Belgian GP hero Kevin Strijbos convincingly won all three races of the International Motocross of Mantova, the first of three pre-season races that his Rockstar Energy Suzuki team will attend in the coming weeks.
Both Strijbos and team-mate Clement Desalle showed good form in the Saturday qualifying heat with third and second position respectively, Desalle winning the final Superpole race with Strijbos eighth.
But it was Strijbos who shone on Sunday, winning the crowd-pleasing one-on-one race at noon, in which he skilfully passed Max Nagl (Honda) who had taken the holeshot.
In the first moto, the new Rockstar Energy Suzuki rider took the holeshot, followed by Desalle, and maintained this order until the flag. In the second heat Strijbos got third around the first corner, but passed Xavier Boog (KTM) and Tanel Leok (Honda) for the win. Desalle missed his start, but worked his way back to finish fourth.
The third and final heat almost didn’t end well for Desalle after a mid-air collision with Nagl saw both of them go down heavily. Luckily, Desalle walked away unscathed, but lost his challenge for a possible podium finish.
Strijbos had a slower start, but took the lead from Evgeny Bobryshev, giving him an impeccable 1-1-1 result and a perfect start to his 2013 season.
Said Strijbos: “I’m a bit surprised at how the weekend went. Saturday I was struggling quite a bit to find a rhythm and set good lap times. But on Sunday I started off good by winning the one-on-one race, had a couple of good starts in the heat races and found a really good rhythm that worked all day. I’m happy I could win the race, but also learned in which areas I can still work towards at the first GP.”
Said Desalle: “Apart from crashing with Max Nagl in the last race, my weekend went fine. It was good to get into racing again, plus we learned some good things after trying some different bike set-ups. I’m also happy to walk away from the crash uninjured and I hope Max will be fine too but it’s not the way I hope to end the weekend. I’ll resume my training program and work towards the first GP.”
RESULTS FROM THE MANTOVA STARCROSS
Heat 1: 1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL – Suzuki) 20:17.364 – 2. Clement Desalle (BEL – Suzuki) 20:28.364 – 3. Gaultier Paulin (FR – Kawasaki) 20:30.667 – 4. Jeremy Vanhorebeek (BEL – Kawasaki) 20:37.547 – 5. Max Nagl (GER – Honda) 20:46.841.
Heat 2: 1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL – Suzuki) 20:39.732 – 2. Tanel Leok (EST – Honda) 20:49.561 – 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS – Honda) 20:55.405 – 4. Clement Desalle (BEL – Suzuki) 20:57.875 – 5. Xavier Boog (FR – KTM) 20:59.460.
Heat 3: 1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL – Suzuki) 20:43.410 – 2. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS – Honda) 20:44.889 – 3. Xavier Boog (FR – KTM) 20:57.367 – 4. Jeremy Vanhorebeek (BEL – Kawasaki) 21:00.869 – 5. Gautier Paulin (FR – Kawasaki) 21:04.123.
Overall results: 1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL – Suzuki) 75pts. 2. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS – Honda) 52pts. 3. Tanel Leok (EST – Honda) 52pts. 4. Jeremy Vanhorebeek (BEL – Kawasaki) 51pts. 5. Gautier Paulin (FR – Kawasaki) 50pts. 6. Xavier Boog (FR – KTM) 45pts. 7. Clement Desalle (BEL – Suzuki) 42pts.