Briton Ben Watson took his best ever finish in an MXGP qualifying race with a fighting fourth place in the MX2 class at Ottobiano in Italy, after fending off a battling Benoit Paturel on the final few laps.
Hitachi KTM man Watson had a great start on the sandy track, holding fourth on the opening lap behind Thomas Covington, Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado who soon fell.
Covington then led from Jonass with Watson in third, but he eventually got passed by Thomas Kjer-Olsen for third.
Watson held fourth until the flag despite pressure from Yamaha man Paturel who couldn;t make any passing attempts stick.
Talking about the brutally hot conditions, American Husky ace Covington said: “It was brutal – really hot out there. I was used to it when I was a kid but haven’t trained in it for five years or so now!”