Marnicq Bervoets is the team manager at the Kemea Yamaha team and heading into the 2019 it promised to be a good season for both their riders.
Jago Geerts had a strong rookie season and wants even more this year, he ended up on the box at Valkenswaard with a third overall but starts are an area he needs to improve.
As far Watson, he finished an excellent fourth in the MX2 World Championship last year and so far this season maybe hasn’t got the results expected but he’s still close to second in the championship.
We caught up with Bervoets to get his thoughts on both riders and more.
Gatedrop: Marnicq, overall it was a good weekend for Geerts but with Watson I expected more this season. But you must be happy with the podium?
Marnicq Bervoets: I am really happy with Jago’s podium but the first heat wasn’t so great actually. It looks like they’ve pressure they’re putting on themselves, I don’t know. You know, Ben last year was fourth and we expect that he gets podiums and maybe the pressure is too high or something. If you see the results at the moment he’s still fifth and only a few points off the podium in the championship. I’m not worried, we will see in Arco and then we have a long way to go. It’s a long season and we have to keep going. We believe in it and Ben has to believe in himself.
Gatedrop: Both riders seem to be having trouble with starts. I’ve read in a few press releases that you think it’s a mental problem – maybe you’re right but do you think the bike could be improved in that area too?
Marnicq Bervoets: We are working on it. I think it’s both. You know, it’s together. If you feel that your bike is not 100% you also get mentally a problem. We will keep fighting on it and I try to tell them it’s not that bad. We’re not so far from Prado and he is a holeshoter. I think that nobody can beat him at the starts but you can still be 4, 5, 6 or 7 at the start and keep going. You have to believe in it and we have to work on it but it’s still a long season and you never know what can happen.
Gatedrop: On Jago, when I see him ride a really rough track, he’s as good as anyone. However, when the track is smooth and not that technical, he seems to struggle – is that an area you think he needs to improve in?
Marnicq Bervoets: Yeah, he has to improve at that. It’s also a little bit to do with experience. He’s born in Belgium in the sand so when he was young he was racing the Dutch championship. This is a problem and I had the same problem in my career but it’s also his style a little bit. He’s smooth and maybe sometimes too smooth on a hard, fast track that he’s too slow. We have to train on it, make lap-times and experience. All the experience he needs to take with him so the future it will turn good.
Gatedrop: Just on the track preparation, Youthstream flattened the track overnight. I would prefer they left it and just fixed jump faces so they could develop naturally and get really rough. It’s the best riders in the world after all. Would you agree or do you like the track maintenance?
Marnicq Bervoets: In my time, I loved it when the track was rough so I was really angry if they make it flat. The Motocross is coming up when the track is rough but that’s from person to person. If you have a good starter and he’s not physically not so in shape – he’ll like that they make it flat.
Gatedrop: On Jago, he’s still working with Steve Ramon, was it ever an option for him to work with Jacky Vimond instead?
Marnicq Bervoets: I think the rider has to decided by themselves which coach they want to work with. I think this is something individual, you have to love somebody to work with them otherwise it doesn’t work. I think they have to do it by themselves.
Gatedrop: How is Watson feeling on his performance from Valkenswaard?
Marnicq Bervoets: I think he’s okay. He expected more and you can see that, also from his riding. But he’s not so far from the top three riders. I told him to believe in it, keep working and then it will pay off. This is a sport and a high level sport. It’s a long season and he can’t give up, you have to keep going and maybe halfway through the season it’ll be a different story.
Gatedrop: Just on the team, you have ran three riders but this year only two. What was the reason for that and in future could you run three again?
Marnicq Bervoets: Well, because of the budget, that’s the first thing. Also, it’s too much to run three riders, to organise, it’s really difficult. If you have a problem with the bike or whatever you have three problems, now you only have two problems and you can focus more on two riders. With Yamaha, if there’s a really good youngster for the future then maybe we can think about the third rider but otherwise I don’t want it anymore.
Interview: Andy McKinstry