Last lap misfortune cost both Tommy Searle of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki and Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team a top ten finish in the FIM MXGP of Europe at Valkenswaard.
Credits: Stanley Leroux / Pascal Haudiquert
After a promising return to Kawasaki in the opening rounds of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship in Asia Searle was optimistic of further advances as the series returned to Europe for the first time this year at the appropriately named Eurocircuit of Valkenswaard, close to the Dutch-Belgian frontier, for the European GP. The Englishman underlined his return to front-runner action as he posted the third fastest time during the timed practice session and used his well-deserved gate position to storm through the opening turns in fourth position with his eye on the riders ahead of him.
Unfortunately a chasing rider got out of control and was launched into Searle’s back, forcing the DRT teamster to rejoin the race at the rear of the field before charging back through to fifteenth at the finish. The starting arena at the Eurocircuit heavily favours the fastest qualifiers and Searle was twice forced to battle from midfield starts, advancing to eighth in the first moto and holding down ninth in race two until running out of fuel within sight of the chequered flag as the exertions of passing many rivals took its toll. A clearcut eighth position sadly became eleventh in the overall result on the day, but Tommy remains ninth in the series standings.
Desalle, who had braved the pain barrier to score valuable points in the Asian GPs, has still not returned to full race fitness as his recent arm injuries are still preventing him from following his usual full training regime. With characteristic gritty determination the Belgian qualified ninth and persevered through the longer opening GP moto, run in difficult conditions after a cloudburst, to again cross the line ninth. Another tough performance in race two saw Clement holding down eleventh position on the final lap until a rock damaged his drive chain and forced him to retire. He was thus credited with nineteenth in the moto, and fourteenth in the GP rather than the top ten overall finish he was looking at prior to the incident.
Tommy Searle: “I had good speed all weekend and was third in the timed practice session; I knew that it would be important for the start. I had a good start in the qualifying race and was in fourth position when someone hit me from behind and I had to start again from last to finish fifteenth. It made the whole weekend difficult as I had to come from behind in both races with a bad gate, but I’m happy with my riding and my speed, happy where I am. I’m just very disappointed not to finish the second race, as I ran out of fuel on the last lap.”
Clement Desalle: “I had two good weeks of physical training and just a few hours of training on the bike before coming here, but unfortunately I was not in the best shape as I got a cold this week. I had a good feeling on the bike, and gave my best in both races; I know that I could do much better if I was in good shape, but I still don’t have enough power in my arm and can’t work miracles. I don’t know if I’m just plain unlucky or what after this problem on the last lap of the second race. I just hope that everything will come together as soon as possible so we can get some podiums again in a near future.”
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