While Sardinia has never staged a Motocross Grand Prix before, the track in Riola Sardo is still a familiar venue. The location is a hugely popular training spot in the off-season due to the Sardinian climate being much better than mainland Europe. In addition to the warmer training climate and drier weather conditions during December, January and February, the circuit terrain is deep sand, making it an ideal track for the riders to improve their fitness and test various settings on their motorcycles, whether its engine, suspension, or chassis.
Riola was the site of Glenn Coldenhoff’s debut on Yamaha, as the track hosted the first international event of 2021. There, ‘The Hoff’ immediately impressed with a top-three finish.
Following the trials and tribulations of the last three rounds, the Dutchman is currently eighth in the MXGP Championship Standings. Determined to return to his front-running form, Coldenhoff will line up in Riola in ‘bounce-back mode,’ ready to score as many points as possible as he looks to progress up the leader board.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer is still well in contention for a top-five finish in the 2021 MXGP World Championship despite recently competing at less than 100%. Having been diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus before the season kicked off in July, this year has been a true battle of attrition for the current world number two. Despite the challenge of getting well while racing week after week, Seewer has faith in the medical specialists helping him return to full strength and remains optimistic for the Grand Prix in Riola. He is currently sixth in the championship standings.
As for the third of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP trio, Ben Watson hopes to put the frustrations of recent rounds behind him. Instead of placing high expectations on himself, the 24-year-old Brit, who is still the best-placed MXGP rookie in 10th, is heading to Sardinia intending to have fun, which is a tactic that he feels will help him perform at his best.
In MX2, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team is ready to continue their run at the MX2 world title. Maxime Renaux remains at the top of the table. So far, the French star has led the greatest number of laps, 82, won the most races, 5, and has celebrated more podium finishes than any other rider this season, 7. As a result, the 21-year-old took the red plate at round four in Oss, The Netherlands, and has never looked back.
Going into Riola, Renaux has a healthy 49-point lead over Mattia Guadagnini, while his teammate Jago Geerts is a further 22 points adrift in third. While the '959' focuses on extending his championship lead, Geerts will be on the hunt for glory, determined to claw back vital championship points.
Currently fifth in the championship, MX2’s talented young rookie on the rise Thibault Benistant is set to continue honing his craft. The 19-year-old has spent the past week testing various parts on his YZ250FM in hopes of better starts. Benistant knows that if he can start at the front, he can run the pace and challenge for the victory. Therefore, starts are the focus this weekend in Sardinia.