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Clement Desalle at the 2018 Grand Prix of Turkey

Desalle bouncing on the 3s after Turkish MXGP delight

Sep 032018

MXGP found more heat at the brand new circuit of Afyon for the Grand Prix of Turkey and the near 35 degree temperatures was matched by some intense speed and scenes across the hard-pack as the FIM World Championship entertained for the eighteenth time this year.

Quick, spectacular and inviting for passes and pace, Afyon was the epitome of modern relentless motocross racing and rewarded hot starts and a brave throttle hand. Jeffrey Herlings and Thomas Covington ran out winners in the two classes despite the efforts of Tim Gajser and Pauls Jonass to make life extra sweaty.

The price of misfortune on such a pacey and vast layout was paid by Monster Energy Yamaha’s Romain Febvre on Saturday after a heavy crash saw the Frenchman counted out - and also for the weekend - with a concussion. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle knew when to push and when to guard in the two steamy motos on Sunday. The experienced Belgian clocked a 4-3 scorecard (and a holeshot) to make his third consecutive podium appearance and holds the distinction of shining the most silverware this season after the KTM duo of Herlings and Tony Cairoli with eight appearances on the rostrum steps.

Crucially for Desalle the points earned under the Afyon sunshine means he guards a cushion of almost 30 over Gajser in his quest for a top three championship result and with just two rounds and a maximum of 100 left on the table.


"I’m really happy with my third podium in a row,” said Desalle. “I didn’t feel so good yesterday because this new track was so fast and we were on the limit but the track developed really well through the weekend; today it was really technical and I felt better every time I rode. The team has been working really hard on small details to get us ever closer to the win but it is not easy against Herlings.”

In MX2 114 Motorsport Honda’s Hunter Lawrence narrowly missed out on his third champagne spray in a row after tying on points with Thomas Kjer Olsen for third place overall but losing out on account of the second moto ranking. The 250 riders put on a dramatic and often-chaotic show with close contest, plastic-scraping and even mid-air crashes between the leaders. Ben Watson used the grunt of the 2019 Yamaha YZ250F to scramble to two 4th positions in the wake of his first ever selection for Team GBR at the upcoming annual curtain-closing MXoN.


MXGP has hit the afterburner in recent weeks with trips to Switzerland, Bulgaria and Turkey and now takes a well-earned respite ahead of the two final jousts of 2018 in Holland and Italy. The permanent, historic and famous motorsport circuits of Assen and Imola will drop the curtain on a long campaign before the attention of the off-road motorcycle racing community turns to RedBud, Michigan for the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations.