Clement Desalle made his comeback at round nine of 18 in the World MXGP Motocross Championship as the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing rider captured a third-place finish in the opening moto at Talavera de la Reina.
Making his return to racing after recent injuries forced the stylish Belgian to miss the last two GPs – Germany and Italy respectively – he eased his way back for qualification and took fifth gate pick for the Sunday motos.
Desalle quickly ripped into third place in the first moto and never looked back. He had a decent start in the second moto but gave up a few positions in the opening corners. Desalle pushed himself on his KX450F-SR to fight back to sixth by the chequers. Desalle narrowly missed the Talavera de la Rein podium but the 35 points is his best GP weekend of the season and shows he’s lost none of his pace.
“It’s great to be back in the first three,” exclaimed Desalle. “For sure I missed the overall podium by a few points but it’s been some time since I finished one race in the top three.
“It’s a good comeback – my feeling with the bike was better this weekend but we still need to work as I didn’t spend so much time on it since February due to my injuries.
“Today the start was so important that you couldn’t afford to miss it – the first one was good, but at the second one I lost a few positions through the first few corners.
“Since Latvia at the start of the month I’ve only been able to train four times but I felt ready to come here and to actually race is the best training you can have. Now we’ll continue to work with the team – I want to get more and more podium results.”
Desalle’s KRT team-mate Jordi Tixier is also on the comeback trail but the Frenchman had a frustrating weekend in Spain. After taking 11th place in qualification he never settled on Sunday and could only finish 15th and 13th. “A weekend to forget for me,” said Tixier. “I never had a good feeling with the track and struggled in both races. It’s difficult to accept that, as I nearly won the MX2 GP here last year, but we’ll continue to work and will try to get better results next weekend in France.”
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle did his best to put a recent knee injury behind him as he joined Desalle in the top 10 of moto one, after a solid ride from 13th on lap one. But the Brit came together with another rider on the opening lap of the second moto and it ended his GP weekend.
“This week was the first time I’ve been able to practice since I hurt my meniscus and my knee five weeks ago as I needed to let them recover, but coming here I didn’t feel good and I struggled all weekend,” admitted Searle. “In the second race I got a better start in 10th or 11th but then I hit another rider in a downhill and crashed and hit my head again, same as two weeks ago.
“Things seem to go wrong at the moment – I’m trying to do my best and I think a lot of problems come from the starts. We changed a little bit on the bike and I think we found something that will help, so we stay positive.”