Clement Desalle and the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team raced to victory in the Russian round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at the Orlyonok raceway for the second consecutive year.
The 28-year-old Belgian was in inspired form on race day at the spectacular track overlooking the Black Sea coastline. Dialling in his starts he burst through the sweeping first turn in second place in each moto and immediately set his sights on the leader.
Within the first half lap of the opening moto he had made a dramatic pass for the lead and maintained a strong pace to establish a six seconds lead at one stage – as the pressure mounted in the closing laps he remained cool and unruffled to score a clear-cut victory.
In race two Clement was again fully focused as he exited turn one in second place and kept the pressure on the leader through the early laps until they were clear of the chasing group; secure in the knowledge that second place in the moto would ensure the overall victory he remained focused to the end for a highly popular win, the first in the motocross world championship by a Japanese manufacturer this year. The 47 point scoreline has also taken Clement back to third in the series standings after six rounds of the 20 event GP schedule.
“I’m really happy about my riding today and to be able to put a green bike on the top of the podium,” said Desalle. “I found some really good lines in the early laps of the first race to take the lead and build a good gap – they came back at me in the last few laps but I was able to control the race for the victory. I got another good start in race two, could stay with the leader for several laps and stayed focused to the end to take the overall GP win. It was great to win again at this track, and now we will work for more GP victories.”
“Clement rode two great races, to win the first moto and then to keep the gap safe to third in race two to secure the overall victory. It’s great to see the result of all the hard work put in by the entire team and to see Kawasaki take the first victory of the year by a Japanese manufacturer.”
KRT team-mate Julien Lieber, a sensational third during qualifying the previous day, could not quite repeat that success but the MXGP rookie had two solid rides to cement his top 10 world ranking. In the first moto he pushed forward to eighth place and in race two went one better to end the day seventh overall.
“Today was the race day and we know that it’s never the same as during a qualifying day,” said Lieber. “I’m happy with my weekend – with a seventh overall I got my second best result in the MXGP class. My starts were not so great but I made some passes during the first few laps to finish eighth and seventh. It was important to be twice in the top 10 this weekend. I made some mistakes in the previous rounds so one of my goals was to avoid any mistake here and that’s what I did.”
Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing finished 11th in each moto to secure ninth place overall.