Once more the first rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship have seen Rockstar Suzuki’s Clement Desalle coming closest to offering any kind of challenge to Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli.
The Belgian missed a large period of riding and training in the winter as he recovered from the broken left shoulder sustained at the 2013 Motocross of Nations but chased the world champion hard in Thailand and was second again to the Sicilian in Brazil three weeks later.
Since weathering his injury concerns in Qatar (where Gautier Paulin struck the opening blow in the ‘wins table’ for 2014) Cairoli has been imperious; chalking off victories by 13, 14 and 15 second margins at Si Racha and also in Beto Carrero. While Paulin suffered tremendously with the fuelling issues in Thailand and crashed early in the first moto in Brazil it has been left to Desalle to offer #222 any semblance of a threat.
The Belgian won three Grands Prix and 50% of the motos in the last five rounds of the 2013 MXGP (then MX1) campaign and up until his accident at Teutschenthal. Fans of the Suzuki athlete and neutral observers are hoping he can quickly arrive to the same level of form to create a close title dispute. Cairoli is already 30 points ahead of the next rider in the standings.
“It is difficult to say,” the RM-Z450 racer commented on his projected goal of matching and defeating the champion. “I’m not too far because I am second again! We cannot compare with the tracks we have so far and the weather and circumstances. We will know more when we get back to Europe.”
“I didn’t ride during the winter,” he was keen to remind the press. “I did the best I can [in the three rounds to-date] and it is not going too badly.”
This weekend sees the first of two home GPs for Cairoli in 2014 – at Arco di Trento for the Grand Prix of Trentino – and Desalle will be hoping to surge up from his fourth place in the points listing and slim a hefty gap of 41 to MXGP’s resident ‘target’ since 2009.