Clement Desalle Comes Out On Top In Italy

Author: Aaryn Minerds


Rockstar Energy Suzuki‰Ûªs Clement Desalle won the Italian MXGP at Trentino in Italy at round four of the eighteen round FIM Motocross World Championship.

It was the Belgian‰Ûªs first victory of the season in front of 25,000 European spectators hungry for their first taste of high-level motocross action in 2014.

Desalle was faultless on the toughest racing surface of the year so far and his results of second and first in the two motos on the RM-Z450 led to a convincing success; his first since the 2013 British Grand Prix.

After trips to Qatar, Thailand and Brazil, the Arco Di Trento circuit in northern Italy was the first location to see MXGP land in Europe and ‰ÛÒ for the second year in a row ‰ÛÒ the riders found a tight, windy, slippery and difficult layout.

The Italian hard-pack was unforgiving in the bumps and concrete ruts that formed through the weekend (and with European and WMX series on the support card) and the compact nature of the track, meant hectic and bustling first-laps where the starting prowess of the riders largely dictated the order of the top-five.

Desalle was able to find traction and confidence in the trying race conditions. He followed kawasaki Racings Gautier Paulin in the first moto and set-up the first result of the day with a largely unchallenged run.

The second race was tremendously exciting as mistakes by the likes of Jeremy Van Horebeek and Antonio Cairoli, not to mention a mechanical problem by Paulin, saw four riders disputing first place. It was Desalle who held firm and his first chequered flag of 2014 led to a maiden triumph of the campaign.

‰ÛÏI came here relaxed and had a good feeling on the track." Desalle stated. "The races were good and I had some decent starts. I was second throughout the first moto and it was hard to make the difference here.

"I came back on Gautier Paulin sometimes, but would make some small mistakes to lose some time; it went like that all the way through. It was easy to make a mistake on this track but I‰Ûªm really happy with how it worked out today.

"The season did not start how I expected but I was feeling better in Thailand. I don't have pain in my shoulder and feel good on the Suzuki. I don't know if I am 100% yet but I am close.‰Û
Jermey Van Horebeek made it four from four podium visits in his first year in the MXGP class - Credit: Yamaha Racing
As with Grands Prix in Qatar, Thailand and Brazil, Yamaha Factory Racings, Jermey Van Horebeek was one of the leading protagonists in the premier class and with third and second positions in the two moto format, finished second overall for the round.

Van Horebeek was fast and regular with his lap-times and might have been in contention for his first MXGP victory were it not for several errors. He briefly crashed out of third place in the first moto and had to regain two positions to again enter the top three.

In sunny conditions later in the afternoon he was part of an exciting four rider scrap for the lead. There were heart-stopping moments as he stalled the bike at one point and also survived a scare with a fallen Evgeny Bobryshev (he actually struck the Russian on the back cresting a jump).

Van Horebeek defied the adversity to keep strong and was less than a second away from moto winner Clement Desalle at the finish line.

"I am happy to be second but I made too many mistakes today." Van Horebeen admitted. "I crashed in the first moto and lost time. In the second moto I had a bad start and had to come back through the pack.

"At the end of the race I was almost on Clement's rear wheel and if it had not been for those mistakes then maybe I could have gone for it [the win]. Anyway, I?m pleased to be back on the podium and the consistency shows that Thailand was not a lucky shot.

"It feels good to be making the same results in MXGP like I did in MX2. I know I am really fit and I gave my all today. I hope to continue like this and soon win a GP because we are getting close now.?
Kevin Stijbos gave Suzuki two reasons to celebrate joining Clement Desalle on the podium - Credit: Suzuki Racing
Kevin Strijbos was optimistic for Sunday's races despite a difficult qualification race on Saturday where the veteran was searching for optimum set-up.

He was able to reach the top-five in the first moto, just without the extra-speed to make the difference and threaten the top four. Strijbos with held an attack from Tony Cairoli in the final stages and repeated the feat ahead of the World Champion in the second moto to log third position to finish on the final step of the podium for the round.

It was a vindication of the former championship runner-up‰Ûªs belief after some testing Grands Prix so far in 2014.

‰ÛÏI had two good races today despite the fact that it was far from easy; I struggled to find my rhythm and speed on this track." Stijbos commented. "I made two good starts and put my head down in both motos.

"I‰Ûªm happy I am on the podium. After the last GP we changed some stuff and I was riding a bit more; all that work has paid off.‰Û
Max Nagl just missed out on a podium finish for Honda - Credit: Honda Racing
The Grand Prix of Trentino yielded two top five finishes for Facotry Honda's Max Nagl, leaving him fourth for the round and moving him up a position in the World Championship standings.

