Jago Geerts bounced back after two difficult rounds, by winning round 11 of the FIM World Championship in Mantova. His Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 teammate Ben Watson just missed the podium by one point.
#193 Jago Geerts takes his fourth GP victory of 2020. Image by @shotbybravo
Jago Geerts took his second pole position of the season in the third and last round of the triple-header in Mantova, while Ben Watson equaled his best qualifying result with the sixth time.
Geerts got off to a good start on his YZ250FM in the first race. The Belgian was right behind Vialle and Sandner in the first turn, but lost one place after a small mistake. Geerts worked his way up to second place again after three laps, but already faced a nine second gap on Vialle. The Belgian put in some blistering laps to bridge the gap. With five minutes to go, Geerts was within touching distance from Vialle. As hard as he tried, Jago couldn't get close enough on the Frenchman to make the pass. Teammate Ben Watson started in 10th position and worked his way up to sixth on lap 7 and rode a lonesome but a consistent race until the end, finishing 6th.
Watson got a much better start in the second race as the Brit powered his YZ250FM to a fantastic holeshot, with Van De Moosdijk, Vialle and teammate Geerts right behind him. Watson could only enjoy the lead for two laps, as first Vialle and next Geerts passed him on the inside, on exactly the same spot.
In the front Jago was immediately putting a lot of pressure on Vialle. The Belgian decided not to rush things, like last Wednesday, but waited for the perfect moment to make his move. Half way the race Geerts went - just before the waves - on the inside by the Frenchman and took the lead. Vialle did not give in, studied Geerts' lines and kept pushing the Belgian. Jago stayed calm, didn't make any mistakes and took the race and Grand Prix victory.
Watson rode a very consistent race in third position. Olsen came back strong on the Brit, but Ben reacted well, kept cool and finished third. Unfortunately, he just missed the podium by one point.
#919 Ben Watson. Image by @shotbybravo
#193 Jago Geerts
1st overall“It's a nice feeling to win again after two difficult races. My day started well in time practice by taking the pole position. I started well in the first moto, but spent a bit too long behind Sandner and Renaux. I was able to come back on Vialle, but couldn't pass him on this one-lined track. I didn't make the same mistake in the second moto. I was behind Vialle immediately, looked for some good lines and made a pass halfway the race. I'm happy with the victory, but it's a pity that I couldn't get some points back on Vialle. Anyway, I want to keep this momentum going."
#919 Ben Watson
"Fourth place... again. One point short of the podium... again. It's getting a little bit annoying. When you look back, my start in the first race ruined my podium ambitions. I had a good jump at the gate, but missed a gear down the straight. I was outside top 10 in the first turn. I didn't find a good rhythm and couldn't make a difference on the guys in front of me. My second race was much better. I took the holeshot, my third of the season. I definitely made some progress on that aspect. I got passed by Geerts and Vialle. I didn't have the speed of them, but I could hold off al the other riders. I'm happy to leave Mantova with good points and healthy.”
"What an exciting grand prix. It was very close in both races. Geerts and Vialle were evenly matched. In the first race Jago managed to come back to the Frenchman, but wasn't able to pass him. Almost the same story in race 2, but this time Jago could pass Vialle and take the GP victory. A boost after two disappointing races. It's a pity that Jago was not accompanied by Watson on the podium. Ben rode two very solid races, but missed the box by one point. Unfortunately, he missed his start in the first race, otherwise he would certainly have been on the podium."
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM)
2. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) +0:01.423
3. Conrad Mewse (GBr/KTM) +0:04.773
4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) +0:16.055
5. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0:28.127
6. BEN WATSON (GBr/Yam) +0:30.314
1. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam)
2. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) +0:00.982
3. BEN WATSON (GBr/Yam) +0:17.392
4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) +19.448
5. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0:23.091
1. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) 47
2. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 47
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) 36
4. BEN WATSON (GBr/Yam) 35
5. Conrad Mewse (GBr/KTM) 35
World championship classification (11/18)
1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 478
2. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) 432
3. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 348
4. Maxime Renaux (Fra/Yam) 341
5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (Den/Hus) 311
7. BEN WATSON (GBr/Yam) 287
Next race: October 11, GP12 Arroyomolinos (Spa)
Image by @shotbybravo - @yamahaofficialracing.com