Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Luckless in Loket
Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 endured their first luckless Grand Prix of the 2018 season at the twisty, hilly and rocky clay-based circuit of Loket, in the Czech Republic this weekend, with Jago Geerts finishing ninth overall, while an uncanny turn of events brought Ben Watson's weekend to an abrupt end. Unfortunately, Anthony Rodriguez was unable to race after a bizarre incident in the Qualifying Race yesterday left him with stitches in his fingers.
The fourteenth round of the FIM MX2 World Championship got off to a reasonable start for two of the Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 riders with the newly crowned Dutch Masters 250cc Champion Jago Geerts driving home a stellar second place finish in the qualifying heat, while Ben Watson managed to cross the finish line in sixth position after a hard-fought battle from outside of the top-ten. Anthony Rodriguez was involved in a freak accident that saw another riders' bike slice open four of his fingers. Despite the injury, which later required stitches and eventually prevented him from racing today, he managed to put in a gritty ride for eighteenth place.
Heading into the two points paying races, the Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 duo were happy to see that the overnight rain had subsided in the early hours of the morning. Amazingly, the extra water had worked wonders and the usually dry and chalky Loket surface, and helped it to remain moist and dust-free all day long.
In Race One, both Kemea riders started at the blunt end of the top-ten. The duo had to search for traction and new lines that would allow them to gain positions. After a quick game of cat and mouse with each other, Watson managed to pass his teammate for eighth and wasted no time in making light work of Henry Jacobi for seventh position. Fellow YZ250F rider Michele Cervellin handed both Watson and Geerts a couple of points when he fell from sixth place.
After waiting too long at the start of the race, the leaders were able to air out a sizeable lead over Watson who eventually had to settle for a lonely and unchallenged sixth place finish. Geerts rode smooth, and finished ninth after he lost one position to Thomas Olsen with 5-minutes to go.
The Loket circuit has plenty of long and bumpy descents that are followed by tight turns, and steep uphill climbs. This makes the track relatively 'one-lined' and difficult to pass on. A good start was essential and any attack needed to be carefully premeditated and required 100% commitment. Fortunately, in the final race of the weekend, both Kemea riders got a good jump out of the gate and used the power of their YZ250F's to emerge from turn-one inside the top-seven. Watson knew he couldn't afford to let the front-runners out of his sights, and was 'all-in' on the charge forward, so much so that he hit a blown-out rut too fast and was kicked off his bike causing his left hand to fall off the handlebar whilst his right hand grabbed a handful of gas and accelerated him up the face of jump. The Briton was fortunate to walk away from the spectacular incident unscathed, and would have rejoined the race if it wasn't for the damage done to his bike.
Geerts felt a little 'off', but was consistently ninth place. Ninth in both races for ninth overall, while Watson's DNF in Race Two put him outside of the top-ten for the first time this season. He was thirteenth, but holds onto fourth place in the MX2 Championship Standings.
The next round of the FIM MX2 World Championship will take place on home soil for the Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team, in Lommel, Belgium on the weekend of August 5th.
9th MX2 Overall, 7th MX2 Championship Standings
"My weekend got off to a really good start. I got the holeshot in qualifying and then finished second in the Qualifying Race. My starts weren't bad, but I felt I made way too many mistakes this weekend. At the end, it was going better and two times inside the top-ten is not that bad."
13th MX2 Overall, 4th MX2 Championship Standings
"Results wise, this weekend has been terrible. I lost a lot of valuable points in the championship with my 6-DNF result, so that is certainly the worst weekend I have had all year. On the flip side, I was happy with my riding, although I am aware that there are still areas that need to be worked on. I feel happy to be walking away from a really big crash, so I am just going to stay positive and look forward to the next round."