Round seven of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place at the spectacular Maggiora MX Park in Italy this weekend. It will mark the first of two back-to-back races, with the eighth round set to take place in Riola, Sardinia, seven days later. After reclaiming the MX2 Championship Lead and celebrating a 20th Grand Prix victory, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team is excited to be back behind the gate with its YZ250FM racing stars Jago Geerts and Thibault Benistant, while in MXGP, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP team looks to build on what has been a solid start to the season, with all three riders, Maxime Renaux, Jeremy Seewer and Glenn Coldenhoff, currently making up the top five in the Championship Standings.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s rookie sensation Renaux lines up 5-points shy of second position in the standings. The reigning MX2 World Champion has already shown phenomenal speed on the YZ450FM and is poised for big things in the future. Focused on making progress as he quickly adapts to the premier class, the 21-year-old Frenchman believes there is room for improvement on the starts and is working with Yamaha’s R&D team to find a setup that will result in more holeshots. After a successful week of testing, the ‘959’ looks forward to putting the new changes to the test this weekend and hopes to reap the rewards of the team’s hard work.
As for Seewer and Coldenhoff, only 10-points separate the duo in the battle for fourth position. Both riders are very familiar with the hilly, tight, twisty clay-based circuit in Maggiora and have tasted champagne at the venue in the past. On the Italian soil, Seewer scored his second-ever podium finish in MX2 in 2017. While for Coldenhoff, it was the site of his first MXoN podium finish in 2016 and his best result last season, where he tied for the Grand Prix victory with the eventual MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings.
Although it is close between the highly experienced Yamaha stars, Seewer currently has the upper hand in fourth position and hopes to increase that buffer in Maggiora this weekend. In contrast, Coldenhoff has shown great form recently and is aiming for a podium finish or, better yet, a Grand Prix win.
Coming into the Italian Grand Prix with added confidence after reclaiming the MX2 Championship leaders’ red plate with a dominant double moto victory at the MXGP of Latvia less than two weeks ago, Geerts is determined to strengthen his place at the top of the table this weekend. The MXGP of Italy will mark the 22-year-old’s 80th Grand Prix start since turning pro in 2017, where since making his MX2 debut, he has secured 62 top-three finishes, 26 race wins, 32 podiums and 12 Grand Prix victories.
As for Benistant, the 19-year-old Frenchman has made some incredible progress since his return to racing three Grands Prix ago. After a five-month break through injury, the ‘198’ continues to go from strength to strength and arrives in Maggiora buoyed by the memory of an MX2 race win – the first of his career – last season.
And last but not least, the Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250 team will also be back in action at the MXGP of Italy this weekend with its lineup of Rick Elzinga, Andrea Bonacorsi and Dave Kooiker. Elzinga enters the third round of the EMX250 Championship with the red plate firmly attached to his GYTR kitted YZ250F. He has a 16-point lead in the series, while teammates Bonacorsi and Kooiker are in the 12th and 20th positions.
3rd MXGP World Championship Standings, 215-points
“I’ve been focusing on testing parts on the bike to improve my starts, and we are always making progress, so I am really happy. I am really looking forward to Maggiora. I have some really good memories there. Last year with a podium in MX2, a win in European Championship EMX125. It has always been a good track for me. This weekend, I just look forward to seeing the improvements we made to the bike during the past weeks, and if I make some progress in the starts, I will be very happy.”
4th MXGP World Championship Standings, 187-points
“I’ve been taking each day step-by-step, trying to get back to my form, and put the puzzle back together after the crash in Argentina. This past week, I’ve gone back to basics and done a lot of riding to rebuild trust and confidence. I’ve had some awesome memories in Maggiora; I love that place. This weekend, I just want to go there and have fun. It’s important to find the fun again because when I’m having fun, I ride well.”
5th MXGP World Championship Standings, 177-points
“In the weekend off, I raced a Dutch race last weekend, which was a good training again for the GP. I’m feeling good, and I like the track in Maggiora, so I am very motivated to do well. I’ve done well there in the past; last year, I was second overall with the same points as first, and I also had a good MXoN there finishing second in 2016 with 1 point from the win is a great memory too.”
MX2 Championship Leader, 244-points
“After Latvia, I did some training on hardpack again to prepare for this weekend. I didn’t make any changes to the bike; I’m already feeling really good on the bike, so we keep it the same. I’m really looking forward to racing in Maggiora. I like the track and my goal will be to be consistent and fight for the win or at least a podium again.”
13th MX2 Championship Standings, 94-points
“Over the past week, I’ve tested some things with the suspension and have been mainly focusing on putting hours on the bike. I continue to feel better and better and look forward to Maggiora. I had one of my best memories there last year when I won my first MX2 GP race. It was a nice feeling.”