The only rider showing early championship form from the first two diverse rounds of the 2015 MXGP campaign is Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle who now straps the red plate onto his works RM-Z450 for the first time in two years.
The Belgian has made very few mistakes in Qatar and Thailand and has ridden with restraint and consistency to rise to the top of the standings.
Rather than be preoccupied with stamping any kind of authority in speed, Desalle has been quietly pounding out rapid laps (he made the fastest times in both Qatar and Thai Timed Practice sessions) and is counting the points from his four runner-up positions so far.
The bright start has come about from a positive month of riding and training in California in January and an approach to the races geared largely on his personal performance, rather than worrying about Cairoli, Villopoto, Paulin and co. “I have focussed on myself,” he explained post-race in Nakhonchaisri. “My goal at the moment is just to be strong every moto. I have everything under control on the bike and I am trying to enjoy it as much as possible. I know then that the results will come.”
Many riders struggled in Thailand with the humidity and relentless heat but Desalle seemed remarkably calm and composed in the conditions. In fact the 25 year old found Saturday’s Qualification Heat harder to deal with than the GP motos themselves. “It was the hottest one,” he said when asked if the weekend had been one of the warmest he’d experienced. “Last year was different. I don’t know if it is anything to do with the altitude or maybe the asphalt [the Thailand Circuit is predominantly a road racing venue] containing the heat. I thought it was difficult yesterday; the last two laps were really hard and felt very long. I prepared the best I could.”
Desalle now carries a slightly different colour on the yellow RM-Z for round three and the Grand Prix of Argentina at Neuquen at the end of the month. “It will be fun to have the red plate. I think the last time was in 2013 and the design of the bike will look good!”
The 2013 Motocross of Nations winner’s form has certainly caught attention. When asked for his thoughts on the MXGP class so far MX2 points-leader Jeffrey Herlings believes the Belgian has been one of the standouts. “It will be a long season for those guys and it will be interesting to watch,” he said. “Even Desalle; he has really surprised me this year and seems to be in much better shape. It is one surprise after the other.”