- GP20 – IMOLA, ITALY – REPORT - ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - JAN DE GROOT AWARD -
Three riders inside the top 10 at the last Grand Prix in Imola (Rodriguez 6th, Geerts 7th and Watson 10th). Three riders inside the top 15 of the world championship (Watson 4th, Geerts 8th and Rodriguez 15th), two GP-podiums (Watson in Russia and Geerts in Latvia) and two extra awards (Geerts ‘Rookie of the Year’ and Rodriguez ‘Fair Play Award’). In short: 2018 was a great year for Kemea Yamaha.
The 20th and last Grand Prix of the season took place at the world famous Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. A brand new motocross track was built, after moving in 25,000 cubic meters of soil the last two weeks. Kemea Yamaha was in full force again, with Rodriguez being fit again after dislocating his shoulder in Assen.
SICK, BUT STRONG
No shoulder injury anymore, but stomach problems for Rodriguez this weekend. But it did not stop him from fighting. The Venezuelan finished sixth overall (9+5) after a great ride in the second race in which he had some nice battles with guys like Olsen and Lawrence. Jago Geerts, who was only riding his second Grand Prix after his collarbone surgery, was feeling already a lot better than in Assen. He delivered two decent results, finishing seventh overall (6+10).
Ben Watson rode a fantastic qualifying race on Saturday (second place), but had a tough (Sun)day at the office. In the first moto he hit the gate at the start and had to remove a stone in his rear brake at the end of the race. Nevertheless, he managed to finish 8th. Again, bad luck in the second moto, as Watson was hit from behind and had to continue without a rear break. But Ben managed to take the necessary points to remain fourth in the world championship. A great result in his first year with Kemea Yamaha.
Jago Geerts finished eighth in his first world championship MX2, even after missing three Grand Prix because of a collarbone injury. Highlights of his season: his second place in Latvia and a phenomenal second moto in Lommel. The 18-year-old Belgian impressed a lot of people, including World Championship promoter Youthstream. They rewarded the Belgian teenager with the Jan de Groot Award, a prize for the best rookie of the year.
There was even a second award waiting for Kemea Yamaha. Anthony Rodriguez received the Fair Play Award. A Rod showed great sportsmanship in the qualifying race in Assen two weeks ago. He was involved in a first turn crash with Olsen and Covington. Instead of continuing his race, he first helped his two rivals. A very noble act, that earned him a lot of respect in the big motocross family.
MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS
The season is not completely over for the Kemea Yamaha boys. Our three riders will travel to the USA this week to compete in the Motocross of Nations at Red Bud. Watson (Great-Brittain) and Geerts (Belgium) will make their debut in the world championship for countries. Rodriguez will defend the colours of his country for the third time, after being part of team Venezuela in 2012 and 2015.
#919 Ben Watson
10th overall, 4th in world championship
“Not an easy day at the office. I had a lot of problems. I hit the gate and got a stone in my rear brake in the first moto. In the second moto I had no rear brake after I was being hit by another rider. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to get just enough points to salvage my fourth place in the world championship. Fourth! A great result, a big step forward. Big thanks to Kemea Yamaha, because this is teamwork.”
#193 Jago Geerts
7th overall, 8th in world championship
“I felt a lot better than two weeks ago in Assen. Especially the first race was pretty good: I had a nice start, a good pace and managed to stay in the top six the whole race. Two times top 10, not bad at all. Finishing eighth in my rookie season is something I didn’t expect at the beginning of the year. I’m also really happy with the Jan de Groot Award. It’s a very special prize.”
#127 Anthony Rodriguez
6th overall, 15th in world championship
“I was feeling really sick all weekend. On Saturday I was unable to retain any sort of solid food. I could only do four laps in the practice sessions. I really felt weak, had no energy. Nevertheless, I pulled it together with two decent results. Also nice: the Fair Play Award. I hope this award can serve as an example for other riders. We are not only athletes, were also human beings.”
“2018 was a great year for Kemea Yamaha. We made a big step in the right direction. Watson finished fourth in the championship, Geerts eighth, Rodriguez did a great job by replacing Brylyakov. We stood two times on the GP-podium, finished seventeen times in the top five of a Grand Prix. Let’s be honest: that was more than we expected before the start of the season. This is teamwork! I want to thank our riders, Yamaha, all the sponsors, all the people that support our team and especially my technical staff. They did a fantastic job: we didn’t have one technical DNF this year. We can’t wait to start the 2019 season.”
1. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM)
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) +0:21.043
3. Henry Jacobi (Ger/Hus) +0:36.879
4. Michele Cervellin (Ita/Yam) +0:39.380
5. Marshal Weltin (USA/Ka)w) +0:44.867
6. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +0:48.945
8. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +0:56.013
9. ANTHONY RODRIGUEZ (VEN/YAM) +1:02.653
1. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM)
2. Hunter Lawrence (Aus/Hon) +0:02.164
3. Thomas Covington (USA/Hus) +0:15.652
4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) +0:18.136
5. ANTHONY RODRIGUEZ (VEN/YAM) +0:20.887
10. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +0:45.754
16. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +1:02.390
1. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM) 50
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) 40
3. Thomas Covington (USA/Hus) 34
4. Michele Cervellin (Ita/Yam) 32
5. Henry Jacobi (Ger/Hus) 32
6. ANTHONY RODRIGUEZ (VEN/YAM) 28
7. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 26
10. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 18
World championship classification (20/20)
1. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM) 873
2. Pauls Jonass (Lat/KTM) 777
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) 673
4. BEN WATSON (GBr/Yam) 603
5. Thomas Covington (USA/Hus) 599
8. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) 392
15. ANTHONY RODRIGUEZ (Ven/Yam) 217
22. VSEVOLOD BRYLYAKOV (Rus/Yam) 127
Next race: October 7, Motocross of Nations in Red Bud (USA)
Images by CDS