On a day of showers and sunshine at Sevlievo for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle carefully steered his factory RM-Z450 to fourth position in the Qualification Heat for the second round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
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The Belgian moved from ninth to first in the two practice sessions across the Bulgaria hard-pack that was either wet and slick or drying and developing bumps and ruts. The terrain was tricky to judge and for this reason Desalle recovered from a mediocre start and set a steady pace in a lonely fourth place to secure a decent slot in the start gate for tomorrow.
Team-mate Tanel Leok was 12th. The Estonian was guarded in the left turns, wary of his still-weak leg but was the victim of a small ‘coming together’ with Evgeny Bobryshev exiting the start line for the 20 minute and 2 lap heat. Leok searched for overtaking opportunities and to make some headway from mid-pack but was content with his form by the flag even if his final standing placed him outside the top 10.
Sun and bright conditions are predicted for race day tomorrow.
“I feel OK and the bike is working well. We made a very small change to the suspension but overall the speed is good. The start is important here so we must be focussed for that tomorrow. As we saw today, if you don’t get away at the beginning, then there can be too much of a gap to close.”
“I’m still struggling in the left turns a little bit but the track is less heavy-going than Valkenswaard. I was trying a few different lines to get comfortable but there are not many options. The speed was OK but we are all going at a similar pace. I just clipped Bobryshev coming out of the gate and this meant my start wasn’t that great. The track was a bit better when it was muddy with the rain but overall I’m happy and pleased with the set-up we have on the bike.”
MX1 Qualification Heat Results: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 23:55.990; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.684; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.220; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:20.493; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:27.470; 6. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:30.890; 7. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:33.555; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:36.452; 9. Gregory Aranda (FRA, Yamaha), +0:38.045; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:40.548; 11. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:41.837; 12. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:42.562.