The Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team was back in race action this weekend on Sardinia with both Clement Desalle and Romain Febvre easing back into racing mode.
Five weeks prior the opening round of the FIM MXGP World Championship several major teams were present at the race, the first opportunity of the season to ride under racing conditions – it was the first time that this race has been part of KRT’s winter preparation and proved a useful shakedown.
Desalle enjoyed a strong ride up the leaderboard to fourth in the MX1 race, setting similar lap times to the leader on the rough sandy track of Riola Sardo – Febvre was content to enjoy track time as he felt the inevitable effects of arm-pump following the long winter break from racing.
Neither rider got a clean run through the fast opening turn in the Superfinal as the 450s were handed the outside gates and they each used the race for training purposes – the team will take in one more race at Lacapelle Marival in France next month as they continue their preparation for the world championships which begins at Matterley Basin in southern England on March 1.
Clement Desalle: “It was good to be back behind a starting gate, and it was nice to discover a nice and natural track here in Sardinia.
“My start was decent, I was sixth and came back to fourth with a good feeling on the bike – I felt good physically and enjoyed riding the bike.
The start of the Superfinal was tough as I had to avoid several riders who crashed in separate incidents – now we’ll continue to work in Belgium and Spain plus one more race at Lacapelle Marival before the GPs.”
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Romain Febvre: “It’s a great feeling to be back racing after such a long break! I knew coming here that I am still working on my speed but that’s normal at this stage of the season.
“Physically I was okay though I suffered some arm-pump in the first race and then in the second one it was carnage at the first corner – I made a small mistake during the race but my speed was coming back all day.
“I know what I have to work on and since the beginning of this month I can train every day on the bike so we’ll stay here in Sardinia for a few days before heading to our final warm-up race.”
KRT Team Manager, Francois Lemariey: “We are still building our preparation as both Clement and Romain needed to recover from their 2019 injuries during the early weeks of the winter but we never stopped working at the workshop– the KX450-SR was completely new last year but we now know it perfectly and can work on details with KHI in Japan to provide the very best material to our riders.
“We have two top riders, we want to give them all the facilities so they can focus on racing and so far everything is going in the right direction – several new people including Jacky (Vimond) and a physiotherapist joined the staff this winter.
“We tested with Clement in December and he was happy with the evolution of the bike and we just finished our tests with Romain in Sardinia last week. He’s also happy with the bike and now both know what they have to do to be ready for the first GPs of the season.”
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