Three Yamaha’s Inside the Top-Nine at the MXGP of Lombardia
Under the scorching hot sun in Ottobiano, Italy, Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's trio of Ben Watson, Jago Geerts, and Anthony Rodriguez dug deep to put all three YZ250F's inside the top-nine.
After qualifying in fourth and tenth, respectively, Watson and Geerts emerged from turn-one in roughly that same order. Surprisingly, Watson was inside the top-three but was forced back to fourth on the opening lap by the defending champion Pauls Jonass, while Geerts stormed past some of the quickest sand riders in the world to complete the opening lap inside the top five.
Sand tracks are like minefields. Lines and bumps are unpredictable and can change with every passing lap. Watson enjoys a rough and gnarly sand circuit, and as the race approached halfway he dropped the hammer and reeled in Jonass to challenge for third place, but came up slightly short and was fourth at the flag.
Eighteen-year-old Belgian talent, Geerts searched for the smoothest and fastest way around the sandy chop of Ottobiano and eventually came home on sixth after losing one place to Thomas Kjer Olsen, while Rodriguez made a vast improvement on his sixteenth position in the qualifying race to finish race one in twelfth.
With the energy sapping sun beaming down on the riders, starting outside the top-ten in the final race of the weekend was less than ideal. The trio completed the opening lap wheel-to-wheel on the fringes of the top-ten, and went on to prove they are three of the fastest and fittest sand riders in the world.
Putting on superb display of speed, heart and sand riding finesse in the plus thirty-degree Celsius temperatures, Watson clawed his way from tenth and up into fifth place, which is where he finished overall, while Geerts go up into seventh for sixth overall. Arguably, one of the most impressive performances this weekend was that of Anthony Rodriguez as he kept the front-wheel of his YZ250F light over the rough and bumpy terrain and pushed forward to finish inside the top-nine.
The Grand Prix this weekend marked the eleventh round of twenty. The Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team will now travel halfway across the world, to Indonesia for two back-to-back rounds in Indonesia.
5th MX2 Grand Prix Overall, 34-points
"It was a really tough GP. The heat here was really challenging, but overall I am really happy with my riding. My lap times were good all weekend, so I have to be happy with the way I am riding, but I just need to bring it all together and get back on the box."
6th MX2 Grand Prix Overall, 29-points
"My weekend was not too bad. I didn't have really good starts, but I was able to make a come back. I am looking forward to going to a new track in Indonesia. It should be quite special out there, but as I have not seen the track, I don't know what to expect, but it will be fun."
9th MX2 Grand Prix Overall, 21-points
"I'm quite tired after this GP. I really pushed hard in the last race. I had to fight really hard for my results, and to come back to ninth on a track like this, which is something I am not really used to. I am quite happy with my results, I can't be disappointed with being top-ten inside the world championship, but it's not what I have sacrificed everything in my life for. This is not where I want to be. It is a work in progress, but it was a step forward and hopefully soon I will be able to show my full potential."