The FIM Motocross World Championship enters the last two-month stretch of it 16-round schedule this weekend with the 12th Grand Prix of the season set to take place on the hilly climbs of Loket in the Czech Republic.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 will travel to the west of the country and close to the Spa town of Karlovy Vary having sampled victory in the 2011 edition of the event with Clement Desalle on the works RM-Z450.
The Belgian used the free weekend after back-to-back races in Latvia and Russia to follow his usual training routine, gain more testing mileage on the potent yellow race motorcycle and think ahead to the meetings in Czech Republic, Great Britain, Holland, Italy and Germany that remain in the campaign. Desalle is just 20 points away from securing the red plate for the second time this year as MX1 series leader (25 points are awarded for a moto win, thus a maximum of 50 points are available each Grand Prix). The 22 year old graced the top step of the podium in Loket in 2009 and 2011 and was second in 2010 and therefore will roll into the paddock on Friday confident of his chances.
“I’ve been following my training programme and have been out on the bike twice,” he said. “We went riding in the sand at Lommel as the team had a new idea they wanted to test out so we headed there and then my plan is to do some training again before we go to Loket.”
The traditional venue of the Czech Grand Prix is one of those old-school locations that enrich the diverse flavour of the FIM Motocross World Championship. Fast, hard-pack, stony and slippery, the layout also involves many uphill and downhill sections and can be tricky for overtaking due to the similarity of the lap-times.
“I like the track there and have won twice in the last three years so it is nice to have a record like that under your belt,” added Desalle. “Loket can be tricky in some ways and I hope the organisers have been able to prepare the ground well. As I always say, if we can have fun on the bike then that will show in the racing.”
Tanel Leok was pleased to come away from an examination on his troublesome ankle last week with the news that the Estonian can see out the rest of the season thanks to an injection into the joint and then a minor process to clear the joint in the winter will fix the constant discomfort. “I had a check-up and basically I need a small clean-up operation in the off-season, nothing major,” he said. “The ankle was swelling up and with that came pain but I’ve had an injection and I’ve been able to train and do what I want this week so I’m happy.
“Loket is an old fashioned track and I’m looking forward to getting there,” continued Leok who is hunting down Xavier Boog for seventh place in the MX1 points table. “It seems we’ve found a lot of similar places recently with waves and off-camber turns and it will be good to attack some normal straights where you can focus on braking and overtaking rather than just the next obstacle ahead of you.”
The long-term weather forecast predicts warm conditions for the weekend with the chance of some showers on Sunday morning.
MX1 World Championship Standings (after 11 of 16 rounds): 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 442 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 422 p.; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 393 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 376 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 341 p.; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 304 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 277 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 253 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 247 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 212 p.