Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 is currently en-route through Spain this week and their final destination will be the Agueda circuit, home to the Grand Prix of Portugal almost every year since the start of the century.
Round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship takes place hot on the heels of the French event at St Jean D’Angely where Clement Desalle posted his fourth podium finish from five races so far on the works RM-Z450, in spite of a first moto crash.
“Everything is OK,” he said while travelling across the Iberian Peninsula today. “After the first moto I had some pain in my left hand and between the fingers but it did not bother me too much in the second moto. I did some recovery exercises on Monday and then we started some travelling. I’m in Spain at the moment and we are going to go to a local track and do some laps on the bike.”
Desalle continues to hold the red plate as MX1 series leader and has an advantage of 6 points over defending number one Antonio Cairoli. The 22 year old now returns to the scene of his very first Grand Prix victory with the factory Suzuki crew in 2010. The Belgian put aside discomfort from a separated shoulder 12 months ago to earn two second positions and claim the win in Portugal.
“Agueda is a good track,” he said. “It is not the biggest place but there are more chances to pass than at St Jean with some different line options. In the past I have seen that the ground deals with any rain quite well. Unless it has been very wet in the days before the Grand Prix then it should be OK.”
Fortunately the area around Agueda (some 90km south of Porto) has been dry this week and the forecast for the weekend predicts sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s.
Steve Ramon might be glad to hear of the positive outlook as the former World Champion has been unlucky with some heavy crashes across the wet red dirt recent years. “I don’t have great memories of Agueda but I seem to ride well there and have been fast; just not so lucky! Last year I hit a hay bale and the knock on the head bothered me for weeks afterwards. It is a tricky track and you have to keep focussed.”
The constant elevation changes of the layout create a scenic if perhaps unchallenging circuit. The Grand Prix of Portugal has enjoyed increasing crowds in the last editions of the event and with the MX1 class currently offering some gripping entertainment – four different winners from five rounds – this weekend could create yet more exciting scenes. For the teams and riders the trip to the western tip of Europe will be the second of three back-to-back meetings with a stop in La Baneza for the Spanish GP to follow.
MX1 World Championship standings (after 5 of 15 rounds): 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 199 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 193 p.; 3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 179 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 179 p.; 5. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 161 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 141 p.; 7. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 133 p.; 8. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Kawasaki), 115 p.; 9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 114 p.; 10. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 109 p.; 11. Steve Ramon (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 103 p.