Team Suzuki Press Office – September 7. An overcast and occasionally wet Lierop circuit in the south of the Netherlands is the setting for the Grand Prix of Benelux and the final round of the FIM Motocross World Championship and Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1′s Clement Desalle bounced his works RM-Z450 around the sandy lumps to take fourth place in the qualification Heat today.
The Belgian acclimatised to the demands of the Lierop terrain through the two practice sessions and made a decent start in the 20 minute and two-lap race. He paced himself behind Shaun Simpson and Evgeny Bobryshev for a solid fourth spot and with plenty of possibilities to chase his fourth victory in a row and eighth podium finish in succession tomorrow.
Team-mate Kevin Strijbos set a mean pace in the second official chrono to record the fastest lap-time and seal provisional Pole. The Belgian veteran couldn’t find the same rhythm in the Heat sprint, however, and felt the extent of the heavy sand bumps, eventually crossing the finish line in ninth position.
Changeable weather conditions are predicted for the two final motos of the season and after six months, 17 rounds and three continents of travel for the Suzuki crew. Desalle has already been confirmed as 2013 runner-up but Strijbos can still capture fourth for the season if he outpoints Gautier Paulin on Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t have such a good feeling in the first session but after the second it was better as the track changed a bit. I had a good start in the heat race but ran wide in the first corner. Everybody else did as well so it worked out OK and I was in second place. Simpson and Bobryshev passed me but to be honest I just focused on keeping the bike up. I didn’t want to have a crash because the track was pretty tricky with some fast parts. It was easy to make mistakes.”
“As good as it went in the qualifying practice it was as bad in the race. I made a mistake at the start from the first slot in the gate and it was one big struggle from the first corner. I couldn’t find my lines and was going inside and outside in the turns but I didn’t have the speed to ride fast in the sand. I was too slow and couldn’t get out of the holes like I wanted. I had a small crash and lost it completely. I caught some of the guys towards the end and ninth wasn’t too bad but I thought it would be better.”
MX1 Qualification Heat: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 24:47.536; 2. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:05.604; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:16.580; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:20.784; 5. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:24.623; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:46.204; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:46.425; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:49.041; 9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:51.844; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Honda), +1:10.180.