GEERTS CLAIMS MAIDEN GP VICTORY
Jago Geerts clinched his maiden GP victory in the first round of the FIM World Championship MX2, in Matterley Basin. The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 rider will go to Valkenswaard as world championship leader next week. Teammate Ben Watson had a tough weekend, finishing 15th.
Geerts, who was third fastest in time practice on Saturday, didn't get his best start in the first moto after a slow reaction at the gate. The Belgian recovered well and managed to gain some places in the first corner. Geerts was already riding in fifth position after the first lap, two places in front of his teammate Ben Watson. The Brit rode a consistent race. He lost one place after four laps, but fought back, in the end, finishing seventh.
Meanwhile, Geerts was on a mission. Mewse was the first victim of his 'hit list', quickly followed by Boisrame and Hofer. One rider left to catch: leader Vialle. Geerts kept a good pace and slowly came closer. When the Frenchman started to make mistakes and stole his bike, Geerts didn't hesitate a second. He took the lead and the second moto win in his career, after Saint-Jean d'Angély in 2019.
Geerts got a much better start in the second race when he entered the first turn right behind Hofer. When Geerts tried to pass the Austrian in lap 3, things went wrong. The Belgian made a big crash, landed hard on his shoulder and dropped back to ninth position. Geerts didn't panic and started a catch-up race, as he needed at least a fifth-place to take the overall win. Not an easy job, but Geerts was really on fire on his YZ250FM and he passed Forato, Boisrame, Beaton, Renaux and even Olsen to finish fourth in race 2... and take the overall victory. His first GP victory and only the second for The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team, after Benoit Paturel in Switzerland in 2017.
Meanwhile, Ben Watson was really unlucky. His rear brake was already broken in the first lap, which made it impossible to get a good result (22nd place).
#193 Jago Geerts
1st place overall
"This is a great way to start my 2020 campaign. A lot of people were complaining about the heavy rainfall, except me. I like these kinds of conditions. The track got difficult and more technical, which suited me very well. In the first race, I got a small gift from Vialle when he crashed. But I did the same in the second race. It was a pretty big crash, my shoulder is still sore, but the adrenaline kept me going. It's great to have this first GP victory under my belt. It's a nice start of the season, but no more than that. We still have 19 Grand Prix to go. It's still a very long and difficult road. Next up is Valkenswaard. One of my favorite tracks. I'm really looking forward to that."
#919 Ben Watson
15th place overall
"This was not the best weekend... After missing bike time the last weeks with my hand injury I needed to be able to ride as much as possible this weekend. Unfortunately, the schedule was changed Saturday and there was not a lot of bike time. In race 1 I worked my way forward after a bad start but got very tight. I took a better start in race 2, but unfortunately, I had a bike issue during the first lap. My rear brake lost all the fluid. I had to ride with no brake, which was a struggle. I continued to ride and push as much as I could to maybe get some points... Anyway, it’s the first race and a long season still ahead."
"With Prado gone, we knew that Geerts is one of the fastest guys on the track. And that's what he showed in the first race. In the second race, he was making some small mistakes, which resulted in a big crash. But he showed a lot of determination and fought back to get that first overall win. This is a nice way to start the championship, but we still have a very long way to go. We need to stay humble and work hard. Watson had a tough weekend. His first race was good, but he was very unlucky in the second moto. Without a rear brake, it's impossible to get a good result on this track."
First race1. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) in 36:43.110
6. BEN WATSON (GBR/Yam) +0:25.937
Second race4. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +0:07.568
6. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +1:48.937
Overall & World Championship classification1. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 43
6. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 14
Next race: March 8, GP2 Valkenswaard (Ned)
Images by @yamahaofficialracing.com - @shotbybavo - CDS