Watson & Rodriguez Inch Closer to Their Goals in Indonesia
Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's Ben Watson finished fourth overall and missed the podium by 2-points at the thirteenth round of the FIM MX2 World Championship in Semarang, Indonesia, while teammate Anthony Rodriguez hit two career milestones with a fourth-place finish in Race 1 and a seventh in Race 2 for a career best, sixth overall.
After making the most of a 'bad day in the office' - by his own standards - Watson has moved within 10-points of the top-three in the MX2 Championship Standings, while Rodriguez has moved up four positions, and is now nineteenth in the Classification. Geerts remains seventh in the championship despite not racing the final race of the weekend after an unlucky fall on the sighting lap.
The thirteenth round of the FIM MX2 World Championship welcomed a brand new track to the twenty-round series. The Semarang circuit's 1750m length made it the longest track on the calendar, and its high-speed and enormous jumps made it one of the most spectacular.
With temperatures soaring well above 30 degrees Celsius, the track crew threw down plenty of water on the red clay ahead of Race 1. This made some areas of the rock-hard track nice and tacky, while other areas were slicker than oil on tarmac. When the gates fell for Race 1, the fastest MX2 riders in the world skated around the slick and fast paced Semarang circuit. Watson remained smooth and in control as those around him fell. He managed to capitalise on a number of errors made by the better starters to complete the opening lap inside the top-three.
With only one fast line developing, a good start was even more critical than usual. Rodriguez started inside the top-ten and ground down the likes of Adam Sterry and fellow YZ250F rider Michele Cervellin for a career best finish, fourth place.
Geerts' mid-pack start didn't do him any favours. The young Belgian ran the pace of the top-five but a few small errors cost him dearly and after taking a tumble late in the race, tenth position was all he could muster. Watson took third on the opening lap and was unchallenged for the spot from start to finish.
In the final race of the weekend Rodriguez and Watson emerged from the hustle and bustle of the opening lap inside the top-five, but lost a couple of positions after exerting too much energy in the opening race. Both riders struggled to match the pace of the front-runners, so they used their race smarts to stay upright and finish the race with decent points. Watson was fifth, two places ahead of Rodriguez in seventh.
Jago Geerts was unable to race after a freak accident on the sighting lap. The youngster split his knee and strained his ankle but is expected to be back at the next round of the FIM MX2 World Championship, which will take place in Loket, Czech Republic on the weekend of July 22nd.
4th MX2 Overall, 4th MX2 Championship Standings
"It felt like a bad day for me. I didn't feel comfortable on the track all weekend and feel I got quite lucky with my results today. I don't really feel I deserve fourth riding the way I felt I did, but it was just one of those weekends and I can't be too disappointed because I've had plenty of good weekends up to now. I will remain positive and focus on where I feel I should be."
6th MX2 Overall, 19th MX2 Championship Standings
"I took a step in the right direction this weekend. I was really pushing hard, but at the same time I tried to be smart. I had to work really hard for fourth in the first race, this track was quite hard to pass on. I had to make five or six attempts at passing before anything stuck. I used so much energy in the first race that in the second race I felt like I was spent. After three laps, I felt like my body was fatigued. So it was a battle between my mind and my heart. I really wanted to go for it, but at the same time I wanted to stay safe. I can't say I am disappointed, it was a huge step forward."