The second major International event of the European motocross calendar occurred under bright but cloudy conditions at the hard-pack and slippery Valence circuit in France, south of Lyon and Teka Suzuki Europe World MX2’s Ken Roczen won the MX2 class with 3rd and 1st positions in the two motos, before scoring 10th in the Superfinal that saw a mix of 450 and 250 machinery.
Roczen took his works RM-Z250 to the top of the podium for his first attempt at the Valence meeting and for the first time in 2010 as Teka Suzuki World MX1’s Steve Ramon was third overall on his RM-Z450 in the MX1 division.
Still using the pre-season meetings as chances for testing and training, Roczen, and team-mate Arnaud Tonus, ran plenty of laps in the practice sessions and steadily worked on their speed at a chilly Valence. The teenage German, the sensation of the 2009 FIM MX2 World Championship, was consistently one of the top three fastest on race day. He rode to 3rd in the first race before carefully picking his lines and beating World Champion Marvin Musquin in the second. He was the third highest-ranked MX2 rider in the Superfinal.
“I am happy because I did not come here expecting to win and had also felt sick last week which meant that I could not ride much; the weather hadn’t helped us either,” the 15 year old said. “Both the bike and I are on a good level, not the level we want for Bulgaria and the first Grand Prix but we are on the way. We used this meeting for further mileage and training and it went well. It is good to see we are pretty competitive already.”
Steve Ramon rode to 12th, 2nd and 2nd in the sprints and led for a section of the last moto. The Belgian weathered some difficult moments with arm-pump in the formative stages but emerged with a podium finish for his efforts.
“I am quite pleased with the result because I suffered a bit with arm-pump again during the Timed Practice and also the first moto,” said Ramon. “My start was not great for the first race and I found I could not really push, so I rode my own speed. We made a change to the bike for the second moto and I was riding a bit more relaxed and could find a better rhythm. The last race was the best for me. I started in the top five and was leading for a while until Cairoli came through. I could stay on his wheel until the finish, so I was happy with that at this stage in the year.”
Team-mate on the factory RM-Z450, Clement Desalle, had an eventful day. The Belgian champion, in his second appearance in Teka colours, was 7th overall with a best finish of 3rd in Moto1. A poor opening phase of the next race meant he had to recover from the lower top ten to claim 5th and his event was prematurely ended in the Superfinal with two crashes. The second of which caused his retirement with a painful arm.
“The first moto was the best, I took third. Then I was fifth in the next one after a start that was not so good,” commented Desalle. “In the last race I had the holeshot and was leading for two or three laps until I lost the front wheel in one of the corners. I recovered to the top five after five laps but the slippery track caught me again and I hurt my left arm. At the moment it seems to be nothing more than muscular pain. Hawkstone Park is next for me after some days testing in France.”
Tonus was pushing hard for positions in the second MX2 race after taking 10th at the first time of asking. The young Swiss rider made a mistake and lost two places and then was lucky to emerge relatively unscathed from a frightening looking accident only a few corners later.
The Teka Suzuki teams will remain in southern France for testing this week before attempting the Hawkstone Park International in England on March 7th.
Valence International results:
MX1: 1. Antonio Cairoli, 2. David Philippaerts, 3. Steve Ramon (Suzuki), 4. Anthony Boissiere, 5. Seb Pourcel. 7. Clement Desalle (Suzuki).
MX2: 1. Ken Roczen (Suzuki), 2. Marvin Musquin, 3. Steven Frossard, 4. Gautier Paulin, 5. Valentine Teillet. 16. Arnaud Tonus (Suzuki).
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