Nagl made two strong starts with his CRF450RW, an area on which he and the team have been working hard since the Brazilian GP, and claimed fourth overall after a fourth and fifth-placed finish in the two races.

"The biggest positive from today is that we improved the bike a lot from the starts," said Nagl "I had two good starts where I was right with the first five guys so that‰Ûªs a big improvement.

"The team did a really good job with the bike, but all today I was struggling with the track, like it was not possible for me to turn. I could not put the bike flat in the turns because it always moved and slipped so I had the feeling I would crash, so I had to keep the bike upright and then you are really slow.

"I was really aggressive and pushing hard in the second race behind van Horebeek but the track was very strange and I made some mistakes and just couldn‰Ûªt make that one second extra that I needed today," he added.
Antonio Cairoli had an off day finishing 5th overall at his home race - Credit: Ray Archer
Championship leader coming into the round Antonio Cairoli, crashed in warm-up on Sunday morning, before things got even worse for the Redbull Factory KTM racers as he got off to an uncharacteristic bad start in the opening moto to be buried back at twelfth on the very technical track.

Eighteen minutes into the race he slipped past three riders in one corner to move up to seventh and then concentrated on closing down an eight second gap to the front group. He fought back to capture sixth place but then ran out of time. The race went to Cairoli‰Ûªs rival in the points, Gautier Paulin.

Cairoli was sixth out of the gate in his second race and progressively worked his way up to second. But with 14 minutes to go he had a series of near crashes on the increasingly slippery track that dropped him back to fourth. He made a valiant attempt to close on the three lead riders in the last few laps but slipped again in the final lap and had to settle for an eventual overall fifth.

‰ÛÏI did have the fastest lap in both races but I need to be more consistent,‰Û
Australia's Todd Waters once again finished inside the Top Ten overall - Credit: Enzo Tempestini
Kawasaki's Gautier Paulin after winning the opening race scored a DNF in race two, leaving him 6th overall for the round, a single point ahead of British rider Shaun Simpson in 7th.

Xavier Boog and Davide Gauarneri finished the day equal on 22 points with Boog, being awarded 8th place overall due to his better finish in the second moto.

Australia's Todd Waters finished a point further adrift in 10th overall which included a 10th place finish in the opening moto followed by a very good 7th place finish in moto 2 aboard his IceOne Red Bull Factory Husqvarna.

Round five of the World Motocross Championship heads to Bulgaria next weekend the 19th and 20th of April.
MX1 Podium - Credit: Suzuki Racing
MX1 Overall Round Results
1. Clement Desalle - 47 Pts
2. Jeremy Van Horebeek - 42 Pts
3. Kevin Strijbos - 36 Pts
4. Max Nagl - 34 Pts
5. Antonio Cairoli - 33 Pts
6. Gautier Paulin - 25 Pts
7. Shaun Simpson - 24 Pts
8. Xavier Boog - 22 Pts
9. Davide Guarneri - 22 Pts
10. Todd Waters - 21 Pts
11. Jake Nicholls - 18 Pts
12. Alessandro Lupino - 17 Pts
13. Matiss Karro - 15 Pts
14. Joel Roelants - 15 Pts
15. Evgeny Bobryshev - 14 Pts
16. David Philippaerts - 13 Pts
17. Rui Goncalves - 11 Pts
18. Milko Potisek - 9 Pts
19. Tanel Leok - 6 Pts
20. Herjan Brakke - 5 Pts
Antonio Cairoli continues to lead the points standings, 17 points ahead of Clement Desalle - Credit: Ray Archer
MX1 Championship Standings After Round 4:
1. Antonio Cairoli - 175 Pts
2. Clement Desalle - 158 Pts
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek - 154 Pts
4. Max Nagl - 144 Pts
5. Gautier Paulin - 137 Pts
6. Kevin Strijbos - 109 Pts
7. Todd Waters - 89 Pts
8. Evgeny Bobryshev - 81 Pts
9. Joel Roelants - 76 Pts
10. Shaun Simpson - 72 Pts
11. Xavier Boog - 71 Pts
12. Steven Frossard - 68 Pts
13. Davide Guarneri - 67 Pts
14. Rui Goncalves - 64 Pts
15. Jake Nicholls - 50 Pts
16. David Philippaerts - 49 Pts
17. Matiss Karro - 43 Pts
18. Tanel Leok - 36 Pts
19. Tommy Searle - 29 Pts
20. Lupino - 17 Pts

Top Image: Clement Desalle on his way to winning the Italian round of the MXGP

Credit: Suzuki Racing

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