Clement Desalle has been a benchmark for others to measure themselves by in MXGP for the last fifteen years but the GP of Garda-Trentino this weekend will mark the end of his outstanding career.
With twenty-three GP wins, thirty-five moto wins and eighty-two GP podiums, the thirty-one-year-old has been one of the most successful riders of his era. He never claimed the ultimate prize of an individual world title but he ended in the top three of the premier off-road world series no less than six times and won Gold with Team Belgium at the 2013 Motocross of Nations.
When Clement joined the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team in 2016 he was one of the elite riders capable of winning GPs and challenging for the title. For five full seasons he put all his energy to help the team to perform to the highest level and provided the best advice to the factory in order to be ever more competitive. Despite several injuries during these five seasons Clément gave the team excellent results with four GP wins, eighteen podiums and an MXGP world championship bronze medal in 2018.
The thirty-one-year-old Belgian from La Louvière, between Mons and Charleroi near the French frontier in the south of the country, officially announced last month that he would retire following the final GP of the current season, his fifteenth as a professional rider; that moment arrives this weekend with the MXGP of Garda Trentino at the dramatic Pietramurata track where he celebrated victory in 2014 and has already recorded his most recent GP moto victory just one week ago. Kawasaki thanks Clément for his commitment to the Green family throughout the past five seasons and wishes him all the best for the future in both his professional career and private life.
Clément Desalle: ”I always had a good relationship with François (Lemariey) who was my mechanic earlier in my career; when I signed for Kawasaki I was delighted to work with him again. It has always been really important for me to be happy in my working environment and to have a good feeling with the people around me. I’m really proud with the job we’ve done together. Of course I would have liked to have offered Kawasaki yet more race wins, more podiums, more GP wins and even a world title as I’ve been working for this all my life. After Latvia I started to ask myself questions about my future and made a decision; just before Spain I was sure of my decision and announced that I would retire at the end of this season. I will miss racing of course, but I have a big passion for motocross and for sure I will still ride bikes.”
Steve Guttridge: (Kawasaki Europe Racing Manager) “Since joining the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2016 Clement has always been the complete professional. We needed a top rider who could provide consistent and intelligent feedback to the team and factory to help us develop the KX450 in the best direction and Clement has always delivered his best in both testing and racing results, season-after-season. I think it’s fair to say that he has done a great job overall as our current production model is the best ever! So from Kawasaki side we would all like to wish Clement and his family the very best of health and happiness in the next stage of their lives together and we hope that in some form he can stay close to the sport of motocross he loves so much.”
Antonio Cairoli: “I really enjoyed the second moto last Sunday with Clement; it was like five or ten years ago when we battled together all the time in the race. It was nice to see him up front again; it’s a shame he won’t be with us next year but I want to say huge congratulations to him on a magnificent career from both myself and the entire team and wish him a great future. “
Jeffrey Herlings: “Congrats on a great career! You were so difficult to pass; a real warrior and fighter. The moment I knew you were the next guy I had to pass I was like ‘how can I do it?”. I know we never spoke much but I have always had the highest respect for you. Enjoy the next chapter of your life.”