The Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team enjoyed a confident final preparation for the FIM World Motocross Championship, and both Clement Desalle and Julien Lieber show a strong potential.
Clément Desalle sped to fourth fastest time in morning qualification before taking a confident holeshot in the opening MX1 moto to confirm the team’s hard work during the winter. Aware of the need to avoid the risk of injury just one week before the opening GP he wisely decided not to resist as an energetic rival cast caution to the wind but was still a solid second until his path was blocked by a lapped rider on the final lap and the rider holding third place until then was able to sneak past. With the sun already low on the horizon for the second moto and the Super Final vision was impaired at many places around the track; a fall as his front wheel found an unseen hole pushed Clement back to ninth in the second MX1 race and he was content with sixth place in the Super Final.
Teammate Julien Lieber needed time to settle during practice and could only salvage thirteenth gate pick on the final lap of the final session. This cost him any chance of a good start during the racing and the Lacapelle track is notoriously difficult to pass on, but Julien remained concentrated all day to advance all day and record eighth, seventh and ninth places during the three races.
Clément Desalle: “I had a good feeling in the first race and took the holeshot, but somewhere in your brain you know that it’s a pre-season race and you don’t want to take too many risks just before the first GP. In the first moto I knew that Paulin was determined and he passed me. I was second until we came up on some lappers during the last lap; one of them was on my line and Febvre was able to pass me in the penultimate corner. The feeling with the track was not that great in the second race and with the sun coming down I didn’t see a hole before a jump and crashed. The vision was still a problem with the sunset in the last race, but overall I felt comfortable on the bike and it was a good training before Argentina.”
Julien Lieber: “I was tense during the timed practice session and didn’t got a good lap so I was outside on the gate. We changed some settings on the bike for the races but my starts were not so good from my gate pick; it was not easy to pass but my speed was good and we learnt a lot this weekend. It was good to have a race before the first GP; now we’re ready for Argentina!”