Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Ben Watson celebrated his very first Grand Prix win at the 15th round of the MX2 World Championship in Lommel, Belgium, as the drama continued for team-mate Jago Geerts who ended up ninth in the overall classification after falling from the front of the field in both races.
In the morning, heavy rain made for a new challenge in Lommel at the third and final event in Belgium. The saturated sand circuit was soft and soggy in the Timed Practice session. Geerts powered his YZ250FM to second position ahead of SM Action M.C Migliori’s Maxime Renaux in fourth and Watson in seventh.
In race one, Watson was truly sensational. The ‘919’ was edged from second position back to fifth on the opening lap but used his sand riding prowess and MX2 experience to regain momentum. Masterful in his pursuit, a patient ride paid dividends. He remained calm and in control as he charged to his second-ever race win.
Following in Watson’s wake, Renaux made the most of a strong start and put a stunning pass on Vialle to finish second position.
Making his MX2 debut, Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250’s Benistant impressed with a top-five finish. The ‘198’ had a fantastic start and after a decent battle with fellow Yamaha stars Watson and Renaux, the 18-year-old Frenchman came home in fourth position.
After chasing the series leader Vialle around turn one, a costly error saw Jago Geerts fall from second position after he launched into the wave section on the opening lap and landed off course. Upon landing in extremely soft sand, the young Belgian was thrown over the ‘bars and into a ditch. He remounted his YZ250FM in last-place and fell once more on his way back to finish 13th.
Frustrated by the past week’s mistakes in Lommel, Geerts unleashed his fury with an enormous holeshot in race two but ended up seventh after crashing twice.
Watson put in an impossible charge from outside of the top-10 to finish fourth in the final race, which was enough for his first-ever Grand Prix win. His visit to the podium was his fourth this season.
Ben Watson: “Honestly, I have actually no words. I am so emotional. It is just so difficult to thank everybody for what they have done. Everything was just laid out on the table for me from the whole Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team. It’s just a good feeling for me to kinda pay this back to them. I’ve worked so hard for so many years and had so many injuries along the way that to come back and stand on the top step, there are just no words for it.”
Similar to Watson’s performance, it was a true battle of attrition from Renaux who also had to fight forward from outside of the top 10 to finish on the heels of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory rider, in fifth, which was enough to secure the final place on the podium – third.
Benistant impressed with his speed and ‘race smarts’ in his debut outing, where he went 4-11 for seventh overall, while Geerts managed to salvage 14-points for seventh in the final race and was classified ninth.
Despite losing crucial points in the Championship, Geerts is still the runner-up in the 2020 MX2 Championship Standings with a 101-point advantage over Renaux in third. Watson has crept up to sixth and is 6-points shy of a place inside the top-five.
Jago Geerts: “I’m disappointed with the result. This week did not go how it was supposed to go. I had some issues with the handling of the bike and crashed four times the same, by losing the front. I just want to put these GP’s behind me and focus on learning the bike better for the next rounds and also for next year.”
The FIM Motocross World Championship now travels to Pietramurata, Italy, where the final three rounds of the series will occur on Sunday 1st, Wednesday 4th and Sunday, November 8th.