Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1's Clement Desalle displayed what is now becoming a ruthless streak in qualification for the third time from six events in the FIM Motocross World Championship by earning Pole Position for the Grand Prix of Portugal.
The Agueda circuit, 80km south of Porto was dry, bumpy, slippery and challenging but the Belgian made a minor modification to his front suspension, set the second best lap-time in pre-qualification and then claimed victory in the Qualification Heat. Desalle shrugged off the presence of Max Nagl and applied a lot of pressure to the rear wheel of Evgeny Bobryshev until the Russian made a mistake and crashed.
Desalle picked up his third Lovemytime award to add to the spoils taken in the USA and France last week. Team-mate Steve Ramon also adjusted his front forks to deal with the quest for smoother lines. The Belgian made a reasonable start but did not feel completely prepared to push harder from the sixth position he held in the Heat sprint.
The sunshine and bright conditions are predicted to continue for tomorrow's race-day and the first leg of two events on the Iberian Peninsula.
"I'm feeling confident. It is a good track but different to previous years. You have to be careful because even the slightest mistake will put you on the floor. There doesn't seem to be as much traction as in the past, you really have to concentrate. I was coming closer and closer to Bobryshev in the race when he made that strange crash. We went one click different on the front fork but the bike has been good all day."
"My riding was OK for today. We had a small problem with the bike in timed practice and I had to use the second one. Everything was back to normal for the race and the Heat was OK but I didn't feel so comfortable. I couldn't push that much. The track is difficult and bumpy. We still have a little bit of work for tomorrow morning and the warm-up."
MX1 Qualification Heat result:
1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 23:47.136;
2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:02.201;
3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:10.027;
4. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), +0:13.494;
5. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:18.378;
6. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:20.886;
7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:24.779;
8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Honda), +0:31.571;
9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:32.017;
10. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Kawasaki), +0:35.418;
[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Suzuki Racing]