Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 rider Maxime Renaux finished second – after another race win – at the Grand Prix of Turkey, in Afyonkarahisar. The French rider extended his championship lead to 37 points. Jago Geerts (6th) and Thibault Benistant (9th) had a tough day at the office in Turkey.

After a four week summer break the FIM World Championship resumed at Afyonkarahisar, Turkey. The fast and hardpack track, with a lot of jumps, made its return on the calendar (with a double-header) after missing out last year because of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Afyon Moto Center is located at 1.000 meters altitude, causing the bike to react differently. The mechanics of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team had a lot of work to prepare a competitive bike. Renaux was fifth in time practice, which offered him a nice gate pick. Benistant (11th) and Geerts (18th) on the other hand couldn’t qualify in top ten, leaving them with a poor starting position.

Hard work
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 riders didn’t get the best start on their YZ250FM in the first race. Renaux was 8th in the first turn, Benistant 15th and Geerts 18th. They all had a lot of work ahead of them. Championship leader Renaux needed some time to find a good flow. Once found, he passed Fernandez for fifth place after a tough battle. But Maxime wanted more. He set the fastest lap of the race at the end of the moto (in lap 13) and went by Hofer for fourth place. A nice charge from the Frenchman.

Both Benistant and Geerts made up a few positions in the opening phase of the race. After four laps they were already in 9th and 10th place. Both riders struggled to find a good rhythm. At the end of the race they both could pass Boisramé, finishing 8th and 9th.

Race win
Unlike the first race, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 riders did get off to a great start in the second race. Renaux claimed the holeshot, while Geerts and Benistant were not far behind him. Unfortunately, Jago made a small mistake and lost three places in the first lap, while Thibault dropped to 15th place after a crash. Geerts had to work hard to gain two more places, finishing sixth. Benistant crossed the line in tenth place.

Renaux was looking smooth and cool in the lead. However, the Frenchman got a lot of pressure from his compatriot and world champion Vialle. But Maxime kept a cool head. Vialle came close, but couldn’t launch a pass. Another race victory – the fourth of the season – for Renaux, who extended his championship lead on Guandagnini from 34 to 37 points. The team will stay in Turkey for another Grand Prix in Afyonkarahisar – round 9 of the FIM World Championship – on Wednesday.

#93 Jago Geerts
6th overall – 3rd in championship
“Normally, I can’t be happy with a sixth place. I had surgery on my right arm during the summer break. I couldn’t ride the bike for three weeks. I clearly missed rhythm today. I struggled in time practice and had a poor gate pick. My races were okay. Nothing more, nothing less. I didn’t suffer from arm pump today. That is a big relief. My level got better during the day, that’s also positive.”

#198 Thibault Benistant
9th overall – 6th in championship
“Today was not the best day. I struggled in time practice and had a poor gate pick. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my starts were not good at all. It made my job a lot more difficult. I tried to find a good speed and a good rhythm. I tried to push and ride like I know I can, but it was very difficult to pass. I also had a big crash off the track in the beginning of the second race. In short: not my best weekend. I hope to bounce back on Wednesday.”

#959 Maxime Renaux
2nd overall – 1st in championship
“I rode two completely different races today. In the first race I was buried in eighth place in the start and had to push hard to gain positions. I rode a bit stiff and me a few mistakes. So, fourth was not bad at all. My second race was almost perfect: holeshot, clear vision, clear track. That makes the job easier. I had a nice battle with Vialle. I’m looking forward to have more of those battles.”


Race 1

  • 1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM)
  • 2. Mattia Guadagnini (Ita/KTM) +0:05.988
  • 3. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0:07.359
  • 4. MAXIME RENAUX (Fra/Yam) +0:16.158
  • 5. Rene Hofer (Aut/KTM) +0:27.478
  • 8. THIBAULT BENISTANT (Fra/Yam) +0:35.151
  • 9. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) +0:43.644

Race 2

  • 1. MAXIME RENAUX (Fra/Yam)
  • 2. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) +0:01.638
  • 3. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) +0:11.439
  • 4. Mattia Guadagnini (Ita/KTM) +0:12.624
  • 5.Rene Hofer (Aut/KTM) +0:28.479
  • 6. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) +0:37.230
  • 10. THIBAULT BENISTANT (Fra/Yam) +0:58.882


  • 1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 47
  • 2. MAXIME RENAUX (Fra/Yam) 43
  • 3. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 40
  • 4. Mattia Guadagnini (Ita/KTM) 40
  • 5. Rene Hofer (Aut/KTM) 32
  • 6. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) 27
  • 9. THIBAULT BENISTANT (Fra/Yam) 24

World Championship classification (8/18)

  • 1. MAXIME RENAUX (Fra/Yam) 314
  • 2. Mattia Guadagnini (Ita/KTM) 277
  • 3. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) 262
  • 4. Ruben Fernandez (Esp/Hon) 239
  • 5. Jed Beaton (Aus/Hus) 237
  • 6. THIBAULT BENISTANT (Fra/Yam) 228

Next race: September 8, GP9 Afyonkarahisar (Tur)

Images by @shotbybavo – Yamaha Racing