2018 Grand Prix of Argentina
Top 10 Start to 2018 for Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Trio
Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's trio of Ben Watson, Vsevolod Brylyakov and Jago Geerts have got their 2018 FIM MX2 World Championship campaign off to a magnificent start with their exhilarating performances for fourth, sixth and ninth places, respectively.
Located amidst the greenery of the Correntoso and Nuhuel Huapi lakeshores, the spectacular track in Argentina is fast, wide and flowing, and is made out of a unique, dark and grainy volcanic soil. The dirt is deceptive. It looks smooth with a lot of traction, but is quite the opposite with many sharp, square edge bumps hidden beneath the loose and loamy layer of topsoil.
Ben Watson's debut onboard his Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 YZ250F yesterday, where he finished third, represents his best ever Qualifying Race finish in MX2 since moving into the championship back in 2015. The Qualifying Race results make up the starting order, which meant the young Briton was in prime position for a good start in the main events today.
Running inside the top-three on the exit of turn-one in the opening race of the year, Watson wasted no time in making a move on the reigning champ Pauls Jonass for second before being passed back on the second lap. With last years' bronze medalist Thomas Kjer Olsen also finding a way past, the number '919' remained calm and collected to finish fourth place in Race 1.
Seventeen-year-old Belgian talent Jago Geerts got his first full season inside the pro ranks off to a solid start. Ahead of this season, Geerts had never been to Argentina, which meant the entire weekend was a learning experience. A twelfth in the Qualifying Race yesterday was replicated in the opening race today, but the real eye-opener was his performance in Race 2 when he went bar-to-bar with his teammate, Watson, in a gripping battle for sixth before he a mistake threw him over the 'bars. Nevertheless, the gritty youngster remounted and managed to finish a creditable tenth place for ninth overall.
Meanwhile, in the closing stages of Race 2, Watson found an extra gear and engaged in a thrilling battle with Hunter Lawrence, Darian Sanayei and Calvin Vlaanderen for third place in the race, and a place on the Grand Prix podium. The duel went down to the wire, but unfortunately he was forced to settle for fourth, and just missed the podium by a single point.
Seventeenth place was the outcome of Vsevolod Brylyakov's Qualifying Race, which made getting a decent start in the championship races today extra difficult. Despite the handicap, the Russian sensation did his best to bounce back, and managed to charge hard for an impressive ninth place in both races for sixth overall.
It has been an emotional start to 2018 with all three riders finishing inside the top-ten. Their awe-inspiring performances have left team excited for the next round of the 2018 MX2 World Championship, which will take place in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, on the weekend of March 18th.
4th MX2 Overall, 4th MX2 Championship Standings, 36 points
"I'm absolutely ecstatic with the whole weekend. I didn't know what to expect when I came here. In the past I broke my foot here and have always had terrible results here. I wasn't overly confident coming in but my times were good all weekend and I was only 1-point short of my first ever podium. That is gutting but I am absolutely over the moon."
6th MX2 Overall, 6th MX2 Championship Standings, 24 points
"Coming into this race I had goosebumps all over my body. Finally I was back racing, and as an Official Yamaha rider, it has been emotional for me to be back behind the gate. The weekend didn't get off to the best start, but overall Sunday went quite good. I was ninth in both races, that is consistent and I am quite happy with the result and to start the season like this."
9th MX2 Overall, 9th MX2 Championship Standings, 20 points
"The weekend has been pretty good. It could be better of course, I was twelfth in the first race but in the second race I got a really good start and rode the whole race in seventh place before I crashed but still finished tenth, so that is pretty good."