Clement Desalle maintained his 100 per cent podium appearance record with third place overall at a crowded Eurocircuit in Valkenswaard yesterday for the Grand Prix of Europe.

Some 32,600 spectators filtered through the gates for the fifth round of 18 in the premier class of the FIM Motocross World Championship in the Netherlands and the Belgian posted solid fourth and third positions in the motos on his Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP RM-Z450.

Desalle was initially frustrated by a small crash on Saturday that dropped him out of third spot in the Qualification Heat and meant that he had to come back through the pack to take 11th. It was a reasonable pick in the gate and the Belgian knew he needed to be lively away from the line for designs on the lead in the early stages of the two 30-minute and two-lap motos.


The Valkenswaard sand was treacherously bumpy and difficult to negotiate in the first race but many sections of the terrain had been graded for the second outing. Aside from a brief shower, the weather stayed bright with temperatures around 15 degrees.

A reasonable start in the opening race saw ‘#25’ move into the top-five. Desalle faced a hefty margin ahead to Evgeny Bobryshev but also kept a manageable distance ahead of Tyla Rattray and then Shaun Simpson. It was a fairly lonely sprint but he was able to roll over the finish line with fourth after Tony Cairoli surprisingly crashed out and retired.

In the second moto, Desalle harried and plagued Bobryshev until he earned third place. Max Nagl was too far in front and his Russian rival kept close, meaning that the Suzuki athlete could not afford to relax or make a mistake. Clement kept focused and was pleased to take part in his fifth consecutive podium ceremony. His 38 points and classification behind Nagl means that he slips to second in the standings but the deficit is only five points.

A good day was had by Rockstar Suzuki Energy Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff in front of his home crowd as the MXGP rookie rode to ninth overall. The leading Dutch rider in the premier class enjoyed some good support from the fences and fronted the top seven in the first moto. Ken De Dycker circulated nearby and Filip Bengtsson also, but seventh position was another strong allotment of points for ‘#259’. Later on in moto two Coldenhoff strived to find a way past Tommy Searle for 10th place and to achieve his goal of a double top scorecard. He finally made his move with two laps to go and relegated the Briton for 10th. Coldenhoff has the same standing in the MXGP championship table.

Kevin Strijbos is back on the RM-Z450 but with limited riding time between last week’s Grand Prix of Trentino and the formation of the paddock in Valkenswaard, the 28 year old still had some pain in his right wrist and was not in a condition to be able to compete in the sand. The former championship runner-up now has two weeks to build up towards a return to the Suzuki awning for round six of the series.

The next appointment for the Belgian crew is not far away. A free weekend allows for enough prep and to begin the journey down through Europe to Spain and the Talavera de la Reina circuit. For the third time this century the compact and hilly venue will entertain MXGP, set to take place on May 10th.

Clement Desalle:

“Being on the podium today is OK. I was disappointed about my crash yesterday. I knew it would be a difficult weekend so I am proud of this podium and it feels like quite a while since I had one in the sand. It gives me some confidence and shows that my condition is good. It is really important to be on the podium every week and it keeps you high in the standings. The year is still young and now we are coming up to some really good tracks and I hope we will have some good racing.”

Glenn Coldenhoff:

“Today was alright; I finally made two motos in the top 10. Starts were important today and the first moto was pretty good. I struggled a little with arm-pump and was tired in my shoulders, so we changed some settings on the bike and it was definitely better for the second moto. I felt good…but my start was bad! I had to charge hard and couldn’t pass Tommy. I got a bit too aggressive and had a very small crash. I then had eight seconds to catch up and there were a lot of flags out so it was difficult to make up time. Overall, it was good and I reached my goal…even if I did expect a bit more at my home Grand Prix.”

MXGP Moto1: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), 34:52.131; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:17.744; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:35.535; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +0:40.515; 5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:41.742; 6. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:56.455; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +1:00.201; 8. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +1:04.855; 9. Filip Bengtsson (SWE, Honda), +1:08.710; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +1:12.812.

MXGP Moto2: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), 34:24.814; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:04.761; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +0:10.118; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:11.589; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:12.309; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:28.128; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:39.579; 8. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:41.763; 9. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:43.720; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), +0:44.567.

MXGP Overall result: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 50 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 44 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 38 p.; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 38 p.; 5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Tyla Rattray (RSA, KAW), 28 p.; 7. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 27 p.; 8. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 25 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 25 p.; 10. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM), 19 p.

MXGP World Championship Standings (after 5 of 18 rounds): 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 214 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 209 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 184 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 178 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 156 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 138 p.; 7. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 124 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 98 p.; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 92 p.; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki), 86 p.