Today's sixth round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship took place under cloudy skies and across a track that was stony and fast and grouped the riders together with extremely tight lap-times. Desalle worked on the set-up of his machine in practice and qualification and experimented with his Pirelli tyres to find the best traction. The Belgian was already facing adversity after a sudden family bereavement on Thursday naturally shadowed his approach to the meeting.
The 23 year old made two reasonable starts in the 35 minute and 2 lap motos and rode his own rhythm to be in contention for top-five finishes. Desalle steered the Suzuki to fifth during the first sprint and then took part in an entertaining battle for third position in the final race. He swapped track space with Christophe Pourcel and then overtook David Philippaerts on the final lap to secure fourth for the same ranking overall.
It was not an easy Grand Prix for Tanel Leok: The Estonian could not get out of the gate in both races and was fighting to improve his standing to reach the top 10. He was able to set an effective pace by the second half of the second moto but the former GP winner was disappointed to leave St Jean with 12th and 16th for 15th overall.
Desalle has slipped to third position in the MX1 Championship standings but is only one point behind Christophe Pourcel. Leok is 10th. The Grand Prix of Portugal at the challenging and enjoyable circuit of Agueda will host round seven of the series in Portugal next weekend and precedes a trip to Bastogne and the team's home event on June 17th.
"It was difficult, mentally, to come here because we lost my grandfather who I was very close to so suddenly. It was very sad because he was in good health. When I was busy on the bike then I didn't have time to think about it. My riding in general was OK and I'm not disappointed about that. The top five were really fast at this track and I will try to do better in the future."
"I don't know what happened today. I had bad starts but in the middle of the race I wasn't overtaking well and just lost too much ground. I improved my speed but I couldn't catch the other guys by that stage. I was stuck behind people for too long basically. If I can take any positives, then my pace at the end of the second moto was encouraging. Still, the overall result is not good today."
MX1 Overall result: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 42 p.;4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki WMX1), 34 p.; 5. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 32 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 27 p.; 7. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 26 p.; 8. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 25 p.; 9. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 25 p.; 10. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 24 p.;15. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki WMX1), 14 p.