You wouldn’t have believed it by his riding but Jorge Prado was carrying a shoulder injury coming into the GP at Valkenswaard. The only way to make a full recovery is to rest so because of that he hadn’t rode the bike for two and a half weeks but he certainly hadn’t lost any of his speed!
The Spanish sensation pretty much dominated and went 1-1 at Valkenswaard. He was clearly happy with his weekend because he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to ride coming into the weekend. “It was a great weekend. Four days ago I could not think about riding. I had too much pain and I didn’t really know how my body was reacting. I had to rest these weeks and take it easy. I wasn’t happy at all to miss Matterley Basin. I don’t think we really expected these results here this weekend: the goal had been just to ride and get some points”. Prado now has the championship gap down too 36 points – not bad considering he missed one round of the series.
The first moto wasn’t amazing from Jago Geerts and a crash didn’t help matters but what a ride in moto two – that was superb. It’s pretty clear that the young Belgian excels on rough tracks so won’t be happy that Youthstream worked on the track overnight which meant it was pretty flat for the first MX2 moto.
However, when the track was rougher and far more technical in the second moto, Geerts showed just what he’s made off. The Kemea Yamaha rider didn’t get the best of starts but worked his way from around eighth position into second and passed Thomas Kjer Olsen right on the line. Geerts was riding really well and carried so much momentum around the sandy track. If he continues to ride like that he could be the guy to battle Prado but starts need to be improved. “I still need to work a little bit on the starts because both starts I was in the top ten but around 8th or 9th. To be up there with the top five is difficult. In the second heat the track was really rough so I could move up easier than in the first race. Also, better than in England too. The riding was good this weekend so that’s nice but we still need to work on the starts”, Geerts commented.
Geerts isn’t the only rider struggling with his starts as Calvin Vlaanderen has a similar problem. The South African has also suffered from a few first lap crashes which is far from ideal.
Despite the bad starts, Vlaanderen showed good speed all weekend long and went 4-4 to just miss out on the podium. After plenty of visits to the podium last year and even a GP win he’ll want to be on the box in 2019 soon too – sooner rather than later but the speed isn’t a problem so it could be just around the corner.
Italian rider, Alberto Forato really does look like a new rider in 2019. Despite being Italian and favouring hard pack tracks, the Maddii Husqvarna rider really impressed in the sand of Valkenswaard.
For a big guy he even got reasonable starts which is another promising sign as that’s been a big problem for him in the past. Forato went 12-7 in the moto’s to earn seventh overall. He will be back to racing the EMX250 series this weekend but with results like that in MX2 he’ll be putting himself in the shop window for a good MX2 ride in 2020!
French rider, Maxime Renaux showed some good speed at the first two rounds of the series but without the results to go with it. The SM-Action Yamaha rider despite being French enjoys riding the sand and that showed in Valkenswaard.
Renaux went 9-12 in the moto’s at Valkenswaard to remind some of us the talent he has. He ended up ninth overall and the best French rider in the class. Heading into Arco this weekend he’ll be be looking to carrying that momentium for more good results.
There’s no doubt that Davy Pootjes so far hasn’t lived up to his potential in MX2 mainly due to injuries. This year, it finally looks like it’s all coming together for the very talented Dutch rider.
Pootjes was strong all weekend long and finished sixth in the first moto. He was in the running for another top six result in the second moto before a bike problem meant he couldn’t finish the race but he’ll be happy with his pace at the moment and look to build on it.
Article: Andy McKinstry