The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP and MX2 teams are ready for an intense two months of racing as the FIM Motocross World Championship heads to Riola-Sardo, Sardinia, for the 10th round of the 2021 MXGP series. For the riders that will race the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations in Mantova, Italy, on September 26th, the MXGP of Sardegna will be the first of 10 back-to-back races.
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 aboard his YZ450FM 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.
6th MXGP Championship Standings, 249-points
“I’m feeling not too bad ahead of Sardinia. It’s just that I need more recovery than usual, and I can’t ride the bike as much as I normally would. I think it’s getting better now, and that is a positive point. I am seeing some specialists to get it sorted, so let’s see. I’m looking forward to the upcoming tracks, like Riola and Teutschenthal in Germany. These tracks suit me, and I really like riding them. Riola is actually my favourite sand track. It’s one of the most physically demanding, and it has a lot of character, and it’s always interesting. I want to say I am going there with the goal of being on the podium, but given my current situation it’s hard to say, but I will go there and be happy if I can come away with a top five or close to.”
8th MXGP World Championship, 212-points
“I am looking forward to race on Sardinia. We have spent quite some time there the past winter, so I am happy to go back to the island. I had my first race on the Yamaha there in February, it was months before the season started and we have made some steps since then. It is a track I like, so I am excited to race in the sand again. As the past GP’s have been terrible, I hope to turn it around in Sardinia and go for a good result.
10th MXGP Championship Standings, 143-points
“Riola is a fun track. I am really happy to be heading back to a sand track. Honestly, I haven’t been feeling my best right now, but we know I struggled in Turkey and we will learn and move on from this. The track in Riola does suit me. I have been there multiple times and it’s always very technical with some big bumps. After a tough few weeks, I don’t want to go there with high expectations. I need to enjoy the racing again and try to ride with a smile on my face and the results will come along with this.”
MX2 World Championship Leader, 361-points
“I’m feeling good, the two Turkish rounds went pretty well, so I am looking forward to go back on track. I really like Riola, as we trained there this winter and also past years. I feel comfortable and have always had a lot of fun there. The goals for the weekend are to keep on being consistent and putting some good points for the championship. Trying to get the best results out of this weekend”
3rd MX2 World Championship, 290-points
“It’s nice to ride a GP in Riola. I did the pre-season race there a couple of times and it’s a very heavy sandy track. I really like tracks like that, it’s a bit like Lommel. Deep sand and really bumpy all the time so I’m looking forward to it. My goal is to finish on the podium again after the two difficult races I had in Turkey. It should be fun.”
5th MX2 World Championship, 261-points
“Riola is a place I like to ride; I have been there a few times. It’s sand, and I really look forward to being back in the sand. I think what is most important for me is getting good starts, so we have been working on this past week and testing some things. I think we have made some improvements, so this weekend we will see. My goal is to have good starts and do my best and let’s see where we end up.”