Geerts – this one hurts the most

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Jago Geerts ended a historic season of MX2 racing as the championship runner-up after a breathtaking fight to second overall at the 18th and final round of the series in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey. Thanks to the combined efforts of both Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 riders, Geerts and teammate Thibault Benistant, Yamaha successfully defended the Manufacturer’s World Title to retain the crown for a third consecutive season.  

Geerts arrived in Turkey as the MX2 Championship leader with a slender 2-point advantage over his only remaining rival Tom Vialle. The Belgian ran a hot pace right from the first practice session and set down a marker in his quest for a maiden world title by posting the fastest lap of the race on his way from fifth to second in the Qualifying yesterday afternoon. 
Starting from P.2, Geerts narrowly missed the jump in the opening race of the day and was squeezed going into turn one. The ’93’ barged his way into the top-five and, soon after, into second position before falling on lap 10. 
With adrenalin flowing through his veins, the Yamaha ace made a quick remount and charged hard to the flag but lost too much time in the incident to challenge the race leader, Vialle, and had to settle for second.
Drawing the curtains on a dramatic season, Geerts finished again second in race two after a luckless crash that was caused by the mistake of Vialle, who had fallen in the primary race line while leading. Geerts plowed into the number 28’s bike and was thrown over the handlebars. 
After losing more than 10-seconds in that incident, which was followed by another a lap later, Geerts gave everything in his charge back to the front but was ultimately denied victory in the final throes. 
As for Thibault Benistant, the young Frenchman put in a brave ride to finish sixth overall while nursing a shoulder injury. The 20-year-old had to push through the pain barrier in both races. He ended the season with a 10-4 scorecard. 
This season, the Hans Corvers led Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team celebrated an incredible 25 years in blue. Thanks to the efforts of its two riders, Geerts and Benistant, the team celebrated nine Pole Positions, 16 race wins, and 22 podium finishes, seven of which were Grand Prix victories. Both riders ended the season inside the top five, with Geerts taking his third consecutive silver medal and Benistant finishing fifth. As a result, Yamaha has retained the Manufacturer’s World Title for a third straight season. 

Geerts: “This is a hammer blow. Especially the way I lose the title hurts a lot. I felt good in the second moto, I made several attacks on Vialle. At the umpteenth attempt, he crashed right in front of me. I couldn’t avoid him, hit his wheel and was thrown over my bike. One big difference: he managed to get back on his bike much faster. I did everything I could, but I couldn’t close the gap anymore. Second again. The third time in a row. This one hurts the most. In the last moto of the season after again bad luck. It will take me some time to get over this.”

Benistant: “There were some positive points and negative points this weekend. I felt good in Qualifying but had a bad start in the first race today. I stretched my injured shoulder, and this made the races difficult. I just had to ride through the pain. I worked really hard with Yamaha’s physio to have it as strong as possible this weekend. We did what we could, but it was not enough to take away the pain. In the end, this was the last GP of the year and I managed to take some positive points, so now I just look forward to recovering and coming back strong next year.”

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Words and image: Yamaha

Podcast! Andy McKinstry and Jonathan McCready review the 2022 MXGP season with that unbelievable MX2 title decider in Turkey as well as looking back at a great AMA season and 450 last round title decider between the rapid Eli Tomac and Chase Sexton.

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