For 26-year-old Ben Watson, the 2023 season hasn’t been a bad one and while the former MX2 Grand Prix winner would like more than just top ten finishes as the highlight of his season, racing for top 15s with MRT Racing Team Beta is roughly where he is at this year.
Running in 15th place in the championship standings the British rider continues to work hard and at Maggiora last weekend, he claimed 14th overall. Not what he would like, but at least better than his 18th place in Turkey two weeks earlier.
“After the difficulties I encountered in Turkey,” Watson said. “I am happy because in Maggiora I returned to having good speed. On Saturday the track conditions were quite prohibitive but in qualifying I managed to drive well, finishing twelfth. On Sunday the track was drier but there were few clean lines, and it was really difficult to overtake. In race one I finished thirteenth despite a small problem. An off-track excursion in the first laps forced me to make a comeback in the second and I finished sixteenth. I have always ridden well but until I improve my performance at the start it will be difficult to obtain better results. I will try to prepare as best I can to do well in my home GP next weekend.”
What has been a highlight is the top ten performances by Watson. Those came in the deep sand of Lommel and the deep sand of Arnhem. Arnhem was until now the closest we have seen to the real Ben Watson, who often run up front in the MX2 class.
“The 10th place I achieved at Arnhem was definitely a positive result. On Saturday the feeling was good, and I had good speed in qualifying. Unfortunately, a crash made me lose a few positions. On Sunday I felt that I could do well despite starting from a rather low position at the starting gate. In the first heat I started in the middle of the group and had a good pace and ended up 11th. With another lap to spare I could have done even better. In the second race I had a bad start and on the first lap I also went off the track after a contact with an opponent. When I came back, I was practically last, but my speed was very good, and I was also feeling good in terms of physical condition. I came back and finished 11th, still very close to the riders ahead of me.”
So now onto Matterley Basin, where Watson will try and climb back into the top ten or even higher. Without doubt, he will have the crowd support to make it happened.