Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle fought back from a mediocre start in the MX1 Qualification Heat of the first ever Thai Motocross Grand Prix today for the second round of the FIM Motocross World Championship to earn sixth place in the gate for tomorrow’s motos.
The Grand Prix practice and qualification programme was delayed due to the heavy showers that forced the organisers to swiftly react and prepare the new terrain. The effect on the mud meant a rough and boggy surface that varied in grip levels, but the high temperatures north east of Pattaya sped up the drying process.
Desalle made a decent jump from the line on his works RM-Z450 but suffered drag through the sodden earth on the uphill start straight and from that point began a race-long process of working his way through the top 10. The Belgian did not take many risks but made progress to eventually reach sixth.
Team-mate Kevin Strijbos also encountered problems with the mud and had his vision impaired through the first section of corners. The Belgian slipped off the bike after failing to spot a stone in a rut and then used the rest of the 20 minutes and two laps distance trying to catch up, eventually finishing 16th.
More rainfall is predicted for race day tomorrow.
“I didn’t have a good start in the heat race and gave myself a hard job. I hit a big mud patch on the straight and lost drive. I was then deep in traffic at the beginning. I came back to sixth and that wasn’t too bad. The track is nothing special and I think it suffers from being brand new, but there is not much anybody can do about that! The bike feels unsettled and is moving a lot. Like I always say, I want to enjoy being on the bike and today is a bit difficult to explain, but it wasn’t easy.”
“I thought the track was in good shape but the rain didn’t help and turned it into something else. I was a bit shocked in timed practice! My start in the heat was pretty good but when we hit the first corner it had been ripped too deep and my goggles became covered. I couldn’t sort out my tear-offs and it meant I struggled to see. I went down on the first lap when I touched a rock in a rut and the front washed out. I tried to push to come back but every time I went for it, something would happen, like the back end would pop out of a rut or I’d make a mistake. It was not one of my best days actually. I hope to get better tomorrow and also the track gets fixed for tomorrow.”
MX1 Qualification heat result: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 24:16.731; 2. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:10.579; 3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:22.971; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:30.426; 5. Xavier Boog (FRA, KTM), +0:36.875;6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:38.971; 7. Tanel Leok (EST, Honda), +0:39.699; 8. Rui Goncalves (POR, KTM), +0:40.277; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:43.698; 10. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:46.011. 16. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +1:13.568.