- Geerts third in Valkenswaard after impressive recovery -
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory rider Jago Geerts finished third in round 2 of the FIM World Championship MX2 in Valkenswaard. The Belgian teenager won the first moto and finished seventh in moto two after an astonishing catch-up race. Teammate Ben Watson finished fifth on the wet and brutal Dutch track.
Valkenswaard was hit by a lot of rain on Sunday, which made the Eurocircuit even more brutal than normal. Geerts had a mediocre start – around 8th place – in the first moto, but already gained three places in the first lap. Meanwhile, Vialle led the way, followed by Renaux and Beaton. Geerts didn’t want to rush things, had a plan in mind and timed it to perfection. By lap 7 he was already riding in second position, six seconds down on race leader Vialle. The Belgian carefully passed some back markers and started to hunt the Frenchman. With only two minutes and two laps to go, Geerts overtook Vialle and won his second race of the season with a 13 second advantage over his French rival. Teammate Ben Watson rode a very consisting race. The Brit started in seventh place, found a good rhythm and finished fifth.
No mission impossible
Geerts got off to a great start in the second race (third position), but made a mistake in the second turn and suffered a big crash. His ribs were hurting and he needed some time to find his breath back. Geerts remounted his YZ250FM as dead last, almost a full lap down, for what seemed to be a mission impossible to still get some championship points. But the Belgian showed a lot of determination and rushed through the pack in a spectacular way, finishing seventh, taking 14 valuable championship points and the third spot overall.
Ben Watson started in seventh position and needed 15 minutes to find a good rhythm in the second race of the day. Halfway the race the Brit felt more comfortable on the heavy track and started to move forward, passing Boisrame, Mewse, Sydow and in the end Langenfelder to finish fourth in the moto and fifth overall.
Geerts is now second in the world championship MX2, only five points behind the new leader Vialle. Watson made a big step forward in the championship standings: from 15th to 8th position.
#193 Jago Geerts
3rd place overall
“Of course I’m a bit disappointed, because that crash in the second race ruined my chances to win the Grand Prix. It was a big crash, my ribs were hurting and I needed almost a minute to recover, to breath normal again. Once I got going again, there was only one thing on my mind: try to get as most points as possible. I finished seventh, not bad at all, after being almost one lap down. Of course, it’s a bit of a shame that I lost the red plate, but the season is still long. Nothing has been lost yet.”
#919 Ben Watson
5th place overall
“I had two pretty good starts, which made the job a bit easier on this really heavy track. I had two races without a crash, without major problems, kept a good speed until the end and finished fifth overall. I’m really happy with that result. I missed a lot of bike time during the build up of the season. I knew I would need a couple of weeks to get into the right rhythm. This weekend was already a lot better than last week. I can build from there. And maybe the most important: I didn’t have pain at all in my hand.”
“I have mixed feelings after this Grand Prix. Jago was the fastest and could have won. His first moto was perfectly timed. Unfortunately, he crashed at the start of the second moto. His catch up race was really impressive. I was hoping to score maybe one point, but Jago took 14 points! Incredible. I’m also really happy with Watson’s fifth place. Ben had a difficult beginning of the season because of the hand injury, which kept him from the bike for a month. Ben can look back on two solid races and is already close to the podium guys. He will get stronger and stronger the next weeks.”
1. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) in 35:04.291
2. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) +0:13.869
3. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) +0:33.897
4. Rene Hofer (Aut/KTM) +0:38.788
5. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +0:42.149
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) in 36:15.446
2. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0:56.527
3. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) +1:05.861
4. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +1:09.024
5. Simon Langenfelder (Ger/Gas) +1:14.697
7. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +1:30.616
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 47
2. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) 40
3. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 39
4. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 37
5. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 34
World championship classification (2/20)
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 87
2. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 82
3. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 74
4. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) 61
5. Rene Hofer (Aut/KTM) 53
8. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 48
Next race: March 22, GP3 Neuquen, Argentina
Images by @shotbybavo – CDS – @yamahaofficialracing.com