Belgian Clement Desalle made it two MXGP overall victories in a row by taking the top step of the podium at the muddy Russian GP at Orlyonok, just two weeks after taking the overall at the very different French GP. But it was also celebrations for Briton Max Anstie who took his best ever MXGP finish with a fantastic fourth overall.
In two races that were axle-deep in mud and really tricky to ride on the new Russian course, Desalle was third in the opener behind winner Jeffrey Herlings and red plate holder Tony Cairoli. Then second time out the Kawasaki man took the win from holeshot man Romain Febvre and Gautier Paulin as Herlings, who fell three times on the opening two laps, came back to eighth and Cairoli ninth.
That meant Desalle took the overall from Herlings and Paulin, who had been fifth in the opener. Desalle moved into second place in the championship, 47 points behind Cairoli and a single point in front of Paulin. Herlings is now 90 points behind the lead, in fourth place in the series.
Herlings had been in incredible form in the first moto, setting times up to five seconds a lap faster than anyone and winning by a huge 19 seconds. But he crashed in the first corner of moto two and went down twice more in the opening few laps as he tried to cut through the pack. So eighth was a fine result in that heat.
Febvre led the second moto until he went to lap Herlings, catching his back wheel and going down. That gave Desalle the chance to slip by and take the win.
But British eyes were on Max Anstie who had his best ever MXGP results to take fourth overall, courtesy of fourth then fifth place finishes. He missed his first MXGP podium by just two points, and drew level on the day with Tony Cairoli. But Anstie got the nod due to his better second moto finish. Anstie had been challenging for third place in the second moto early on but dropped to fifth.