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Clement Desalle celebrating on the podium of 2018 MXGP Trentino

Desalle posts third MXGP trophy as runner-up in Italy and chats living at the top

Apr 082018

The sun shone at the fourth round of MXGP and across the tops of the spectacular Dolomite mountains in Italy as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle glinted his way to second place overall around the gnarly, marbley and compact Pietramurata racetrack.

The 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship might still be in its infancy but Desalle is already polishing three piece of silverware to sit a firm third in the standings and behind the speedy KTMs of Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli. In front of a packed collective of fans the Grand Prix was also notable for the launch of the FIM Women’s World Championship – MXW – where Courtney Duncan and Kiara Fontanesi filled the second and third spots on the podium flanked by winner Larissa Papenmeier.

It was in the premier class however where some of the most intense action took place and Desalle was a major mover behind the KTM freight train. “It was a good weekend and I was consistent. I knew the start would be really important. I was feeling good on my bike. In the last three motos we have been able to pull away from the others a little bit and that's good for me. We have made some small improvements,” the Belgian offered, and then gave some more insight before switching focus to the Grand Prix of Portugal at Agueda next weekend.

"I’m a strong character and I know it…and I know I also have to be realistic. I’m not a person who can fake things."

There must be a far amount of work to keep on sustaining the level of preparation and performance to excel in MXGP…

It’s about fitness of course but also the mental work. It is about having a good combination. Every year I analyse what I have done - and myself generally - to see what I could do better. It usually means changing a few small details. Sometimes the technical side but overall it is every aspect of how I prepare. The number one aim is to be happy on the bike; this is the most important for me. A small example is the track two weeks ago in Spain: if you have a good start then you can ride strong, how you want and enjoy yourself. If you have a bad start then this is so hard to do! We are all so close to each other and it is hard to pass.

In the last couple of years you have been talking a lot about looking at the positive aspects of a race weekend. It seemed like a different direction for you…

I’m a strong character and I know it…and I know I also have to be realistic. I’m not a person who can fake things. If I am not happy then, s**t, I’m not happy. You can have some bad days and I’m not scared to show that. I always want to be better and maybe, looking back when I started with my Dad, we didn't look enough at the positive things we were doing. Maybe we were looking too much at the negative things in order to be better. I guess that is kinda my personality as well. Since I had a daughter it has made me see things differently. I’m a big family guy. A few years ago I lost my grandfather and it made me realise that you have to enjoy your time, enjoy your life. I want a good mix of everything: my lifestyle, my job and my racing. That means being positive and being happy…but I still won’t hesitate to show I’m angry!

"I want to do my best and I want to be consistent."

Kids always tend to be positive…

That’s true! And that affects me a lot. And I like it. It makes you analyse and think of something ‘is that important? Do I really need to be angry about that?’.

Back to MXGP and it is still early in the season but how do you react to the speed of the KTMs and catching up?

Good question. It is a bit frustrating. In one way these riders have been at the front for a few years already and they are the ones to beat…but another way to look at it is to not just focus on them. We have so many races in the season. We will see how their battles go because I cannot see how things can work so well for twenty GPs. Let’s see. I want to do my best and I want to be consistent. Of course I want to win races and motos and get podiums but to come back to your question I haven’t taken it too literally. There are many days left in the year and each one is different. You have to look at it race-by-race and don't panic.