Geerts Maintains Podium Form in Russia
Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2's Jago Geerts maintained his podium streak at the eighth round of the FIM MX2 World Championship in Orlyonok, Russia and has strengthened his grip on third position in the Championship Classification. Teammate Ben Watson put in a spirited top-ten performance after a nasty fall in Qualifying left him uncertain of his ability to race.
The circuit of Orlyonok is nestled on the shores of the Black Sea, and while that sounds as though it should be a soft-compound track, the reality is that it is quite the opposite. The track is sprawled out over a rocky hill. It is extremely firm with limited traction. Throttle control was of the essence.
In the opening race of the day, Geertsgot his YZ250F off to an outstanding start and ran second position for the first two-laps before he came up short on a 'step-down' and was demoted to third by Thomas Olsen. He kept his cool out on the unforgiving clay even though it meant backing off the pace during the initial phase of the race to gradually build confidence.
As Jorge Prado inched closer, the '193' started to pick up the pace but lost traction on a choppy uphill which allowed the Championship Leader to go through. Wise beyond his years, the youngster went back to respecting the surface until the final few laps where he threw all of his cards on the table.
With 3-Laps remaining, the hills of Orlyonok exploded as Geerts upped the ante and posted his fastest lap of the race. He was phenomenal as he sliced a 4-second gap in half in the space of two laps. In a heart-stopping last-ditch effort to pass Olsen for second, the youngster made a small mistake while entering the wave section. He did well to keep his YZ250F on two-wheels, but the mistake cost him the chance of making the pass before the flag.
Meanwhile Watson battled himself in the opening race and with too much on his mind, was only able to finish tenth.
The second and final race of the Russian Grand Prix demanded a bit more effort from the '193' after he bobbled at turn one and dropped from third position to seventh. There was also a lot more water on the track, which was necessary to some extent with the thermometer surpassing 30 degrees Celsius, but it made the circuit extremely slippery.
As one of MX2's most exciting prospects, Geerts was quick to adapt to the challenging conditions and managed to put the squeeze on Sanayei to reclaim third with a classic outside-cut-inside move on one of the 180 degree corners. In what was almost a carbon-copy of Race 1, the youngster caught Olsen in the final throws. Once again, he laid it all on the line but had to settle for third, while Watson managed to mentally numb the pain of a sprained wrist to charge from outside of the top ten for an honorable sixth place.
Geerts remains third in the MX2 Championship and has a buffer of 21-points on the rider in fourth, while Watson finished seventh overall, which is also his position in the Championship Classification.
The next round of the FIM MX2 World Championship will take place at the venue that saw Geerts' stand on the podium for the first time in his career, Kegums, Latvia, on the weekend of June 16th.
3rd MX2 Grand Prix Overall, 3rd MX2 Championship Standings
“It was a solid weekend for me, I was able to close in on the leaders near the end of the races, but I didn’t have enough time and I finished third. I worked hard in the second race. I worked up to third and got close to Olsen. I tried really hard, but it just wasn’t enough, so I finished third for my second podium in a row. I am happy with that, and I really look forward to going to Latvia next week, it’s one of my favourite tracks.”