Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Jago Geerts celebrated a 13th career Grand Prix victory at the seventh round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, in Maggiora, Italy, and extended his championship lead out to 6-points over former World Champion Tom Vialle. Thibault Benistant ended a challenging day on the cusp of the top-10, in 11th.
Changeable weather throughout the weekend made for a damp and testing Grand Prix of Italy. Overnight rain softened the rock-hard clay, making the tight and technical hilly circuit very rough and technical and incredibly ‘one-lined’.
In dry conditions, Geerts managed the opening race of the weekend to perfection. The Belgian star powered his YZ250FM to a decent start and was quick to capitalize on a racing incident that included Benistant and his closest rival Tom Vialle. Inch-perfect from start to finish, the Yamaha star took the lead on the exit of turn three and romped to an unrivaled victory – the 27th of his career.
Benistant was unlucky in his pursuit after another rider took him down in the turn three incident. The Frenchman remounted his YZ250FM in last and struggled to regroup, eventually ending the race in 15th position.
Rainfall ahead of the second and final race made the typically fast, hard pack track much trickier. Geerts took a cautious approach to the start of the race and took his time finding his flow before setting about his charge forward.
The Belgian started fifth and made some fantastic passes before inheriting second position from a fallen Kay Kassemakers on lap-4. Once in P.2 and with clear track ahead, the ‘93’ set his sights on the race leader, Vialle, and astonishingly whittled down a 5-second lead to ensure a dramatic final lap showdown.
While the last lap was an absolute thriller with Geerts challenging Vialle to the flag, the conditions did not allow a pass, which forced the Yamaha ace to settle for second. However, he still won the Grand Prix with a 6-point advantage over his main championship rival.
As for Benistant, the start was again his downfall. But, in contrast to the opening race, the 19-year-old Frenchman made better progress and managed to finish eighth.
From Maggiora, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team will travel to Riola, Sardinia, for the eighth round of the MX2 World Championship, which will kick off in five days.
MX2 Grand Prix of Italy Winner, 47-points
MX2 Championship Leader, 291-points
“I am really happy. Two consistent motos, two consistent starts and I felt good on track all weekend. I managed to stay out of trouble during the motos, which helped with good starts. I was riding well today, in the second race I did try to go for the win, and went for the pass on Tom (Vialle), but in the end the track was very one lined, and I made the push a bit late. So, I am happy with a 1-2 for today and already looking forward to next weekend in the deep sand.”
11th MX2 Grand Prix of Italy, 19-points
11th MX2 Championship Standings, 113-points
“My weekend was quite difficult. It’s quite difficult to accept this result, for the past few weeks I have been quite close to the podium, so to finish this far from it; it is quite difficult mentally. But, from here, we will keep working hard to come back strong. I was not riding completely free and flowing today, but I think after a few more training sessions it will come back.”