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Guillod proving his class in his quest for a permanent MXGP ride in 2023

Mixing it near the front and showing immense speed, Valentin Guillod emphatically underlined his class throughout the MXGP of Turkiye.

Making his intentions known ahead of the qualifying race that he’s desperate to secure a full-time MXGP ride for next season, the former MX2 contender gave a brilliant audition for any potential suitors.

“I expect nothing, I just ride like I know how to ride a bike. Then, if people want to contact me for next year I’m free. I’m happy that you came here for the interview,” he explained to MXGP-TV.

“I’m very happy with the job I’m doing with my trainer Yves Demaria and my mechanic. We are here to show my real level. This year was a year to rebuild myself. I still have a lot of improvement. You know, when it’s like five years you are on holiday away (from the front in MXGP), it takes a really long time to come back to a high level. But I’m proving every weekend that I’m coming back.

“So this winter I’m coming back with some good training and hopefully there’s some nice stuff to do next year.”

Looking rapid throughout the weekend, not only was he the fastest man in the warm up before the races and second fastest in free practice, but he also bagged sixth in timed practice and seventh in the qualifying race.

Relishing the hard pack, fast track conditions that suit him superbly, the iXS hostettler Yamaha pilot importantly translated his pace into the motos. Getting a solid jump out of the gate in the opening race to propel himself into seventh, Guillod immediately settled in with the lead group, as he battled with the frontrunners in the early exchanges.

Clearly feeling comfortable, handling the tempo and riding with authority, it wasn’t long before he made moves on factory stars Glenn Coldenhoff and Romain Febvre to maraud into fourth. Although Febvre got him back shortly after to push him back to fifth, next in his sights was Team HRC Honda’s Mitch Evans.

Engaging in an entertaining tussle with the popular Aussie, Guillod then eventually snuck down the inside of Evans 20 minutes in before turning his focus back to chasing Febvre.

Pursuing the Kawasaki pilot with intensity and aggression, a slip from the Frenchman allowed Guillod to breeze by into third, in a race where he strikingly recorded the third fastest lap time behind only Tim Gajser and Maxime Renaux.

Unfortunately, though, with a coveted podium finish in his grasp, he suffered an untimely crash on the last lap while duelling with Gajser, thus demoting him back to sixth.

Frustratingly, there were echoes of his misstep from Sweden when he fell while battling with Febvre on the last lap to relegate him from sixth to ninth.

Eager to produce another statement ride in the final moto of the day, all the signs were positive when he started decently in 10th and then swiftly scorched up to sixth. But that would be as high as he got, for the likes of Coldenhoff, Alberto Forato and Renaux went through near the halfway point. To his credit, however, the 29-year-old kept pushing and giving his all even though fatigue was setting in to finish a credible ninth.

Cutting a content figure after his terrific body of work, where his 6-9 earned him eighth overall, he had every reason to be satisfied with his riding and results. “It was a very positive weekend,” he explained.

“It takes a long time to get back to a good level, but we are there now. I was riding around the top five all weekend – I am very happy about my speed. I was riding great in the first race; it is just a shame that I crashed and dropped to P6 on the last lap. I struggled a bit, physically, in the second race, but finishing ninth was another good result. Eighth overall on the day shows everyone that I am coming back.”

Completing his best effort of the select rounds he attended this term to accompany his eye-catching pair of 10th overalls in Czech Republic and Sweden and 12th in Spain, the man who also got a holeshot in Sweden has demonstrated he belongs at the elite level.

Stamping his mark and proving that he’s ready for a full assault on MXGP in 2023, Guillod will be eager to put his best foot forward for Team Switzerland at the Motocross of Nations at RedBud at the end of the month too – where another positive effort would well and truly put him in the shop window to secure a permanent ride for next season.