- Geerts and Watson make history -
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team celebrated a historic day at round 17 of the FIM World Championship. Jago Geerts and Ben Watson finished first and second in Pietramurata. The first time ever for the team to have two riders on the top two steps of the podium.
No changes to the hard, rocky and slick track of Pietramurata compared to last Sunday. Geerts – who won three days ago – qualified in fourth place, which offered him a decent gate pick. Watson, on the other hand, had to content himself with 16th time.
Geerts took a great start on his YZ250FM in the first race, but got bumped by Vialle in the second turn and dropped from second to sixth place. Watson was tenth in the first turn.
Geerts moved up one spot in the first lap, but had a little hiccup in the next lap and dropped to 12th place. The Belgian regrouped, showed a lot of determination and charged his way through the field. At lap 11, Jago was right behind Watson, who was riding in fifth place after another strong catch-up race. Both Monster Energy Yamaha Factory riders were involved in a four way battle with (future team mates) Renaux en Benistant. Both Watson and Geerts managed to overtake Benistant, finishing fourth (Ben) and fifth (Jago).
Battle of teammates
What a start of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory riders in the second race! Geerts took the holeshot, with Watson right behind him. And what a ride of our boys. They stayed in front the entire race, with no one able to threaten them. Watson was breathing down Geerts his neck from start tot finish and was looking for a place to make a pass on the one-lined track. The Brit came close a few times, but Geerts would not give in and won the second race and the overall. His sixth grand prix victory of the season. Ben Watson put the cherry on the cake with a second place overall. The first time ever for the Belgian team to have its two riders on the two top step of the box.
With still one Grand Prix to go – next Sunday, again in Pietramurata – Geerts is already sure of finishing second in the FIM World Championship in 2020. Watson is 6th for the moment and still has a chance for 5th or even 4th place.
#193 Jago Geerts
1st place overall
“Two GP victories in a row, a fantastic feeling. My first race wasn’t easy. I made a small mistake in the beginning and had to come back on this difficult track. Fifth was quite good, after that mistake. My second race was perfect. Holeshot, good pace and all the time in control. Even with a strong Watson in my rear wheel. First and second: a great reward for all the hard work of the entire team. One grand prix to go. We will try to end on a high note.”
#919 Ben Watson
2nd place overall
“A great day. Especially for the team. A first and second place, that’s fantastic. Totally deserved, because everybody is working so hard on our team. I’m also happy to be on the box again. It’s a pity that I had such a terrible start in the first race, but the riding was good. Same in the second race. I took a much better start and was behind Geerts all the time. But it was difficult to pass and Jago was riding really good.”
“First and second! That’s a milestone for us. I’m so proud of the boys, of everybody in our team. Both Jago and Ben showed a lot of perseverance in the first race. They both came back from outside the top 10. A hell of a job on this track. The second race was phenomenal. A battle between two teammates for the overall victory. I was quaking in my boots. On the one hand proud, on the other hand scared that they would take each other out. What a great day!”
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM)
2. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0:05.885
3. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) +0:09.567
4. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +0:10.554
5. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +0:15.950
1. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM)
2. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +0:01.938
3. Thibault Benistant (Fra/Yam) +0:05.532
4. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0:06.614
5. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) +0:25.616
1. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 41
2. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 40
3. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 40
4. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) 36
5. Thibault Benistant (Fra/Yam) 34
World championship classification (17/18)
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 718
2. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 661
3. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) 541
4. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 528
5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) 517
6. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 506
Next race: November 8, GP18 Pietramurata 3 (Ita)
Images by @shotbybavo – @yamahaofficialracing.com