For four years MXGP had evaded the severe gradients of the Sevlievo circuit in Bulgaria but the seventeenth round of twenty in 2018 - and a fascinating series that is rapidly winding down - headed back into the hillsides for another hot and demanding episode of MXGP.
The remote but spectacular location was another showcase for the exceptional talent of Jeffrey Herlings but it was the engaging battle for the other podium spots that also caught the eye of the fans at Sevlievo and through TV screens.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Romain Febvre served up the bulk of the entertainment fare once more and their first moto duel was close quarters action won by Desalle. A repeat in the second race was ruled out when Febvre lost the front end of the Yamaha in one of the tricky downhill right-handers. The Frenchman battled back to fifth place overall but it was his Belgian rival that uncorked the champagne for the seventh time in 2018. Desalle is looking formidable in his bid to secure the bronze medal for the campaign. He has a 32 point window over 2016 champ Tim Gajser who was runner-up at Sevlievo.