Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team raced to a spectacular second place in the Latvian round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship to maintain his title challenge.
The gritty Belgian shrugged off painful ribs, a relic of the Dutch GP two weeks previously, to holeshot the opening moto at the demanding Kegums track, 50 kilometres inland from the Latvian capital Riga, and rode securely to clinch second place after a fierce duel. A minor problem with the starting gate mechanism in race two prevented a repeat of his lightening start earlier in the day but Clement had soon recovered to sixth place, inheriting fifth when another rider fell victim to the demanding track. The combined results of both races earnt him 38 championship points, the same total as two other riders but they were each favoured by the tie-break ruling and Clement was classified fourth overall on the same score line as the runner-up. The score line has lifted him one place in the championship standings to fifth.
Teammate Jordi Tixier was contesting a GP for the first time since March and he rode sensibly all weekend on the rugged track which claimed many fallers during the course of the weekend. After qualifying fifteenth of thirty-eight competitors Jordi used the power of his KX450F-SR to its optimum on a start layout which heavily favours the inside gates to emerge sixteenth from the initial sort-out in race one, a base from which he was able to claim thirteenth at the chequered flag despite stabbing his right leg on the ground after a jump in the early stages of the race. Later in the day Jordi raced from an initial twenty-fourth to again finish thirteenth. Despite missing three of the previous six rounds of the series Jordi is now eighteenth in the standings.
Tommy Searle of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki has started riding in the last two weeks after requiring knee surgery during the winter, but it was decided not to risk a relapse by letting him race again until he has had more time to recover. DRT team owner Steve Dixon: “Everyone must realise that an ACL normally takes nine months and it’s only been five since Tommy was injured; he will also miss the German GP and we will evaluate the situation after he has had a little more track time.”
Clement Desalle: “After a tough race in Valkenswaard two weeks ago it’s great to have a good weekend here. I couldn’t train as usual after Valkenswaard as I had pain in my ribs, and I only qualified in eighth position on Saturday but I got a holeshot in the first GP moto. That was good; I made a small mistake after a few corners and Herlings passed me but I was still second and battled with Bobryshev. He passed me once but I passed him straight back and then I made a gap on him to secure my second position. My second start was not as good as the first one as there was a small problem with my gate but I soon came back to sixth and finally finished fifth as another rider crashed. I scored the same points as Cairoli and Bobryshev but missed the podium as their result in the second race was better than mine, but it was a good GP for us.”
Jordi Tixier: “I’m happy to go back home safe after this tough weekend, as the track was very, very rough here. I rode carefully in the first practice session, and qualified in fifteenth position. On Sunday I had two very great starts, but from my gate I was outside in the first corner and at the second start another rider pushed me out so I was last! In the first race I hit the ground with my right leg after a jump; it was painful for two laps but then I felt better and finished thirteenth. In the second moto I finished again thirteenth, even though I didn’t take any risks with my leg in the right-hand corners. They were pretty good results for a comeback, as I effectively rode with only one and a half leg here! Now I will need a few days to recover as I just trained a couple of hours before coming here; it was the first time that I had ridden on two consecutive days since my injury.”