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Clement Desalle at the 2017 Grand Prix of Mexico
NEWS

Desalle: “You have to be strong at the start”

Apr 182017

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle is biding his time. The talented Belgian has been quietly working, improving and feeling his way to speed in order to seize his first MXGP victory of the season and the 21st of his career. Last weekend at Pietramurata in Trentino, Italy for round five of nineteen the 27 year old encountered some tricky conditions around the scenic hard-pack and scored results in both motos to place sixth overall. #25 already has two podium finishes in 2017 and sits poised as one of a gaggle of athletes sniffing the dried champagne of the top step on a weekly basis.

"Everything comes down the start, especially here, and a lot of places now."

No silverware today but your pace was solid: it looks like there were positives…

There were some positives but at the same time it was a bit frustrating. I was fifth twice but I felt I could have made the podium. Everything comes down the start, especially here, and a lot of places now. If you start second, or sixth, then it makes a big difference for your result. I felt great on the bike but I want more so I’m not totally happy. I will keep [thinking] on a positive way and onto the next one.

You used the metal grid behind the gate that will be in the rest of the races in Europe. Any difference?

Well in the overseas races we had different one every time and there were some small differences but I didn't really feel anything: I think it is a good thing we don't have to prepare the ground anymore. It was boring being there so long before the start of the race and having some ‘stories’ [disputes with other riders taking slots] sometimes!

After four events on three continents was it comforting to start the European stint of MXGP?

Yeah! Friday I was happy to take the plane for [just] an hour and twenty minutes with my family! And come to the camper. I’m happy to start in Europe and I found the last round overseas was a lot, too much. You get tired from it. It’s a strange way to get tired, a lot of hours travelling. It’s good to be finished with that for a while.

Tony Cairoli was flying today in that second moto and passed a lot of people with the same block pass. What did you think of that?

You have to be a little bit aggressive to do it. I said ‘s**t, I’ve been passed’ but I was not angry because I left the door open and he did it to everybody. He found something and it was good. It was my mistake not to ‘close the door’.

"I haven’t won a moto or a GP yet this year but I’m working on it. It’s not easy and you have to be strong at the start as well."

Lastly are you fully comfortable with the KX450F? What percentage is left to find in order to win races?

I am comfortable on my bike and I feel we have a good base. We still work a little bit on some details. We made a big improvement compared to last year but the top six-seven are really tight so you could make a podium [result] in the first moto but in the next you are eighth! The guys are really close together. I haven’t won a moto or a GP yet this year but I’m working on it. It’s not easy and you have to be strong at the start as well.

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