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Factory Yamaha confirm MX2 rider line up for 2023

Factory Yamaha confirm MX2 rider line up for 2023
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Yamaha Motor Europe is pleased to confirm a three-rider line-up for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team in 2023. Yamaha and the team have retained title challengers Jago Geerts and Thibault Benistant for another season and are poised to welcome the recently crowned EMX250 Champion Rick Elzinga into the fray. All three riders have signed on to campaign the factory Yamaha YZ250FM in the FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship.

With 32 race wins and 42 podiums to his credit already in MX2, Geerts is a proven title contender. The 22-year-old Belgian is again chasing his first world title in MX2 this season and currently holds a 2-point lead in the series with only one round remaining.

While his goal is to win the MX2 crown this year and then successfully defend it next, Geerts is also looking forward to making his MXGP debut aboard a factory Yamaha YZ450FM in 2024.
Geerts’ title hopes in 2023 will not be without a challenge from teammate Benistant, who has secured both the EMX125 and EMX250 championship titles during his ten-year tenure with Yamaha. Despite his rookie MX2 season in 2021 being disrupted by injury, the 20-year-old Frenchman racked up two race wins and a podium finish, ending the season eighth in the standings.

Benistant’s form has continued into 2022, with the youngster again overcoming an injury that saw him sit out the first three rounds to claim a maiden Grand Prix victory, four race wins and five podium finishes, placing him fifth in the series standings with one round remaining.

At the same time, Elzinga has worked up the Yamaha Racing pyramid with podium finishes in EMX125, aboard a GYTR kitted YZ125, and a stellar EMX250 title campaign aboard a GYTR kitted YZ250F in which he celebrated four round wins, five race wins, and six podium finishes on his way to the crown.
As the freshly crowned European EMX250 Champion, Elzinga has earned his place on the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team for his first full season in MX2.

Jago Geerts
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team
“This is my fifth year with Yamaha and I’m really happy to extend my contract for another two years. I work well with the team, and we already have a good bike set up, so it’s nice going into the winter period with a strong base. The goal will be the same as it is this year, we want to fight for the world title again, and I think we will be there. I am really looking forward to it.”

Thibault Benistant
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team
“I have been with Yamaha for a long time, since I was racing on a YZ125, so I am happy to continue with them for at least another two years. I feel good on the factory YZ250FM, and I have a lot of confidence in the team around me, so I’m certain we can be contenders for the World Championship title. Thanks to my team for their support and thanks to Yamaha for believing in me.”

Rick Elzinga
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team
“Becoming a Factory rider is so motivating. I have done a few rounds of MX2 this year as a wild card rider, and I loved it. Racing at the highest level with Yamaha’s most prestigious MX2 team is a dream come true. It has given me an extra boost of motivation to give even more, and I am determined to get the job done in MX2 next year.”

Alexandre Kowalski
Yamaha Motor Europe Off-Road Racing Manager
“We are happy to extend our deal with Jago and Thibault and to welcome Rick to the Factory team. All three riders are very talented title contenders. Jago has consistently demonstrated his title potential with multiple race wins and podium finishes, only missing out on the ultimate prize through bad luck. He finished third in 2019 and second in 2020 and 2021, so his goal for this season and next, is clear; to first win and then successfully defend the world title. We truly believe he has the ability and the support necessary to achieve these goals. As for Thibault, he is a product of Yamaha’s racing program having been with us for more than 10-years. With Yamaha, he has progressed through the ranks, securing the EMX125 title on a YZ125 and the EMX250 title on a GYTR kitted YZ250F, and it’s a similar story for Rick too. Both are perfect examples of how a rider can develop and progress within the Yamaha Family. We look forward to celebrating even more achievements in the future.”

Hans Corvers
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team Owner
“We are happy to have retained both Jago and Thibault for next season, as both have shown that they are title contenders, and to strengthen our line-up with this years’ European EMX250 Champion Rick. As a team, we go into every season determined to fight for the world title, so it’s satisfying to know that once again we have three riders who are more than capable of helping us to achieve our ultimate goal. It’s not so easy to secure riders of this calibre, and the fact that both Jago and Thibault have opted to remain with us reflects favourably on both the team and on Yamaha. We’re looking forward to next season. We know we have a good package and now we also know we have the riders to exploit it to the full.”

Words and image: Yamaha Racing

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