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Kiara Fontanesi at the 2018 Grand Prix of Netherlands

Fontanesi looks into reflection of another championship medal after Assen double

Sep 172018

On a day when Jeffrey Herlings kicked off celebrations in front of his home fans at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands to become the first Dutch premier class FIM Motocross World Champion this century, Yamaha’s Kiara Fontanesi took a massive stride in the Assen sand in a bid to become WMX No.1 for the sixth time.

The bumpy and slippery Assen sand completed a dress rehearsal for the 2019 Monster Energy Motocross of Nations by staging the penultimate meeting of 2018 MXGP and hosting the Dutch stop for the fourth time in a row. The vast grandstand that snakes from the Geert Timmer Chicane of the old, famous asphalt racetrack and runs all the way down the main straight was full of fans keen to see Herlings’ coronation but also one of the last episodes of MXGP this year.

Competing in the two FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship motos on Saturday and Sunday mornings Fontanesi produced the first show of competence in the meeting by running to a 1-1 scorecard. With main rival Courtney Duncan bitterly disappointed to be out of the series due to a foot injury, Fonta had to deal with Larissa Papenmeier and Nancy Van der Ven but again used her determination and ability to conjure the right result at the right time to forge an 8 point lead with just one round of the WMX contest to go.

“It’s experience as well: I’m getting ‘old’ or getting some old ways!” she smiled. “I wanted to be consistent this year but we made a lot of mistakes…and not all from me because we changed a lot on the bike. We must have worked a full month on the 2018 YZ250F so we could arrive at the last two rounds of this series ready to fight and give 100% - no matter the points difference. Two rounds ago we switched to the 2019 model! It meant we lost that work but physically I felt really good and we won both motos here. I couldn't even imagine [having] these results because in the past years Assen has been a disaster for me but I felt good and confident.”


The five times world champion defied pain with her ankle ligaments to get the job done. She now heads into yet another last-round-last-race showdown – her third from the five titles won so far – but knows how to handle pressure.


“That's what my Dad said to me yesterday,” she commented. “He rarely talks to me before the race but he said ‘we have nothing to lose and we don't have to prove anything to anybody. We are here just to make you happy’. That's exactly what I was thinking and I’m happy when I can go out there and do what I like and give my best. That's all I did this weekend. I forgot about where we are, who was on the track and the championship. Today I had a lot of fun and when that happens I win. It would be amazing to do that again in Italy in front of all my fans. If it happens then the championship also comes.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle is close to confirming his position as world No.3 in MXGP after taking a steady 8th place overall; the Belgian is 20 points ahead of Tim Gajser and the firmer ground of the Italian Grand Prix could see #25 back in podium contention.


From one historic motorsport facility to another: Imola welcomes MXGP for the very first time in just two weeks to drop the curtain on the championship, and instigate a minor rush for all the principal Grand Prix stars to get over to RedBud in Michigan for the 72nd Nations.