The Belgian took his works RM-Z450WS to a distant top-three finish at the 13th round of 15 in the FIM Motocross World Championship. In seventh place was team-mate Steve Ramon as both Belgians searched for the best lines and rhythm across a brand new facility.
The track is a twisting course of jumps and hard-pack. Constant watering in a failed attempt to contain the dust created soft and hard areas as well as deep ruts that slowly increased the technical demands of the terrain as the day wore on. The short spring day in Brazil meant that the Saturday timetable had been pushed forward one hour to accommodate the dipping sun that created an extra peril in terms of poor visibility.
Hardly altering the set-up of his factory machine, Desalle recovered from a second practice session fall to go fourth fastest and then recovered from a reasonable start in the 20 minute heat to beat Xavier Boog. Ramon was a little further back and still wishes to experiment with his suspension settings to best tackle the evolving dirt.
"The track was strange in the first session. It was 'too new' and needed more wear. I had a crash in pre-qualification that bent the bars but had enough time afterwards to go out and set the fourth best lap for the qualification heat. The track was dangerous for the race. I found that I couldn't see more than 10 metres in front of me. I took it easy and didn't want to push over the limit when I wasn't 100% confident."
"Today went OK and the track is good with some nice jumps but in the end it became too dusty and was too dangerous. I did not go full-gas because in some places I couldn't see anything. The start will be important tomorrow because the track will be watered and might be different; there are already some technical sections coming through with the ruts and bumps. I don't feel completely comfortable on the bike yet so perhaps we will try a few small changes for tomorrow."
MX1 Qualification Heat Result: 1. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 25:07.946; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:00.275; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1), +0:21.186; 4. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:25.829; 5. Tanel Leok (EST, Honda), +0:28.645; 6. Rui Goncalves (POR, KTM), +0:29.326; 7. Steve Ramon (BEL, Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1), +0:38.221; 8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:44.053; 9. Jimmy Albertson (USA, Honda), +0:48.269; 10. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Aprilia), +0:58.502.