Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle rode a smart and effective qualification race at a damp Beto Carrero facility to take second place for the Grand Prix of Brazil.
The Belgian was on the pace across a slick, compact and obstacle-laden track and showed no obvious repercussions of his hefty crash in Portugal two weeks ago.
The distinctive red soil of one of the most presentable racing facilities on the calendar offered a winding and narrow course where grip was a sought-after commodity. Desalle adapted well on his RM-Z450 and after a decent start in the Heat kept within two seconds of the rear wheel of Max Nagl for a collected and conservative run.
“First of all I just wanted to feel good on the bike after the big crash in Portugal and it wasn’t too bad out there,” commented Desalle. “I had a small crash during practice and jarred my back for a second and had a lot of pain. Luckily it went away quite quickly but I feel a bit fragile.
He added: “Qualification was good. I got out of the gate well and then just rode easy and had a good look at the track while I was in second place. Max was really fast and it was not easy to pass. It could be muddy tomorrow and for those types of races you need luck but also some technique; both would be ideal!”
Teammate Kevin Strijbos had a tougher time trying to maximise traction and even experienced a small crash in the 20 minute sprint that meant he was circulating on the fringes of the top 10. The Belgian – who was a podium finisher here in 2012 – crossed the finish line in 10th as the rain started to fall and the black clouds moved overhead.
A disappointed Strijbos said: “I didn’t have a great feeling on the track, mainly because of the grip. I went left and right in the corners, inside, outside, tried the hard and the loose stuff; it didn’t go the way I wanted.
“I know what the problem was and overall I don’t have a negative opinion about today because I know I can be fast here and where I can pass. Mud tomorrow? Should be fine. I did well here last year in some pretty bad conditions. If it rains then I hope it really comes down otherwise these slick conditions will be very tricky.”
The weather forecast predicts more showers tomorrow as round seven of 17 looks likely to be a ‘mudder’ and it sounds like Strijbos will have his fingers crossed. However, locals say that it should remain dry for most of the day – it won’t be long before we find out.