Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 ended an intense period of the FIM Motocross World Championship with Steve Ramon and Clement Desalle earning eight and ninth positions overall at Kegums this afternoon. The Grand Prix of Latvia, watched under sunny skies by 21,000 people, represented the 10th round of 15 in the 2011 series and also the sixth event in seven busy weeks of travelling throughout Europe.
The team needed to be at its best and most resilient across a Kegums hard-pack that nevertheless carved into a plethora of ripples, holes and small bumps that constantly tested the handling of the works RM-Z450s and the physical aptitude of both Belgian riders.
Desalle fronted the MX1 Qualification Heat for almost the entire distance on Saturday and his flowing speed was a good sign that the Belgian is returning to fitness. His luck deserted him on Sunday, however, as two bright starts were undone by racing incidents: A duel with Steven Frossard for fourth position ended with the winner of three Grands Prix this season on the floor and rapidly having to reclaim his motorcycle. Another spill on the last lap, when he entered a 180 degree turn too fast and the front end dug into the loose soil on the outer line, pushed a frustrated Desalle down to eighth. In the second moto, a collision mid-air with Evgeny Bobryshev cresting the finish-line table-top yanked the 21 year old’s weak shoulder and from that point he had to accept another eighth position for nine overall.
Steve Ramon had been fast all weekend and was second quickest in both practice sessions on Saturday, scoring a decent fourth pick for the gate through the Heat sprint. Sadly the former World Champion had a lacklustre start and first race to 10th. The second moto saw an improvement in his speed and vigour and at one point the veteran was vying for third place until finally leaping across the line in sixth for eighth in the classification.
Desalle is still second in the MX1 title chase but stares at a gap of 42 points to Tony Cairoli. Ramon is eighth and needs 52 points to overhaul Rui Goncalves.
The FIM Motocross World Championship will resume in two weeks with the team’s home event at Lommel (Limburg). The sandy track will then be contrasted by a trip to the slippery hard-pack of Loket in the Czech Republic a week later.
Clement Desalle, “In the first moto I was fast and started third. Frossard passed me and I didn’t want to take any risks. I was close to passing him back but he shut the line and I had a big crash. Luckily I was not hurt. I was sixth but on the last lap I lost control of the front end in a corner and dropped back to eighth. It was really bad. In the second moto I was in the top five around the first corner and when Bobryshev passed me he touched me in the air over the table-top. I had a ‘shock’ to my shoulder because the bike was pulled out of my grip. I was a bit scared after that move and didn’t feel good on the bike. I was riding badly. I will go home now and try to get my injured finger better and think about Lommel.”
Steve Ramon, “It was a little bit of a frustrating day. I had a bad start in the first moto and it was difficult to get in the rhythm. I couldn’t push and felt like I had no energy. I was just riding around and feeling lazy. The better start in the second moto helped and because the track was getting really rough; you had to concentrate and be careful. I was doing well and not too far behind the front guys. I saw that third place was possible and tried to push but was getting tired and making mistakes. It was physically tough today; the speed was there but I still have some work to do to get in better shape.”