The first two Grands Prix of the MXGP season provided a diverse experience for 18-year-old Ben Watson in the MX2 class, as the Hitachi Construction Husqvarna rider hired machinery in both Qatar and Thailand in order to capture 12th and 19th positions overall.
The talented Brit score more points in the opening brace of events compared to the first five of 2015 – his very first as a Grand Prix rider.
Watson was not originally scheduled to travel overseas with his team electing to focus on the European rounds of the series but the youngster was able to make late plans and hurried organisation to be able to join the paddock.
“It was such a last minute thing and it wouldn’t have happened without the help of a personal sponsor – Contract Furnisher UK – but to arrive in Qatar and find a brand new FC250 waiting for me was great,” he recollected.
“We just put on my bars, forks and exhaust and away we went. I had great speed all weekend and only silly little crashes in both motos prevented me getting the top 10 finishes [he went 14-14] that I should have had. I came away with 14 points – which was 14 more than I had in 2015.
“I went to Thailand and I knew what to expect with the heat but the only bike we could find there was second-hand!
“I had a few troubles with the engine and unfortunately could not ride it. Luckily we were given another new model from the Husqvarna display stand at the track and I cannot thank them enough for that! Again we had some problems and I’d lost a bit of confidence with what I was riding by the end of the day but 14th was okay to finish the weekend.
“Overall I was fairly happy with the experience considering only one week before I wasn’t even going. Now it’s time to keep working and get some great results in the next flyaways and the start of the European races.”
The former EMX250 European Championship race winner is one of the highest rated young riders in MX2 and will not turn 19 years of age until June.