Monster Yamaha’s Thibault Benistant made his way to the top step of the podium for the first time in MX2 at the German MXGP round while Jago Geerts took the red plate after a bad weekend for Tom Vialle.
In MX2 race one, it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle who grabbed the Fox Holeshot ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant, Jan Pancar of TEM JP253 and Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder.
Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf went down in the start and was left with a lot of work to do as he started from the back of the field.
Benistant was pushing for the lead but briefly went off track, though managed to not to lose any positions. Geerts meanwhile began to push Pancar for the pass and shortly after, the Belgian was up to third.
Längenfelder then dropped back to fifth, as Big Van World MTX Kawasaki’s Mikkel Haarup caught onto the rear wheel of the German and began applying pressure. He made the pass and then also got around Pancar several laps later for fourth.
Vialle meanwhile was looking comfortable as he set the fastest lap of the race. This was quickly followed by a quick lap by Geerts who was looking to not to lose track of his championship, though he struggled to get around his teammate who was holding him up from getting to Vialle.
It took Geerts nine laps to pass Benistant and when he did that he was able to get his head down and focus on Vialle. He was able to take the gap down and in the final stages of the race we watched the pair battle it out for the win.
In the end, Vialle was able to keep calm and bring the win home in the opening heat, Geerts finished second ahead of Benistant, Haarup and Pancar.
In race two, it was again Vialle who got the Fox Holeshot, but moments later Benistant was the leading rider as he made a quick move on the factory KTM rider. SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery’s Andrea Adamo was next ahead of Geerts and Längenfelder.
Haarup made an early pass on Längenfelder for fifth, as Pancar faded to ninth after being got by F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Kevin Horgmo and de Wolf.
Geerts got around Adamo, and so did Längenfelder, as de Wolf dropped back to 11th,
While it looked like we had a French battle at the front on our hands, the race took a dramatic turn as Vialle stalled the bike and could not get it fired up again. After several tries, the Frenchman accepted defeated and walked back to the paddock. It was a costly moment for Vialle who lost the championship lead as a result.
At that point Benistant had clear track and was pulling away from his teammate. He was looking fast as he set several fastest laps of the race.
In the end, Benistant took the win ahead of Geerts, Haarup, Längenfelder and Horgmo.
A 2-1 result gave Benistant his first overall of the season, as Geerts settled for second ahead of Haarup who made his return to the box for the first time since Trentino.
A DNF for Vialle in race two hands Geerts the championship lead. The Belgian now has a 12-point lead over Vialle as Längenfelder remains third.
“I was happy to know that I was the winner this weekend. We have been working for this for a long time and I knew that I could win some races and even some GP’s, but we just had to wait and finally it happened so I’m happy with that,” said Benistant.
Geerts added: “I’m quite happy about the weekend with the two second places. It was a solid weekend. I didn’t feel great on the track, it was a bit sketchy, and I didn’t really have a good rhythm all weekend. So, I was a bit surprised about the first heat that I had really good speed and could almost win the race.
“Second heat, I didn’t really feel comfortable, so I rode my own pace and didn’t take too many risks. I saw Tom next to the track, so I knew I had the red plate back but that didn’t matter that much, I didn’t feel great, and I just came home in second.”