Video: Inside Factory Yamaha MXGP – Toughest mud race in history?

In the most grueling of racing environments, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s newest recruit, Andrea Bonacorsi, made a splash at the fifth round of the MXGP World Championship in Agueda, Portugal, powering his YZ450FM through the mire to start his MXGP career on the cusp of the top-five!

A damp and drizzly week leading into the Portuguese Grand Prix turned torrential just two laps into the opening MXGP race on Sunday afternoon, transforming Agueda’s distinctive orange soil into an unforgiving quagmire of mud and muck. The combination of deep ruts and slippery sections tested the skills of even the most seasoned MXGP riders in the world. For ‘Bona’, as a newcomer to the MXGP class, his 450cc debut could not have been under more challenging circumstances.

Go inside the MXGP of Portugal raw and unfiltered with Bona during his MXGP debut and the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team as they storm to a season-best double podium finish with Rick Elzinga and Thibault Benistant finishing second and third, respectively.

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“Moving up to the MXGP class was the biggest decision of my life,” Bonacorsi explained. “The Hutten crew were like a family to me, and after Race Two in Arco where I showed that I can run up front, it was difficult to move to MXGP. But when I thought about it, I love riding a 450. The bike! I love it. It suits me much better because of my physique and how big I am, so I can enjoy riding a lot more on the YZ450FM, and I know I can show what I am capable of in the MXGP class on this bike for sure!” he flexed.

Following a strong showing of speed and potential in practice and qualifying, the heavens opened during MXGP Race One, with rain continuing to fall heavily on and off throughout the day, turning the spectacular Agueda circuit into an ugly brown mud bath. With each lap, the track changed, becoming more unpredictable and demanding. The deep ruts turned into tyre traps, threatening to swallow the bikes with every attempt to navigate them. Maintaining balance and finding the perfect line became an unavoidable risk, where a single wrong move could result in a mistake or loss of valuable time. Many riders did not survive; however, the rookie, Bonacorsi, handled it like a veteran, finishing his first-ever MXGP race in sixth.

Race Two required not only physical strength but also mental fortitude. The brutal conditions had the potential to shake the confidence of even the most experienced riders. Remaining focused despite reduced visibility, Bonacorsi showed he could adapt quickly; although he made a few mistakes, as did most of MXGP’s elite, he charged home in eighth to secure sixth overall.

“I have to be happy with what I achieved in my first GP as an MXGP rider,” Bonacorsi smiled. “I mean, to make the switch from MX2 to MXGP here, with not the easiest track conditions and I still managed sixth overall, I’m very happy with that.”

“Andrea’s first MXGP race with the team and on the YZ450FM was impressive,” Yamaha Motor Europe’s Off-Road Racing Manager Alexandre Kowalski applauded. “It was quite impressive that he was this strong and consistent in such challenging conditions. I am looking forward to seeing him confirm his place in, hopefully, drier conditions in races to come. But this was a good debut for him, a good start to his MXGP career, and good for the team as they build their relationship together.”