After a four-week break in the MXGP calendar, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP and MX2 teams are excited for the FIM Motocross World Championship to resume this weekend as the series heads to Afyonkarahisar, Turkey, for the first time since 2019. The season will restart with an action-packed double-header at the hard-packed, fast and jumpy Turkish venue, where the eighth and ninth rounds of the series will take place on Sunday 4th and Wednesday 8th of September.
Jeremy Seewer has had a challenging start to the season, with health issues preventing him from reaching his full potential thus far in 2021. The 27-year-old Swiss star used the break in the calendar to rest and recover but feels that he is still not in peak form. Nevertheless, the ‘91’ is mentally strong and hopes that a positive attitude will allow him to manage his energy wisely as he builds towards full fitness. He is currently sixth in the MXGP Championship Standings.
Glenn Coldenhoff is confident after finishing second overall on the same points as the eventual round winner at the Turkish Grand Prix in 2019. The Dutchman raced his YZ450FM during the break at a Belgian International in Mol, where he defeated one of the 2021 MXGP title favourites in three races for a convincing overall victory. Currently eighth in the MXGP points, the ‘259’ hopes to achieve consistent results while fighting upfront during the next 12 rounds.
As for Ben Watson, the 24-year-old Brit hopes to keep progressing as he continues to get to grips with the powerful YZ450FM and the highly competitive MXGP class. While most riders used ‘the break’ to rest and recover, Watson used it to train and prepare for an intense, tight and compact second half of the season, where he has focused on improving his speed on hard-packed surfaces. The rookie remains the best-placed newcomer to the class. He is currently in 10th position.
In MX2, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team is enjoying a successful 2021 season, with all three riders sitting inside the top-five in the FIM MX2 World Championship Standings.
Maxime Renaux leads the way with a solid 34-point lead over Mattia Guadagnini. The young Frenchman is the only rider to qualify inside the top-five at every round and has only missed the podium twice in the Grand Prix overalls. With two Grand Prix wins and three second-place finishes already this season, Renaux’s goal is to continue his impressive form and consistency.
36-points further adrift and currently third in the MX2 Championship Standings, Jago Geerts comes into Turkey in high spirits as he continues to build toward a title run in 2021. The young Belgian has celebrated four podium finishes during the first seven rounds and is hoping for more of that same success during the second half of the season. The last time the MX2 World Championship took place in Turkey was in 2019. It was the only time Geerts has raced on Turkish soil and he finished second overall.
For Thibault Benistant, the Afyon circuit will pose a new challenge as the 19-year-old rookie has never raced in Turkey before. After some time off during the break where he was able to rest and enjoy some down-time with family and friends, the Frenchman is looking forward to being back on track where he hopes to be quicker out of the gate, which will make it easier for the YZ250FM mounted star to challenge the podium. He is currently fifth in the championship standings, 10 points off fourth.
Over the next week, the MXGP of Turkey will also stage the third and fourth rounds of the FIM Wommen’s Motocross World Championship. Yamaha’s leading ladies, Nancy van de Ven and Larissa Papenmeier, currently occupy the fourth and sixth positions in the WMX Championship Standings.
Built within the confines of the Afyon Motor Sports Center in Afyonkarahisar, the Afyon motocross track was built in 2016 and is operated by Afyonkarahisar municipality and the Turkish Motorcycle Federation. The track itself is 1750m long and is very wide and flowing. The venue has hosted two Grand Prix rounds in the past. Its first was in 2018, and its most recent round was in 2019, with the global pandemic preventing a return in 2020. Yamaha is yet to take victory on Turkish soil but has high hopes that that statistic will change over the next two rounds of racing.
6th MXGP Championship Standings, 201-points
“I’m feeling good. I have struggled with some health issues, but I took some time off and used the time to try to sort out the problems. It is going to take some time, and it could be that four weeks is not enough, but I am relaxed and feel like we are moving in the right direction. I tried to keep my training up high. Going into the second half of the season, the fairytale would be to turn it all around, but being realistic, I know I am not in tip-top shape at the moment, and I just need to give it some time. I am feeling positive and I will do my best to be upfront and see what I can manage.”
8th MXGP Championship Standings, 174-points
“I’m feeling good! I took a little bit off, did the Belgium race in Mol Balen. It was good to have some good results after two not-so-good GP’s. We did do some testing and changed some small things, but nothing crazy. In the second half of the season, I want to be more consistent and fighting every moto upfront.”
10th MXGP Championship Standings, 130-points
“The break was not really a break. I took some easy days, of course, but continued my training and riding throughout. My main focus was to prepare myself, so I am strong for this second half of the season. I have struggled on hard pack, so I’ve been working on that and putting the laps in on the hard tracks to try and improve in that area. My goals for the second half of the season won’t change. I came into this year as a rookie with a lot to learn and I want to continue on that way. Take each weekend as it comes and try to be a better version of myself. I have a lot of areas I can be better and as each weekend passes, I want to work on that.”
MX2 Championship Leader, 271-points
“I’m feeling really good after the break. It gave us time to recover and work again on my riding and on the bike to be ready for the second half of the season. I’m looking forward to it, where the goal is the same as on the first part, to be consistent in each race and to get as much points as I can.”
3rd MX2 Championship Standings, 235-points
“I rode the Belgian Championship at the Keiheuvel during the break and after that, I had an easy week to recover. This week, I will be doing the last preparations for Turkey. I want to keep going like the last races before the break. After a tough start to the season, I made a lot of improvements, and I was feeling very good before the break. So, my goal is to keep going like this and hopefully fight for the title.”
5th MX2 Championship Standings, 204-points
“I was able to recharge the body during the break, spending time with family and friends before starting to train again. We also did some testing, so I am feeling good going back racing. The goal will be to take some better starts and be more consistently upfront but we will see how it goes.”
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