The Grand Prix of Latvia at the technical circuit of Kegums will provide Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle with another opportunity to reduce the gap to Tony Cairoli at the top of the MX1 standings in the FIM Motocross World Championship as the series rapidly moves into its ninth round of 15.
The 21-year-old Belgian has accumulated six podium trophies on his RM-Z450WS – including one victory – in the eight grands prix held so far this campaign and last week in Germany finished second overall to snip three points from Cairoli’s advantage that now holds at 65, but with still 350 to be disputed in the next three months. Kegums prepares to welcome the FIM series for just the second time and after its inauguration last year as a capable and challenging Grand Prix venue. Although relatively flat, the track is sculpted from a fine, loamy soil that ripples and churns, offering a test similar to sand and a contrast to the fast and hard-pack surfaces found in the two previous meetings.
Desalle is looking forward to the weekend and a return to the site where he was so close to his first career triumph in 2009 but eventually had to settle for second overall, partially content with success in the first moto that constituted his first ever chequered flag; gained by the slenderest of margins from Cairoli. The Belgian Champion led 24 laps in the 2009 edition of the Latvian Grand Prix which was the highest tally at one event for the rider that season and the springboard for two further wins (Czech Republic and Brazil) later in the year. “This is a physical, sandy track that gets rough but there is grip everywhere,” he said. “It has its own character. The sand is not like Lommel or another place. It is loamy.”
Steve Ramon has been unlucky with injury problems in recent weeks and a right arm infection limited his capabilities at Teutschenthal. The 30 year old will discover Kegums for the first time after missing the 2009 grand prix whilst he was in the midst of recovery from a neck fracture. The sandy nature of the track bodes well for the Belgian who has always been formidable in the ‘loose stuff’. “I was injured last year and I saw the race on TV but it looks very grippy and quick,” he said. “It seems like a nice place to ride and I just wish I was in better shape. I think I will rest this week because my arm needs it. This is the second GP of three in a row and I need to get through these meetings as well as I can. I just hope this latest problem will heal quickly.”
Latvia will be swiftly followed by a trip to a pillar of the world championship, Uddevalla, for the Grand Prix of Sweden before Rockstar Teka Suzuki WMX1 can down-tools from their international commitments for three weeks in July.
After cool and cloudy conditions in 2009 the weather forecast predicts sunshine on this occasion for the upcoming weekend.
MX1 World Championship standings (after 8 of 15 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 341 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1), 276 p.; 3. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 267 p.; 4. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Yamaha), 251 p.; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 248 p.; 6. Steve Ramon (BEL, Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1), 237 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 217 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Honda), 182 p.; 9. Davide Guarneri (ITA, Honda), 165 p.; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 149 p.