The FIM Motocross World Championship marches on with its third consecutive round at Hyvinkää this weekend when the Grand Prix of Finland will represent the 12th fixture of 17 on the 2013 schedule and also signify the series’ return to the country for the first time since 2000.
Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos will take their factory RM-Z450s – motorcycles that have been on the podium nine times from the 11 races so far – to the sandy and flat circuit 60km north of Helsinki for what will be a fresh challenge on a previously unseen track for the GP stars. Finland has a rich motocross history and Hyvinkää has also appeared in the Grand Prix record books although the current site is different to that which hosted the 1991 125cc event.
A former GP winner in Finland is Team Principal Sylvain Geboers and the Belgian offered his views on the season to-date with Desalle holding third position in the MX1 standings and Strijbos in fifth place. “To have both riders in the top five of the MX1 class is not too bad but we have only won one race this year so far and we expected more,” he admitted. “At our level we aim for the top; this is normal. I’m happy with the performance of the RM-Z450s and the work we have done. Unfortunately we had an electrical problem in Italy last month and this is something that is a real shame for the rider [Desalle] but this is a mechanical sport and I think it says a lot for Suzuki’s technology that this was the first failure we have had in a race for several years. As usual the bikes have been competitive and we can have no complaint about that.”
Geboers has directed a busy operation that has seen Strijbos competing on home turf and both riders contest two rounds of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship in addition to the 11 Grands Prix. Visits to Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, UK and Holland remain after the team’s Finnish adventure this weekend as well as the 2013 Motocross of Nations at Teutschenthal in Germany where either Desalle or Strijbos – perhaps both – could fill roles in the three-man squad that will fly the flag for Belgium.
“From a positive side it was a good opportunity to support the sponsor in the U.S. and also work with the Rockstar Suzuki team over there,” Geboers reflected. “I feel that the riders did well with different equipment and they stayed healthy. Of course it means that the schedule has been busy for them with quite a lot of travelling but overall it was a beneficial experience.”
The weather forecast for the weekend predicts warm but bright and cloudy conditions.
MX1 World Championship standings (after 11 of 17 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 514 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 432 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 414 p.; 4. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 406 p.; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 327 p.; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 318 p.; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 272 p.; 8. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), 271 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, KTM), 203 p.; 10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, KTM), 186 p.