronted 16 of the 19 laps ahead of the best 20 MX1 and MX2 riders in the world and was just edged out from victory by Cairoli in the closing stages. His second position was still enough to ensure his second podium in Brazil (the first in 2012) and first in yellow since 2007.
Both riders will now head to the United States to contest the second and third races of the Lucas Oil Pro MX Championship at Thunder Valley at Lakewood, Colorado; and then Blountville in Tennessee the following Saturday before flying back to Europe.
The next Grand Prix appointment for the team will be in Ernee, France on June 8th-9th.
“After the big crash in Portugal I couldn’t really train like I wanted in the week and I could feel it this weekend. It is really positive to get up here on the podium because my feeling was not that perfect on the track, especially in the second moto where the weather and conditions seemed to get to me a little bit. I had a good battle with Max in the first moto and sometimes it was a bit frustrating. I had a small problem with my goggles and lost a second-and-a-half at one point but was able to fight back. We were together the whole race. I felt that the track was short for a 450. It was not that tricky because the speed wasn’t so high but there were a lot of jumps and waves and other stuff. The ground was good and I could control the power of the bike with plenty of traction so that was a positive thing. I think the track would be better if there were some simpler sections. We go to America now and this will be a different kind of training and hopefully a good experience.”
“I felt really good out there, especially in the second moto! We had a good weekend in terms of getting the set-up right and we made the right choice with my rear shock and then made another change for the second moto. I enjoyed that holeshot and I pushed really hard in the beginning because I knew I would need a gap over Tony when I saw he was in second place. Later on he came closer and closer and I got a bit tired, Tony passed me in a corner and I couldn’t really follow him and he made the gap quickly with just two laps to go. In the end I’m really happy to be on the podium again and to take the first one of the season. We worked really hard in the winter and I hope there will be more trophies ahead!”