Steve Ramon will be a factory Suzuki rider in 2011 after confirming a one-year agreement with the Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1 team shortly before sealing his seventh national title by finishing second overall at a dry but cloudy Pierreux on Sunday for the final round of the 2010 Belgian championship.
The 30-year-old won a moto and was third in the other at the rough-and-rutted track close to Liege. Rainfall in the days prior to the meeting had created a slick and churned surface and Ramon rode sensibly on his Factory RM-Z450WS in two entertaining outings to claim his fifth domestic open class (MX1) accolade to compliment the two won in the old 125cc category.
Ramon completed a decent week in which he grabbed his first World Championship chequered flag of 2010 at the last Grand Prix of the season at Fermo, Italy last Sunday – thereby confirming fifth position in the final MX1 standings and inked a deal that will see him negotiate a sixth season as a Suzuki rider in 2011 and then wrap up the Belgian crown in which he won six motos from 12; and three rounds of six.
Ramon lifted the number one plate at Pierreux and teammate and 2010 World Championship number two Clement Desalle was also in the mix.
Fermo victor Desalle, who passed the Belgian title onto Ramon after celebrating in 2009, was seventh in the opening sprint (after a last lap tumble) but withdrew from the second with a view towards preserving his fitness for his second representation for Team Belgium at the Motocross of Nations next week.
“It’s been a perfect week,” said Ramon. “I had a 31-point lead coming into the race and that was because of some decent results earlier in the season. I think this was one of my best championships as the racing was good and against some good opposition. I really enjoyed myself and although the track was a little tricky today, with many ruts and slippery parts, I did what was needed to make sure of the title.
“I am really happy to stay another year and it was an easy decision because I work well with the team, the bike is very good; and we all get along. I think we have had some good seasons together and I’m pleased we will have another one,” Ramon added, regarding his new contract and who – aside from his neck fracture in 2009 – has yet to drop out of the top five in a world championship finish for the Belgian crew since he joined in 2006.
“We wanted some stability for next year and keeping Steve as a second rider was a show of loyalty from us and in the end was a straightforward decision,” commented Team Principal Sylvain Geboers.
“If he makes a season without any significant injury then he is still a title contender and he works well with Clement and the team – and this is important. I’m very pleased with the two riders we will have for 2011 and we will now work to continue the good organisation that surrounds them.”
With their international and national commitments for 2010 now honoured, Rockstar Teka Suzuki WMX1 will see both Ramon (MX Open) and Desalle (MX1) fly the flag for their team and country on the biggest stage with the 64th Motocross of Nations next weekend at Thunder Valley, Lakewood, Colorado.