The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team celebrated its first double podium of the 2021 season with Maxime Renaux and Jago Geerts finishing second and third overall, respectively, at the third round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Maggiora, Italy. Making the Grand Prix even more memorable for the team was Thibault Benistant’s masterclass performance in the opening race, where the youngster steered his YZ250FM to a first-ever MX2 race win. After a spectacular crash in the final race, Benistant finished fifth overall in the Grand Prix classification.
The incredible Italian circuit had been softened by overnight rain, which made for perfect conditions, with the clay surface providing a lot of traction and plenty of line choice throughout the day. Demonstrating some great skill and sensational throttle control, Renaux stormed to his first Pole Position of 2021. The Frenchman posted the fastest time with a 1:46.455. He was 1.2 quicker than his young compatriot Benistant, who finished the session in fifth. Geerts posted a 1:48.473 to qualify 10th.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team has been working hard to improve the YZ250FM off the start, and today, their efforts were rewarded. Benistant used his finely honed launch control, quick reactions, and the undeniable power of the YZ250FM to take an impressive holeshot in the opening race of the day. Nothing short of impressive, the 18-year-old MX2 rookie led every single lap on his run to a remarkable maiden MX2 race victory.
Geerts also got off to a good start and sat comfortably in third until he was relegated to fourth by the championship leader, Ruben Fernandez, with two laps to go.
The Poleman Renaux was unable to capitalize on his start position and emerged from turn-one on the cusp of the top-15. The Frenchman pushed hard to fight forward to fifth position but fell while chasing fourth. Fortunately, the ‘959’ made a quick remount and managed to charge back to sixth.
With ominous skies clouding over the magnificent Maggiora venue, a better start in Race 2 allowed Renaux to flaunt his impressive speed. The budding 20-year-old had the potential to challenge the eventual race winner, but with the championship in mind, he decided to take a risk-free approach and secure the 22-points for second.
Geerts powered his YZ250FM to another top-three start. From there, the 21-year-old Belgian did his best to keep his position but had to hand over two positions in the last two laps due to a slight lack of ‘race fitness’. He still managed to finish fifth.
In contrast to Race 1, Benistant was taken out by another rider on the exit of turn-one. The ‘198’ hobbled to his damaged bike and was able to make a brave recovery for 14th.
After an eventful Italian Grand Prix, Renaux has moved within 2-points of the MX2 Championship lead. Complemented by the 25-points scored for a race win, Benistant has moved up to sixth in the championship chase, while a welcomed return to the podium sees Geerts move up to ninth.
The next round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place in Oss, The Netherlands, on July 17th.
2nd MX2 Grand Prix of Italy, 37-points
2nd MX2 World Championship Standings, 111-points
“It was a tough day. I had the fastest lap time in the morning for pole position, and that was really good. I had a bad start in the first race, which made the race really hard for me. I did make some great passes in the beginning of the race, but then I crashed and had to do the job another time. In the second moto, I had a better start and moved into second really quickly. I was second the whole moto, and I decided not to push for the win because I was not feeling that great on the track. I am still happy with the result. Second overall in the GP and second in the championship, so this is good points for the championship, which is the most important.”
3rd MX2 Grand Prix of Italy, 34-points
9th MX2 World Championship Standings, 67-points
“I’m pretty happy to be back on the podium. I had two good starts today, and that is positive. I struggled a little bit with arm-pump in the opening race, so (Ruben) Fernandez passed me. But still, I finished third. In the second heat, I felt like my riding was pretty good, but I still miss a little bit of rhythm, so I finished fifth. Now we have two weeks before the next GP, so I want to spend some more time on the bike, and I hope that I have more speed in Oss.”
5th MX2 Grand Prix of Italy, 32-points
6th MX2 World Championship Standings, 80-points
“The weekend started quite good with a good lap time, a holeshot and win in the first race. My speed was good and so was my physical condition. In the second race, I started from the back, and one guy jumped on my right arm, so I had a big crash. After I was a bit hurt and in pain, and the bike was a bit damaged. So it was difficult to ride, but I gave everything I could to come back to 14th.”