- Geerts will resume racing this weekend, Watson in August -
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 rider Jago Geerts will resume racing this weekend, at the first round of the Czech championship in Dalecin. It will be his first race since the Grand Prix in Valkenswaard, March 8. Team mate Ben Watson decided to wait until August 2 to restart his season – in Magescq, France – after the ‘corona break’.
It’s already more than three months since your last race. How difficult was this corona period for you?
Geerts: “Pretty difficult. Certainly the period in complete lockdown. We were not allowed to ride the bike. It was really boring.”
Watson: “Not be able to race, was difficult. But I tried to look at the positive side. I spent more time with my family and took some time off. I tried to improve myself in a different way. Just by thinking about where I can do better. What are my weak points? What can I do to improve? The answers to those questions can now be helpful.”
What was your training program during the lockdown?
Watson: “It was just a matter of staying in shape. Nothing special. Be smart, don’t do too much. We didn’t have and we still don’t have a new calendar, a new starting point, which makes it very difficult to compose a specific training program.”
Geerts: “Like Ben said, it’s just a matter of maintaining the basic physical condition. Nothing more, nothing less. A bit of fitness, running, cycling, roller skating… I will keep working like that until I know the exact date of the restart of the world championship.”
Did you discover new things, which have nothing to do with motocross, during the lockdown?
Geerts: “I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I used to cook, but now I suddenly got a lot more time for it. I really love to cook. My favourite dishes? All kinds of pasta. Always healthy.”
Watson: “I live by myself in Belgium, during the season. So, I already know how to cook. During the lockdown I was in the UK, living with my parents. The weather was great most of the time, so we spent a lot of time outside, transforming our garden.”
How relieved were you when you got the green light to ride the bike again?
Watson: “Believe me, it was really nice to get back on the bike. I was more than two months off the bike. No motocross, not even on the trial bike. Longer than during the winter. We really had to be patient.”
Geerts: “I was so happy to get back on my Yamaha. The first time was so much fun. At that moment, I realised how much I love motocross.”
How rusty were you during that first bike training?
Geerts: “Actually, it was not too bad. You don’t forget how to ride a bike. I quickly had a good feeling on my Yamaha.”
Watson: “Same for me. I felt fine immediately. It was important to take it easy in the beginning, not expecting too much too soon.”
Some riders got more time to recover from an injury. Was this break an advantage or a disadvantage for you?
Geerts: “That’s difficult to say. On one side, it’s maybe a disadvantage because I started strong in the championship. I was in a good rhythm and that was stopped. On the other side, the new calendar suits me maybe even more. We will only know at the end of the season if the break was helpful or not.”
Watson: “I think it’s rather a disadvantage. When Valkenswaard came around, my hand injury wasn’t an issue anymore. I was almost 100 percent fit.”
How far are you now from your best level now?
Watson: “That’s hard to say. I don’t want to be at the point to be 100 percent yet. I still need to do intense training. Two or three weeks and I’m ready.”
Geerts: “I guess I’m at 80 percent of my ability. As soon as the new calendar is known, we will start with a more strict and intense training schedule. You can call it fine tuning.”
What about your goals? Do they remain the same?
Geerts: “Yes! A podium finish is the minimum this year. I want to fight for the world title.”
Watson: “I just want to enjoy myself on the bike. When I’m having fun, I’m at my best. I have some goals, but I prefer to keep them for myself.”
There won’t be 20 races this season. Maybe 14 or 12. Can you speak about a real championship?
Watson: “Of course. A world championship is a world championship. We normally have 20 races, which is more than any championship. The Nationals in the US, 12 races. National championships, 5 to 8 races. Even if we only have 12 races, it’s a real championship. And the best man will win.”
Geerts: “12, 15 or 20 races… it’s the same for everybody. I don’t think it will make a lot of difference.”
Jago, you start racing again this weekend. Ben, you are going to wait until August. Two different approaches. Why?
Geerts: “I’m bored by only training. I need a race and Dalecin is one of the first possibilities. I want to experience the feeling of a race weekend again. One difference: the result is not important at all.”
Watson: “I think we are still two months from a possible restart of the world championship. I compare this period with the preseason. In preseason my first race is only a few weeks before the first Grand Prix. I stick to the same plan. That’s why I will restart in Magescq, on August 2.”