Geerts on a perfect weekend as Benistant struggles

Jago Geerts dominated the Grand Prix of Portugal – the fifth round of the World Championship MX2 – entirely. In Agueda, the Belgian scored the maximum. The championship leader won the qualifying race as well as both motos. Good for 60 championship points. Rick Elzinga finished seventh, Thibault Benistant tenth. 

#93 Jago Geerts

Agueda, a little town about 75 kilometres south of Porto, hosted the FIM World Championship for the first time in 1985. This weekend the Crossdromo Internacional – especially known for its orange surface – was the battlefield for a Grand Prix for the 24th time. Nevertheless the riders were presented some innovations: the layout got a total metamorphosis (wider and faster) and the riding direction was changed. Changes Jago Geerts really appreciated. On Saturday the Belgian won the qualifying race, after passing Längenfelder with a nice move in the third lap to take the lead. Thibault Benistant got stuck in eight position. Rick Elzinga was unlucky: he was forced to leave the race with a broken front brake. 

Smart approach
In the first moto the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2-riders had a good start. Geerts immediately settled in the wheel of Adamo who took the holeshot. Benistant followed in a nice fourth position. And Elzinga? The Dutchman, who was 26th at the gate, entered the first corner just outside the top ten. 
In the first part of the race the track was tricky. Because of excessive spraying the track was wet and slippery. Geerts therefore chose the smart approach. He followed Adamo from a safe distance and waited to attack until the track was dry. About halfway the race Jago put pressure on the Italian for the first time. But he saved his real attacks for the last part. In the penultimate lap Geerts made his move when he passed Adamo from the inside with great dedication. Jago immediately made a gap with the Italian and won the moto.
Benistant was less successful. The Frenchman crashed in the third lap and dropped from P4 to P10. After that it went from bad to worse for Thibault, who crossed the finish line in 13th position. Elzinga on the other hand rode a strong first moto. The Dutchman continued to achieve good lap times, made very few mistakes and could move up to seventh position. 

#44 Rick Elzinga

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Attack immediately
Fortunately, the marshals had learned from the first moto, and the track was less sprayed for the second race. Geerts therefore opted for a completely different approach: no longer wait but fully go for the attack. Längenfelder and Adamo had a better start, but after three turns Jago had already passed his two competitors. The vice world champion imposed a very high pace, so that his opponents soon had to let go. Geerts rode authoritatively to his third GP win of the season, number 19 in his career. 
Rick Elzinga continued in the same spirit after his strong first moto. The European Champion EMX250 chose – like in the first moto – to cross from behind in the start. With success, cause he immediately moved up from P26 to P15. The Dutchman wanted more. After eight laps, Rick was already in ninth place. A position he kept until the finish. With that he ended just behind his team mate Benistant. The Frenchman entered the first turn in sixth position but he did not find a good rhythm and lost two positions. 
Geerts took the maximum – 60 points – in Agueda and in the World Championship classification he now has an advance of 36 points on Adamo.  Benistant drops back to position four, Elzinga stays eleventh. Next weekend the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team will travel to Arroyomolinos for the Grand Prix of Spain.

Geerts: “I felt really good from the first moment on in the practice session on Saturday. Then I knew already it would be a good weekend. But I didn’t expect to win the qualifying race and the two motos. It just was a perfect weekend. I always liked this track. But with the new lay-out and the other riding direction I like it even more. I’m really satisfied with the approach I chose for the races. Intelligent in the first moto by waiting patiently. Something I have to do more often. Then full for the attack in the beginning of the second moto. Also nice, of course.”

Elzinga: “A solid result. One I can build on. My weekend started dramatically however. In the qualifying race a stone hit my front brake, and it was broken. Game over. A 26th position at the gate. Not easy for the start. I chose to cross from behind twice. And it worked. In the first moto the track was wet and difficult. I liked it and could move to P7. In the second moto it was more difficult to pass. But P9 still is a good result. Finally everything seems to work out for me. Now I have to continue like this to get even better results.”

Benistant: “What can I say? Not much, of course… For sure nothing positive. It was a very bad weekend. I didn’t feel good on this track, I didn’t have a good feeling on my bike. I was riding without confidence. Very frustrating. But it is what it is. I can’t change it anymore. What I can do and will do however: keep working hard to solve this problem. I have to and will do a lot better in Spain. I’m sure about that. Now I have to bite the bullet.”

Words and images: Yamaha