GEERTS ON THE PODIUM AGAIN.
A phenomenal Jago Geerts stepped on the podium again at the fourth round of the FIM MX2 World Championship. One week after his third place in Valkenswaard, the Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha rider finished second (2+2) in Pietramurata, Italy. Teammate Ben Watson just missed the podium by one point (7+3).
Geerts normally needs some time to find a good speed and rhythm during a Grand Prix weekend. Not so this time. The Belgian teenager felt good on the gnarly and challenging track and was fast from the first free practice Saturday morning till the last race on Sunday afternoon.
Geerts - who qualified in second position - was sixth in the first corner and immediately started attacking. First on his list: Olsen, Jacobi and Sanayei. After six laps Geerts was already riding in third position after passing Larranaga. Next target: Vialle, who had about eight seconds bonus. Geerts didn't rush things, patiently closed the gap and passed the Frenchman in the final lap.
Ben Watson was buried in the middle of the pack in the first corner. The Brit quickly made up a lot of places and was already in sixth place after only five laps, but a small mistake cost him four positions. Watson kept on fighting and finally came home in seventh place.
The second race was almost a copy of the first one for Jago Geerts. The Belgian started as sixth and didn't waste any time passing Olsen, Strubhart, Jacobi and (again) Vialle on his way to another second place for second place overall.
Also for Watson the second race was kind of a déjà vu as he missed his start and had to fight back from 15th position again. One difference this time: no mistake/crash this time. The Brit was on a mission, passed a lot of riders and finished third after a thrilling catch-up race.
The Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha riders both moved up in the World Championship Standings. Watson is now fourth, only four points ahead of Geerts.
"This was probably the best weekend in my career so far. The key to this success today were my starts. I had two good starts which made my job a lot easier. It's something I've been working on really hard since the beginning of the season. Finally, it's paying off. Now, we have a five week break. I will keep working hard in that period and try to be on the box again in the next Grand Prix in Mantova."
"It was a pretty solid weekend. I'm really happy with my riding, but was struggling with my starts. They let me down again. I had to fight back from far behind in both races. That probably cost me an overall finish. We now have a five week break. Time to work on those starts with the team. They really need to be better, because I want to fight with the front guys, not in the middle of the pack."
"This is a fantastic weekend for our team. What a great ride from both riders. Jago was so fast and so smooth. It was a joy seeing him ride like this. The same can be said about Ben. One difference with Jago: his starts, which were terrible. But he showed a lot of determination coming back through the pack. A great effort. Second and fourth overall: that's a great result, but we need to keep working really hard."
1. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM)
2. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +0:12.125
3. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) +0:14.130
4. Henry Jacobi (Ger/Kaw) +0:31.658
5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) +0:33.302
7. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +0:39.054
1. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM)
2. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) +0:02.862
3. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) +0:06.293
4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) +0:09.387
5. Henry Jacobi (Ger/Kaw) +0:19.496
1. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM) 50
2. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 44
3. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 35
4. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 34
5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) 34
World championship classification:
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) 170
2. Jorge Prado (Esp/KTM) 150
3. Henry Jacobi (Ger/Kaw) 147
4. BEN WATSON (GBR/YAM) 129
5. JAGO GEERTS (BEL/YAM) 125
Next race: April 14, Dutch Masters Oss (Ned)