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Clement Desalle at the 2016 MXGP of Lombardia
NEWS

Podium bounty at sweltering Italian MXGP

Sep 272016

MXGP sweated out a demanding and entertaining romp through the sharp bumps of the Mantova circuit and the Fullback Grand Prix of Lombardia where Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle and Dylan Ferrandis made the box in the premier class and the MX2 division respectively with a brace of third positions. The Italian sand was also golden for WMX World Champion Kiara Fontanesi who put some adversity from her 2016 term behind her with a maiden victory from the confines of her privateer team and in front of a large fan group among the 27,000 sun-kissed throng.

The twelfth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship saw Grand Prix swap the damp and showers of Matterley Basin in the UK the previous weekend for the stifling heat and humidity of Mantova and the ‘flat’ landscape of the Lombardia region. The wide, fast and vast jumps of the English course were long forgotten with the tight turns, narrow layout and compact nature of the ‘Tuvolari’ track.

Sun block wasn't the only kind of preventative measure prevalent at Mantova as the opening corners were very crowded and restrictive; only those with the best launches out of the start gate (and able to stay on two wheels as crash scenes were frequent) prospered around the rippling sand and physically demanding surface. The final MXGP fixture before the summer break also drew some names like WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea and Dakar winner Nani Roma into the stands.

The Northern Irishman and Spaniard watched Desalle make two solid starts in the thirty minute and two lap MXGP motos. The Belgian posted just his second top three-race finish of the year in the opening sprint with an excellent runner-up spot. He then gobbled distance and time to Glenn Coldenhoff to pass the Dutchman and earn fourth. For the former championship runner-up it was the first uncorking of champagne with the factory Kawasaki and since building back into the season after a pre-season arm break. “I’ve been waiting for many races to be back here and have been working hard for it,” ‘25’ said. “I had a good feeling, and a good start was the key to a solid race. I’m not at my [full] level yet. I still need to work on myself and on the bike also. It is easy to get to 90% but we need that extra to fight for a podium and a win. We are on a good way and I’m really glad about that. During the second moto I wasn’t thinking about the podium because I was focussed on my riding so when I came across the finish and saw I was there then I was really happy.”

 

World Champion Romain Febvre was forced to miss the race in the wake of his concussion in Great Britain last weekend and was still not fit to compete in Italy. Teammate on the Monster Energy Yamaha, Jeremy Van Horebeek, was fifth overall. Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle had to fight back from a holed exhaust on Saturday that left him almost last in the gate for the motos. The Brit was then dismayed to discover he’d been disqualified from twelfth place in the first chase after being found to have cut the course, when GPS data from the team proved otherwise. Supercross star Chad Reed did not finish the first moto with an electrical problem and a small hand injury also impeded his participation at Mantova.

 

MX2 remained in the void of Dutch dominator Jeffrey Herlings but Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dylan Ferrandis weathered a tough day that included three falls in the first moto and hitting the gate in the second to amazingly take third overall. A four-rider bevy of position changes meant the last step of the rostrum was up for grabs until the final lap and Ferrandis’ recovery to sixth helped his with his fifth prize of the year. Kemea Yamaha’s Benoit Paturel was also in the hunt and the Frenchman made it to fifth in the GP classification.

 

“The weekend was not easy for me; some crashes and some struggles but we finished on the box so it turned out pretty good,” Ferrandis said. “I’m not too happy with my riding and some mistakes I made although to be healthy and end the day on the podium makes me happy.”

 

The Mantova support-card saw the fifth round of seven in the FIM Women’s World Championship and a first fantastic victory of 2016 for reigning number one Kiara Fontanesi. The Italian fulfilled her goals in a troubled season by claiming her home round and a track she has used for practice, training and for laps most of her life. ‘Fonta’ stated before the Grand Prix that she’d been anticipating to race Mantova at world championship level since the series was inaugurated in 2008. ‘8’ made sure that the wait was worthwhile by beating Larissa Papenmeier in the first moto and then running to third place on Sunday across a layout that was not easy for overtaking. “I rode here when I was a kid so when I saw this race was on the calendar I was really happy,” she offered. “My goal was to win both motos and the GP but it was not possible to get the second moto because of a bad start and the track was one-line. I got stuck behind two riders. I knew what I needed to do to win the GP and after some bad luck this year I just wanted to keep safe and bring it home. I have learned a lot in this championship; more so than in the ones I won and now we can keep working from here.”

 

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