Watson Claims Maiden Podium Finish at MX2 Grand Prix of Russia
Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's Ben Watson set a career milestone at the MX2 Grand Prix of Russia with a hair-raising first podium finish at the sixth round of the FIM MX2 World Championship in Orlyonok.
The MX2 Grand Prix of Russia delivered mixed results for the Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team. The event was marked by Ben Watson's stunning efforts for his first ever podium finish, while Jago Geerts was ninth overall for his fourth top-ten finish this season. Meanwhile, it was heart-breaking for the crowd favourite Vsevolod Brylyakov who had to pull out of the final race after he tweaked his knee.
When the gates dropped for the first race of the day, Ben Watson and Jago Geerts were sharp. The duo went bar-to-bar around turn-one, in third place, with Geerts edging out his teammate. Within two turns, Watson put a clean pass on Geerts and made an attempt at matching the pace of the two riders that are leading the championship, Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado, but came up somewhat short and had to settle for third-place.
Geerts remained strong in fourth place for the first 6-laps before a small mistake saw him lose more than ten-positions. He later recovered for twelfth place.
With the entire crowd behind him, Brylakov charged forward from outside of the top-20. After 10-minutes of ducking roost and finding new lines to pass riders, the popular Russian had broke into the top-10 and eventually managed to cross the finish line in ninth place.
Entering the second race of the weekend, a heavy spray of water had gone down on the extremely hard surface, which made the track very slick and difficult to ride. Watson and Brylyakov both got off to decent starts and were almost inseparable on the opening laps as they slipped and slided, while banging bars with two other riders, in a heart-stopping battle for fifth.
Watson eventually settled in sixth, while Brylyakov caught his leg on an edge and twisted his knee. The Russian was in an immense amount of pain and pulled out of the race.
As a rookie in the MX2 class, this season is all about gaining experience and developing his raw race craft. The just turned eighteen-year-old, Geerts was impressive as he stormed from outside of the top-ten up into ninth place in the final race of the day.
More information on the status of Vsevolod Brylyakov's knee will be shared when available.
The next round of the FIM MX2 World Championship will take place on the sand of Kegums in Latvia on the weekend of May 13th.
3rd MX2 Grand Prix Overall, 4th MX2 Championship Standings
"I literally have no words for this weekend. It has been incredible. To come from where I was last year and trying my best with what I had to Yamaha and the Kemea team taking a chance on me, giving me this opportunity and believing in me, the feeling is unbelievable. It's something I can't describe, to stand on the podium and give back to everyone who put their trust in me and worked so hard all winter long. From my mechanic, and the entire team who are working hours and hours to have everything ready. I don't think people realize what goes into achieving this and getting to this point. It's just unreal."
9th MX2 Grand Prix Overall, 11th MX2 Championship Standings
"The practice sessions didn't go so well for me but I turned it around in the Qualifying Race and almost took the holeshot and finished fifth. I made a stupid mistake in the first race and crashed out of fourth place but got back to twelfth. The start wasn't good in the second race, but I was riding pretty good so I got back to ninth. I am looking forward to going to Kegums. It's a nice track, and I can't wait to ride there."