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MXGP, Kegums, LATVIA, 13 Maj 2018

Clement Desalle fourth in Latvia

Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team strengthened his hold on third place in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship standings with fourth place at Kegums in Latvia.

The rugged track, strong sunshine and the thin northern air tested the world's best motocrossers to their limits but Desalle came through with flying colours as he raced with great resilience to charge into the top five of each moto. The choice of starting gate was rendered difficult as there were unsighted soft patches in the sandy surface on the fast straight to the first turn and the Belgian found himself around eighth place after the initial sort-out. He quickly showed his class and determination to advance to fifth place in race one, and was even stronger in race two as he moved forward decisively in the second half of the race from sixth place to take over fourth for a time before slipping off as he tried to chase down the rider in third for a pass which would have given him his fifth podium in seven GPs to date this season. Her was nevertheless fourth overall on the day and has extended his advantage over his closest chaser for third in the standings to twenty-one points.
Clement Desalle: “I'm happy to be going home safe; the track was already rough yesterday and today it was even tougher. It was easy to lose a lot on this track, and once more the start was very important. In the first race I didn’t get such a good start - around eighth position - but I came through to fifth without taking any unnecessary risks. The second start was similar but I made some small mistakes at the beginning before I found a good rhythm and good lines in the second half of the race to come back into the top five. I even passed Gajser for fourth and Paulin was not so far so I knew that the podium was possible but I slid out in a corner and crashed. Twice fifth, fourth overall, it’s a decent weekend and we look forward to Germany.”
KRT teammate Julien Lieber had the misfortune to crash with another rider during the previous day's qualifying race and the incident left him with twenty-third choice of gate, a great handicap, for both points-scoring motos. Nevertheless the twenty-three year old Belgian knuckled down to the task in hand to advance to eleventh in the opening moto and went one better in race two to secure ninth overall in the GP and maintain his top ten world ranking in the series standings.
Julien Lieber: “It was not my best GP so far - but also not the worst - with another top ten result. Yesterday I struggled to find my speed, and in the qualifying race I crashed pretty hard with another rider so I couldn’t qualify better than twenty-third. It's always difficult to take a good start here from an outside gate, but I came back to eleventh in the first moto and I found an even better rhythm in the second race. I had a good speed and had just passed three riders in one lap when Butron hit me! I lost the positions that I had just earned but I didn’t give up and came back to tenth at the finish.”
Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing finished fifteenth overall in the GP, missing a top ten moto result by less than two seconds in race two, and teammate Maxime Desprey also scored four world championship points on a track very different to those he would encounter back home in France.