Benistant Nears MX2 Podium in Trentino
Benistant Nears MX2 Podium in Trentino
The fifth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Pietramurata, Italy, was marked by Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Thibault Benistant’s stunning return to form. In just his second Grand Prix of 2022, the 19-year-old Frenchman narrowly missed the second step of the podium by a single point. He finished fifth and third in the championship races for fourth overall. At the same time, Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250’s Rick Elzinga made an impressive MX2 debut this weekend, finishing seventh and 11th in the races for seventh overall. Unfortunately, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Jago Geerts had a challenging day. After a scintillating race to third in Race 1, the Belgian’s hopes of another podium finish were spoiled by a race-ending crash in Race 2. He was classified 11th.
After five months off the bike, while recovering from knee surgery, Benistant defied expectation with an incredible flag-to-flag victory in the MX2 qualifying race. The success meant the 19-year-old would start the Grand Prix from Pole Position for the first time in his career. At the same time, Geerts’ Grand Prix got off to a turbulent start. The Championship Leader ended up qualifying 18th after an uncanny crash on lap 4.
Starting from pole position, Benistant got off to a top-three start in Race 1 but was shuffled back to fourth almost immediately by Andrea Adamo. After a fascinating battle that saw the duo switch positions three times, the Frenchman suffered the aftereffects of his time off and eventually faded back to fifth position.
For Geerts, starting from 18th was his first challenge. The ‘93’ did well in both races to stay out of trouble at turn one, with the 180-degree first corner causing carnage in both races. Although it was impossible to start up front, he had to push hard from outside of the top-10 in both races.
Desperate to salvage as many points as possible, Geerts put in a phenomenal performance in Race 1 as he charged through the field and up into third position. The Yamaha ace posted the fastest lap of the race on lap-15, but despite being the quickest rider on track, too much time was lost battling through the field, allowing the leaders to break away. He eventually settled for third.
In the second and final race of the day, Benistant powered his YZ250FM to a top-three start and was quick to challenge Tom Vialle for the lead. But, despite feeling fantastic around the slick and tricky circuit, the Frenchman found himself tightening up under pressure. Patience is a virtue and something the ‘198’ understands. The young super-talent reduced his intensity to relax and put in a clever ride for a top-three finish - his first of the season.
Geerts impressively blitzed through the field from 10th in Race 2 but slid out on the face of a step-down jump while challenging his teammate for third on lap 6. He suffered a massive high-side after landing sideways. Quick to get to his feet, the ‘93’ picked up his YZ250FM and tried to rejoin the race but was ultimately unable to finish due to a damaged front brake caliper.
With only one score on the board at the MX2 Grand Prix of Trentino, Geerts was classified 11th and has been bumped to second position in the MX2 Championship Standings.
The team has already shifted its focus to the next round of the FIM Motocross World Championship that will take place in Kegums, Latvia, on the weekend of April 24th.
For full results from the MX2 Grand Prix of Trentino, click here.
4th MX2 Grand Prix of Trentino, 36-points
14th MX2 Championship Standings, 63-points
“This weekend started really good because I was feeling really good with the bike on this track. I managed to make my first pole position in MX2 with my first Qualifying Race win. In the first race, I made a little mistake in the first laps, and then after that I started to tighten up. I needed to relax, and that cost me some places, but I still finished fifth, which was good. In the second race, I tried to attack Tom Vialle but I tightened up straight away, and again, I needed to relax and find my lines. It was nice to get my first top-three finish this year, and then to miss the overall podium by a point is disappointing but considering it’s only my second GP of the year, and with only one month on the bike, it’s not so bad.”
11th MX2 Grand Prix of Trentino, 20-points
2nd MX2 Championship Standings, 194-points
“It was a difficult weekend for me on paper. I am disappointed with the result and to lose the red plate. But I have to be happy with my riding; I felt pretty good on the track; it was just difficult off the start after qualifying 18th. I came through the pack pretty good, and my speed was there, but just a few too many mistakes. Now, I’m really looking forward to going back to Latvia to get some redemption.”
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