The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team had a tough start of the FIM World Championship in Russia. Maxime Renaux finished sixth in Orlyonok, Thibault Benistant 11th and Jago Geerts – who’s struggling with a knee injury – 12th.

Beautiful weather, a spectacular track and finally many spectators. What else do you need? Good starts of course. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for the Monsters Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 riders in the first race. They were all three buried in the middle of the pack. Renaux was 17th in the first turn, Geerts rode outside top 20 and Benistant was last after a crash. They faced a touch catch-up race on the hilly and fast hardpack circuit, next to the Black Sea.

Renaux quickly moved up to 8th place, but got stuck behind Pancar, Beaton and Hofer for a long time. The Frenchman, third in the FIM world championship in 2020, showed a lot of determination and could finally pass the trio. In the end, he lost one spot after a small crash and finished sixth. 

Meanwhile Geerts move up to 15th place, but was taken out by another rider in lap 4. The Belgian lost a lot of time and had to fight back from 22nd position. The vice world champion fought for every point and managed to finish 17th. Benistant finished 15th a after a decent catch up race.

Geerts sixth
Again, not the best of starts for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 riders in the second race. Renaux was eighth in the first turn – not that bad – but made a mistake in the first lap and went down on the whoops. The Frenchman had to fight back from 26th position. 

A strong first lap brought Geerts from the 11th to 7th place. The Belgian gained one more place after passing Rubini, but came under a lot of pressure at the end. De Wolf and Benistant – who came back from 16th position – were pushing a lot, but Geerts kept cool. Benistant finished right behind his Belgian team mate. And Renaux? He was putting in some good lap times and managed to come back from the 26th to 9th place. A strong performance.

#93 Jago Geerts
12th overall
“Normally, a 12th place is not a good result for me. But today I’m happy with those 19 points. One week ago it looked like I couldn’t race in Russia because of the knee injury I picked up in Ernée. In time practice, I still felt a bit insecure, but during the day it got better and better. It’s a pity that someone took me out in the first race. Otherwise, I might have taken four or five more points. My second race was pretty good. In the end De Wolf and Benistant were pushing really hard, but I could hang on to sixth place. Not bad at all. And most important: the knee injury didn’t get worse.”

#198 Thibault Benistant
11th overall
“My crash in the start of the first race made the job a lot more difficult. Unfortunately, that’s also part of our sport. After that crash I didn’t find a good rhythm, I had difficulties to make passes and only finished 15th. In the second race I had a mediocre start, around 15th place. This time I quickly found a good rhythm. In the end, I was finally feeling good on the bike and the track. I came very close to Jago. He is my teammate, so I was a bit more careful. I didn’t want to do stupid things and crash. My overall feeling? Some good thins, some bad things. It’s clear that we still have some work to do.”

#959 Maxime Renaux
6th overall
“Not the best start of the season. In the first race I had to work hard after a bad start. I came back to fifth place, but then had a small crash. I hit neutral in a rut, went down and lost one position. A pity. My start was a bit better in the second race, around eightt place, but I had a crash in the first lap. I hit a rut a little bit too hard and went down again. I started a catch-up race from last to ninth place. The pace was quite good, but my starts have to be better. If you want to fight for the podium, you need good starts. That’s the most important lesson today.”

Race 1

  • 1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM)
  • 2. Ruben Fernandez (Esp/Hon) +010.522
  • 3. Roan van de Moosdijk (Ned/Kaw) +0:15.355
  • 4. Mathys Boisramé (Fra/Kaw) +0:22.308
  • 5. Rene Hofer (Aut/KTM) +0:24.551
  • 6.MAXIME RENAUX (Fra/Yam) +0:25.902
  • 15. THIBAULT BENISTANT (Fra/Yam) +1:15.881
  • 17. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) +1:31.785

Race 2

  • 1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) +0:02.569
  • 2. Mathys Boisramé (Fra/Kaw) +0:2.569
  • 3. Ruben Fernandez (Esp/Hon) +0:6.603
  • 4. Rene Hofer(Aut/KTM) +0:17.573
  • 5. Roan van de Moosdijk (Ned/Kaw) +0:30.552
  • 6. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) 0+0:32.471
  • 7. THIBAULT BENISTANT (Fra/Yam) +0:34.932
  • 9. MAXIME RENAUX (Fra/Yam) +0:44.689

Overall and world championship classification

  • 1. Tom Vialle (Fra/KTM) 50
  • 2. Ruben Fernandez (Esp/Hon) 42
  • 3. Mathys Boisramé (Fra/Kaw) 40
  • 4. Roan van de Moosdijk (Ned/Kaw) 36
  • 5. Rene Hofer (Aut/KM) 34
  • 6. MAXIME RENAUX (Fra/Yam) 27
  • 11.THIBAULT BENISTANT (Fra/Yam) 20
  • 12. JAGO GEERTS (Bel/Yam) 19

Next race: June 27, GP2 Matterley Basin (GBr)

Images by @shotbybavo/CDS/Yamaha Racing