Briton Ben Watson missed out on the podium at the opening MX2 GP of the year by just a single point despite taking two fourth place finishes in his best ever GP ride. Making his debut on the Kemea Yamaha, Watson ran with the front runners in the opening moto and finished a strong fourth behind winner Pauls Jonass, Hunter Lawrence and Thomas Kjer Olsen.
Second time out Watson was right with the pack at the front, overtaking holeshot man Davy Pootjes then scrapping for fourth place with Lawrence as Jonass pulled away at the front from Olsen and Sanayei.
Lawrence, shaking his hand as he seemed to have arm pump, couldn’t hold Watson off for fourth place as HRC Honda man Calvin Vlaanderen put pressure on them both. It was a classic last lap as Watson just held off Vlaandren for the fourth place with Lawrence sixth.
Watson came over the line and looked at his team to see if he made it to the podium, but was just one point short – but of course he’s now fourth in the world championship as the series heads to Valkenswaard in two weeks.
Double winner Jonass, out on the new 250 KTM which he says is better than ever, said: “The weekend was perfect – I won every practice and race. But it’s only the first round and the most important thing is to be consistent like last year.”
Lanky Olsen admitted he was trying as hard as he could to catch Jonass rather than settling for second, but could not make an impact on the Latvian.
Lawrence said: “I sucked. I’ve had a few personal problem in the past week and a half and it’s not a track I like. I’m surprised to be on the podium after Watson and Vlaanderen passed me.”
The opening moto saw Lawrence take the holeshot but he was soon passed by Sanayei while Watson was breathing down their necks as Thomas Kjer Olsen and Jonass gave chase. Lawrence soon took the lead while Sanayei had a disaster as his Dixon Kawasaki ground to a halt. Jonass was the man on the move as he worked his way to the front and pulled a big lead over Larence. Jonass slowed on the last lap to ensure his win, from Lawrence and Olsen who was 12 seconds back.
It was a great ride for Watson who took fourth place, from German Henri Jacobi and Briton COnrad Mewse who took sixth after beating Aussie Jed Beaton to the line. Adam Sterry, who hurt his hand in the qualifying race and was unsure whether he’d start the moto, braved it through the pain and took 13th.
Second race was a holshot for Pootjes who eventually dropped back Jonass took the lead and was unchallenged as Olsen took second from American Sanayei. Watson just headed Vlaanderen over the line for fourth, with Lawrence sixth from Jorge Prado and Jed Beaton. It wasn’t so good for the Brits as Mewse was 19th and Sterry 21st.