- Jago Geerts injured -
Ben Watson gave the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team a fourth win in a row in the final round of the FIM World Championship MX2 in Pietramurata. Downside: Jago Geerts sustained a fractured upper arm (head of the shoulder) after a crash in race 2.
The track was heavily watered overnight and ripped a lot, which made the soil a lot softer and trickier on some places compared to the two previous races in Pietramurata. Geerts was 7th fastest in time practice, Watson 10th.
Both Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 riders got off to a good start in the first race. Geerts was third in the first turn, right in front of Watson, who played leapfrog with Rubini in the first lap. Geerts was all over Renaux, but whatever he tried he couldn’t find a way through to second place. Meanwhile, Watson was keeping an eye on the two in front of him. Renaux was slowing Geerts down, which allowed Watson to come back under the rear wheel of his teammate. The Brit didn’t hesitate to take over third place when Jago made a small mistake. Ben went for Renaux, but was – just like Geerts – not able to pass him either. The Frenchman closed the door time after time. Watson finished third, Geerts fourth.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory riders took a brilliant start on their YZ250FM in the second race, with Watson in first and Geerts in second position. From lap 4 the Brit was under attack from his Belgian teammate. Geerts tried to pass Watson a few times, but Ben defended his lead well. They turned it into a real spectacle, which unfortunately came to an end in the lap 13. Geerts caught the edge of a berm, went down and broke his upper arm.
Watson couldn’t rest on his laurels, because Beaton came to chase him down in the final stage of the race. The Australian was pushing a lot, but Watson refused to give in and won the race and the overall. His second GP victory, after Lommel 3 a few weeks ago. A nice way to close his MX2 book. Due to the age regulation the 23-year-old Watson will have to move to the MXGP class next season.
Thanks to his victory, Watson also climbed to fifth place in the World Championship classification. The unlucky Geerts finished in second place. For the first time since 2007 Yamaha won the manufacturer’s title.
#193 Jago Geerts
12th place overall
“I’m disappointed to end my season with an injury, but things like this can happen. It wasn’t really a big crash, but I just landed badly. I knew immediately that something was wrong. X-rays showed a crack in the top of my shoulder. I’m on my way back to Belgium, where I will have an exta examination on Monday. Although I wanted to win the championship this year, second overall is not so bad after some bad luck and crashes. Next year I hope to come back stronger and fight for the gold plate again.”
#919 Ben Watson
1st place overall
“What a way to end my MX2 career. Incredible. I was lucky to get two really good starts. That made the whole day a lot easier. In the first race I finished third. That was as far as I could go. Race 2 was perfect. I was in the lead from start to finish. It was a hiogh for me, but unfortunately a low for Jago. It’s a bummer for the whole team. I wish him a good and quick recovery. I want to say thank you to the team for the three years we had together. It was a great journey. Now it’s time for the 450. I’m already looking forward to that new adventure.”
“A day with mixed feelings. An emotional roller coaster. Normally, we would be very happy with a fourth grand prix win a row, our eighth win this season. That’s an amazing effort. I’m happy for Ben. It’s really impressive what he has shown for the last few weeks. What a great way also to end his MX2 career. On the other hand we feel sad because of Jago’s injury. That’s not the way we wanted him to end the season. He broke his upper arm and will go to his doctor in Belgium tomorrow. I really hope he doesn’t need surgery.”
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM)
2. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) +0:06.133
3. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +0:07.118
4. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +0:11.295
5. Stephen Rubini (Fra/Hon) +0:13.465
1. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM)
2. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0.00.888
3. Isak Gifting (Swe/Gas) +0:14.966
4. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) +0:16.839
5. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) +0:22.542
JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) DNF
1. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 45
2. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 41
3. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) 40
4. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 36
5. Isak Gifting (Swe/Gas) 35
12. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 18
World championship classification (18/18)
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 759
2. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 679
3. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) 581
4. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 564
5. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 551
Images by @shotbybavo – @yamahaofficialracing.com