Tommy Searle celebrated a successful return to Green as he took his Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki to seventh place in the opening round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Losail in Qatar.
After two injury-affected seasons the British rider was in buoyant mood for his return to Kawasaki and put in two spectacular rides on a near standard KX450F to finish ninth and eighth in the two motos of the opening GP which was run under floodlights on a specialised track adjacent to the MotoGP circuit.
Tommy converted a start just outside the top 10 into a ninth placed finish in the first 33 minute race, and followed this up with another strong ride to eighth, narrowly failing to catch the rider in seventh, in race two.
“I’m very happy; it’s nice to leave the race healthy and in each session I learnt more, rode smooth, made no mistakes and I had good lap times,” said Searle. “I was one of the fastest riders so there’s nothing to worry about and step by step I think I can get up to the front.
“I had injuries each of the last two seasons so it’s important for me to get some races under my belt. The track was bumpy; you have to be sensible here with the darkness but overall it was a good weekend.”
Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team bravely returned to the saddle less than two weeks after breaking his left forearm to collect three valuable championship points.
The Belgian rider restricted his on-track activities to as minimum during qualification, but showed intense desire in the two GP motos to finish 20th and 19th even though his injuries prevented him from attacking the many large jumps while the acceleration bumps on the exit of each corner also caused him much pain. He flew back to Europe after the race for further medical treatment before next weekend’s GP in Thailand.
“For sure it was a tough race, mentally and physically,” Desalle commented. “I knew that I didn’t come here for a podium, or even a top five, less than two weeks after my injury.
“Before coming here I had some examinations to be sure that there would not be any risks for my health and my body – my goal was to score one or two points and that’s what happened. I knew that it would be tough, and it was, especially on jump landings. We are on a road race circuit here in Qatar – for sure if I was racing on asphalt that would have been easier this weekend. The season is long so I want to stay positive and I will take it race by race.”
The Belgian added: “Of course I hope to be fit as soon as possible and to have some fun riding my bike. I go back home during the week – I will visit my doctor for some other examinations and then will be back for Thailand.”