This weekend’s MXGP of Garda Trentino, the final round of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship, will be the last time fans get to see Clement Desalle (Monster Energy Kawasaki) in action at the highest level of the sport.
The 31-year-old never quite managed to win a world title but his record of 23 GP wins, 35 moto wins and 82 GP podiums speaks for itself. Add in six top-three rankings and a MXoN gold in 2013 and the Belgian can comfortably be regarded as one of the best riders of his generation.
“I always had a good relationship with François [Lemariey] who was my mechanic earlier in my career,” said Desalle. “When I signed for Kawasaki I was delighted to work with him again. It has always been really important for me to be happy in my working environment and to have a good feeling with the people around me.
“I’m really proud with the job we’ve done together. Of course I would have liked to have offered Kawasaki yet more race wins, more podiums, more GP wins and even a world title as I’ve been working for this all my life.
“After Latvia I started to ask myself questions about my future and made a decision. Just before Spain I was sure of my decision and announced that I would retire at the end of this season. I will miss racing of course but I have a big passion for motocross and for sure I will still ride bikes.”
Giuseppe Luongo, boss of world championship promoter Infront Moto Racing, paid tribute to one of the stand-out stars of recent years.
“Clement is one of the riders who wrote the history of our sport in the last decade,” said Luongo. “He has always been on top and every year has fought for the podium. He is very talented, always with perfect lines which makes him one of the most difficult riders to pass. He always behaved admirably both on-and-off the track.
“We will miss him a lot but we hope to see him again in the same way other champions have offered their experience to help the youngsters. We wish him the same success in his future life as he had as a rider.”