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Under the Radar: Maxime Desprey

Strangely, Maxime Desprey does not receive as much attention as some of his countrymen, despite the fact that he is the latest French rider to burst onto the scene. Admittedly he has not been up front too much thus far this year, but he does have very little experience on his side. Unfortunately, his breakthrough ride at Bastogne was overshadowed by the success of his teammate – very few people acknowledged Maxime and the ride that he put in.

Surprisingly, Maxime Desprey is twenty years old already, which leaves him with three more years in the MX2 class. I expected him to be much younger, seeing as he only just moved out of the EMX2 series at the conclusion of last year. Maybe he should have moved up earlier? It was surprising when the Monster Energy Yamaha squad signed Maxime, as well, as he didn’t set the world alight in the years previous to this. Perhaps this is why Desprey doesn’t receive too much attention? The Frenchman hasn’t done much to prove that he will be on top of the podium in the near future. However, he did show a flash of potential at Bastogne.

Interestingly, Maxime Desprey has had some great rides in the qualifying heats this year. It is slightly strange – but his greatest moments have come in the qualifiers. Perhaps it is because there is less pressure in those races? Maybe it is the fact that those heats are shorter? I think that his fitness is not where it needs to be; he seems to drop back after the halfway point. So the qualifying heats on the Saturday would suit him better it seems. Maxime finished second in the qualifying race at Ernée, which is certainly the highlight of his season thus far. I believe that it is weird that he cannot do that regularly – despite the fact that Desprey seemingly has the ability to finish up there. However he has proven that he can battle it out up front, which is the hardest thing to do sometimes.

At Bastogne, Maxime Desprey proved his worth in moto one, as he holeshot before leading a large number (thirteen) laps. It is not surprising that he got a great start, as the Frenchman is one of the lightest guys out there. But the fact that he managed to lead for a majority of laps shocked me. I presumed that he would get passed quickly. But, Desprey kept delaying what I (and most others) believed to be inevitable. Shockingly, he actually pulled away from Ferris a little bit at one point! It got to a point where I started to think that he could win the thing!

Eventually Maxime gave up the lead, as Ferris put on a mid-race charge, and disposed of him relatively easily. Once Desprey lost the lead, things started happening quickly for him; he fell to fourth within three laps. I think that the Frenchman hit the wall at this point, as he started making very visible mistakes and missing his lines. In his lap times this is evident, as he never recovered after he lost the lead – he never regained that pace. Amazingly, prior to moto one at Bastogne, Maxime had just one top ten moto finish (a tenth at Loket), so a fourth was just incredible for him, and certainly unexpected.

In the second moto, Maxime Desprey finished in eleventh – he hovered around this position for much of the race. Interestingly, Maxime was as high as ninth before dropping back at the end, which could indicate that his fitness is on point; all of the factors point towards this. I’m actually surprised that he did not show as much speed in moto two; it proves how important the start is out there. At the end of the day, seventh overall was not a true representation of how much potential Maxime showcased. I’m not sure where he is going to end up next year; he could have the chance to stay with the Monster Energy Yamaha team. However, I believe that he could be the victim of silly season, and end up on a lower budget squad.

Words by Lewis Phillips

Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

MX Vice Editor || 25

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