Geerts, Benistant and Elzinga discuss MX2 opener

It was a dream start for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team in the FIM World Championship MX2. Jago Geerts took a double race win and the red plate in Argentina, Thibault Benistant was third on the box and Rick Elzinga finished in a nice fifth place. “A perfect weekend”, world championship leader Geerts beamed.

“We have to be realistic, our riders have not had a perfect preparation, due to illness. We therefore do not immediately count on winning in Argentina. We would be happy with one rider on the box.” That is what Hans Corvers said last week. The team boss could not believe what he saw when his three riders finished in the top five in Villa la Angostura. “Simply fantastic,” he beamed.
Jago Geerts started his weekend with a win in the qualifying race on Saturday. The 22- years old Belgian led from start to finish. Good for the pole position and ten points for the championship. “As I had some issues during my preparation, I did not expect this at all”, said Geerts, after being out for two weeks due to an illness. Thibault Benistant, who had some problems to find the good rhythm, finished in fifth position. After a rather poor start, Rick Elzinga made it just into the top ten 10.

Duel of teammates
It was a hectic start of the first race in a rainy Villa la Angostura. Some riders – including Elzinga – spun at the starting gate. One turn later, some other riders crashed. Geerts and Benistant were able to skilfully avoid all that wriggling and entered the field first and second. The two Yamahas immediately put the pressure on it. Benistant was chasing his teammate and in the third lap he was successful and passed Geerts on the outside. The Frenchman seemed to be sneaking away … until the Argentinian Caceres – who was lapped – got in the way and made Thibault crash. Geerts managed to avoid his falling teammate, de Wolf could not. Jago seemed to have free rein, but Benistant closed the gap again. Going into the final lap, the difference between the two Yamaha riders was only six-tenths of a second. But Geerts remained calm, also because Benistant went down again. Fortunately, without physical damage and without losing a place. So, one and two for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team: a great start for the championship. Rick Elzinga recovered nicely after a poor start and crossed the finish line in seventh place.

Strong Elzinga
Another fantastic start for Geerts in the second race. Horgmo took the holeshot, but one turn later Jago took over the lead from the Norwegian. The Belgian immediately made a nice gap and dominated the race to the finish line. Also nice: the way Elzinga got involved in the battles at the front. The European EMX250 champion even rode in second place for a while, but then he was passed first by Horgmo and later also by Adamo. The Dutchman finished fourth, good for a fantastic fifth place in the overall classification. Benistant seemed to be fighting for a top three position for a while, but made a mistake on lap 9. The Frenchman literally and figuratively fell back into place eight. A position he was able to hold, and which was enough for the third spot on the GP podium. A certain Jago Geerts was shining on that podium. A win in the qualifying race on Saturday and a double race win on Sunday: good for 60 points. A perfect weekend for the Belgian.

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#93 Jago Geerts
1st overall, 1st in championship

“Three great starts, three wins: it couldn’t be better, a perfect weekend. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting that at all. My preparation has been seriously disrupted by a severe flu. For three weeks I could hardly do anything. I only raced one race before I came to Argentina. I missed race rhythm, and also bike training. And still get 60 points… That’s just unbelievable. Big thumbs to my team as well. My Yamaha went out of the starting gate like a rocket three times. That makes the job a lot easier.”

#198 Thibault Benistant
3rd overall, 3rd in championship

“I have mixed feelings after this first race. On one hand, I’m happy with my 3rd place, on the other hand I’m frustrated because of the crashes. In the first moto I felt really good and fast, until that lapped rider took me down. That was really disappointing. I got back into Geerts’ rear wheel, but then I made a mistake in the last lap. I also made a mistake in the second race. I was very lucky that no one jumped on me. I’m glad I can go home without injuries. All in all, a third place isn’t that bad, is it?”

#44 Rick Elzinga
5th overall, 7th in championship

“A fifth place. Awesome. I really didn’t expect that. Certainly not after Saturday. I felt really sick. Luckily, I felt a lot better on Sunday. In the first moto, I slipped on the starting gate because it had been raining. A lucky accident: after the first turn some riders went down and so I managed to avoid them. The second moto was really fun. I was in front after the start and was able to follow the top guys for a long time. However, it took me some time to get used to the pace. Those guys kept going from start to finish.”

Words: Press Release

Image: Yamaha Racing