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The spectacular Orlyonok track overlooking the Black Sea was host to the series for the first time and both the state-owned facility and the riders, teams and series organiser came through with flying colours as the track was battered by heavy storms and high humidity in rapid succession. Hot off his success in France two weeks earlier Desalle was a confident fourth in dry qualification and equally majestic in the wet on race day. A tactical misjudgement in gate pick saw the Belgian run seventh early in race one, but he methodically ran down the riders ahead of him to finish third, just five seconds behind the long-time leader. Amending his gate strategy for race two Clement immediately moved into a solid second place and maintained his challenge as the track dried dramatically in the humid conditions, taking over the lead three laps from the close. A clear overall winner on the day, he is now second in the series standings, just forty-seven points shy of the series leader as the championship enters its second half.
Teammate Jordi Tixier did not travel to Russia. The Frenchman aggravated the groin injury he sustained in Argentina in March when he crashed during midweek practice for his home GP two weeks ago; he battled through the pain so that he did not disappoint his home fans, but is now receiving treatment to return pain-free at a future date.
Clement Desalle: "Two in a row; that's really nice. Everything has to run for you in these conditions, but you can also make your own luck when you are a good mud rider. I didn't make a good start in the first race and was around seventh but I found my rhythm after a few laps to finish third. I changed my strategy for the start in race two and it worked well as I started second. I had one small crash in the waves but I did not lose my second place; I tried to stay calm and when Febvre crashed I took the #moto and the GP. It's important to be fast in all conditions and we are doing that; the team is working really well and we will try to keep the momentum going."
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