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MXGP Valkenswaard 2019 Sunday race. Podium place for Jago Geerts en Clement Desalle

Desalle defies the odds and ruthless Dutch sand for first MXGP trophy of ‘19

Apr 032019

Watching most MXGP races can leave a jaw waggling loose. The speed, strength and seeming wilful abandon that elite level athletes display week-after-week borders on the staggering. At the Grand Prix of the Netherlands – round three of nineteen in the 2019 FIM World Championship – such scenes again inspired a degree of awe.

The shallow Valkenswaard sand was rough and rippled – a side effect of good weather in the southern region – and invited high speed from the world’s best but then also punished the smallest mistake. The terrain was gnarly and nasty.

While Tony Cairoli and Jorge Prado were able to master the conditions to maximum effect there was an eye-catching performance from Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle who walked the box for the first time this season.

What made the Belgian’s feat even more impressive was the fact that he conquered the surface and the majority of his peers with a 2-5 scorecard in the motos in spite of a painful left hand (as a consequence of a crash the previous weekend at the British Grand Prix) and a tweaked knee from the first race.

“I’m really happy as it’s not my favourite track and I was not expecting such a good result as I couldn’t train as I like during the week after my crash in Great Britain; I had pain in my hand and in my neck,” #25 said. “Yesterday I just took it step-by-step and did what I needed to do. Today was different; I got good starts, was feeling good and could come back to second position during the first race. But I hurt my knee during this race; between the motos we had to work with the physio and doctor so I was able to get another top five finish which gave me a first podium this season. We are now third in the championship and I’m really confident for the rest of the season after this podium.”


Once more – and against adversity – Desalle proved he is one of the grittiest performers in the MXGP pack. Not only is Clement in the minority as a ‘winningest’ racer in the premier class but also a valid title contender. There will be little chance for recuperation this week as the world championship barrels onto a third event in three weeks and the stony hard-pack of Pietramurata in Italy in just a few days time.


Over in MX2 and Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha’s Jago Geerts replicated Desalle maiden podium bow in 2019. The young Belgian displayed his sand acumen and buried memories of a tough British round seven days previously with the runner-up position behind Prado.


Italy now awaits.