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Yamaha MXGP Riders Ripe & Ready for Riola as Geerts Looks to Extend MX2 Championship Lead

Yamaha MXGP Riders Ripe & Ready for Riola as Geerts Looks to Extend MX2 Championship Lead

The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP and MX2 teams have travelled west off the coast of the Italian peninsula to the island of Sardinia for the eighth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship

Though Riola has only hosted one Grand Prix before this weekend, the venue is very familiar to the riders as the island of Sardinia is a hugely popular training spot in the off-season due to the climate being much better than that of 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.  
The MXGP of Sardinia this weekend will mark the first real sand race of the season, which is an exciting prospect for all five Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP riders as they are all based in the ‘sand capital’ of the world, Belgium and The Netherlands.
Rookie sensation Maxime Renaux is currently second in the MXGP championship chase. As a Frenchman who enjoys beach racing in the winter, Renaux has a fantastic skillset for deep and treacherous sandy conditions. This weekend, the 21-year-old rookie is looking forward to putting the YZ450FM through its paces as he looks to inch closer to a maiden MXGP-class Grand Prix win. He is currently 81-points down on the Championship Leader Tim Gajser but carries a 24-point advantage over his teammate Jeremy Seewer in third. 
In contrast to Renaux, who will line up for his first Grand Prix in really deep sand, Seewer has a lot of experience and know-how when it comes to these conditions and has stated that Riola is his favourite sand track. Fresh off the second step of the podium, the Swiss sensation was happy to take a step forward in his return to form and hopes to keep progressing this weekend. 
For the teams Flying Dutchman Glenn Coldenhoff, racing in the sand comes second nature. Coldenhoff is typically strong in softer conditions and is likely to challenge the podium MXGP of Sardinia. But, it's worth noting that the 31-year-old has been slightly under the weather this week, so the first challenge will be making a return to full health before the gates drop on Sunday. 
In MX2, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Jago Geerts is ready to continue his run at a maiden MX2 World Title. Heading into the Grand Prix this weekend, the Belgian ace has spent the week on the island, training in the sand and adjusting to the climate as it’s expected to be hot. He arrives in Riola confident, as the rider that has set the ‘fastest lap’ in six of the seven rounds raced this season; he currently leads the championship by 6-points over former World Champion Tom Vialle. 
Like Geerts, Thibault Benistant also went straight to Sardinia after the MXGP of Italy in Maggiora. The 19-year-old Frenchman is currently 11th in the championship after missing the first three rounds but looks to move into the top 10 as soon as possible. 
The third round of the Women’s Motocross World Championship will also take place in Riola, with the main protagonists Yamaha Racing’s Lynn Valk and Ceres 71 Yamaha’s Nancy van de Ven separated at the top of the table by just 6-points. 
Finally, the Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250 team will also be onsite with the fourth round of the EMX250 Championship taking place alongside MXGP, MX2 and WMX. After missing the podium by a 1-point in Maggiora, Andrea Bonacorsi is motivated to make it happen this weekend. At the same time, teammate Rick Elzinga hopes to bounce back and reclaim the championship leader's red plate after a luckless round in Italy.
Elzinga is currently second in the championship chase, 17-points down on the leader Cornelius Toendel, while Bonacorsi is ninth but only 19-points shy of the top five. 

Maxime Renaux

2nd MXGP Championship Standings, 255-points

“This week, I have been in Belgium preparing for the GP in Sardinia. My main focus is recovery because I think it will be important to be 100% ready and fully recharged. It’s the first really deep sand race of the season so I am looking forward to it and also to see how the bike works in the deep sand. I like these conditions, so it will be fun and I think it will be a good GP for me.”

Jeremy Seewer

3rd MXGP Championship Standings, 231-points

“The plan is to get as much rest as I can this week to be ready for Riola as it will be a really tough race. It’s one of the toughest sand tracks, so it’s important to be fully recovered. I really look forward to racing in Riola, we train a lot there in the winter and it’s actually my favourite sand track. I love that place and I expect to fight for the podium, and if everything is going right like it should, I know I have what it takes to fight for the win.” 

Glenn Coldenhoff

5th MXGP Championship Standings, 199-points

“I didn’t do anything special this week. I will only ride a little bit because I am a bit sick. I look forward to Riola, it’s always nice to be back in the sand and the weather will be very hot. Tough conditions and a heavy track, so I definitely look forward to it. It’s difficult to know what to expect, as right now I am still pretty sick, but the goal will be for two consistent motos; I will be happy with a top-five, but it would be really nice if I could get my first podium of the year.”

Jago Geerts

MX2 Championship Leader, 291-points

“We went from Maggiora straight to Sardinia to do some training on the island to prepare for this weekend. I really look forward to it because I love to ride in the deep sand, so these races are my favourite ones on the calendar. The goal is the same for every race. The podium is the goal and if everything goes right, I try to fight for the win.”

Thibault Benistant

11th MX2 Championship Standings, 113-points

“I went straight to Sardinia after Maggiora to prepare for the GP. I’ll be riding there on Tuesday and Wednesday. I look forward to the first sand race of the season, I really like riding in the sand, so I’m looking forward to this one for sure.”