Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP took a break from Grand Prix competition today, as the Motocross of Nations was run at the tight track of Mantova in Italy. Glenn Coldenhoff was present for The Netherlands, as was Ben Watson for Great Britain. The Motocross of Nations is the most prestigious race in the sport and pits country against country in a unique team format.
Qualifying was an enjoyable affair for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP duo, especially YZ450FM rookie Ben Watson. Watson took the holeshot and led for nine of the twelve laps before settling down into the runner-up spot. A second place helped Great Britain qualify in fourth. Glenn Coldenhoff was just behind his teammate in third, a crucial result that helped The Netherlands take pole position for the first time since 2018.
A new day meant new opportunities, as well as an opportunity for the weather to turn. Rain hit the circuit, but Watson excelled in the conditions. A top-ten start in the first moto aided him, of course, but he did not stop there and moved into the top-three quite quickly. Watson set some of the fastest laps of the race and shadowed the leaders, but ultimately had to settle for third place. Four measly seconds separated him from the race winner.
The second moto was just as impressive, as Watson took the holeshot on his YZ450FM and slotted in behind a pair of multi-time world champions. A violent crash at the halfway mark caused him to drop to fourth, a position that he held until the chequered flag. The result actually gave Watson a dominant win in the MXGP overall classification – he was seven points clear of the guy in second – and helped Team Great Britain jump onto the podium in third.
Glenn Coldenhoff had a difficult start to race day at the Motocross of Nations, as he fell in the first turn and faced a mountainous challenge on a track that was difficult to pass on. Coldenhoff persevered, despite the torrential rain, and made two pivotal passes on the last lap to take fifteenth. That made him the eleventh MXGP rider in the race classification (the first moto also included MX2 riders).
Coldenhoff had a much better start in the second moto – he completed the opening lap in fifth and jumped to fourth a lap later, before taking third from his teammate. The strong ranking gave The Netherlands just enough points to secure second in the overall classification! The Netherlands edged out Great Britain by a single point but were also one point shy of the overall win. Coldenhoff ended fourth in MXGP via 15-3 moto scores.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP will pick up where they left off in Sardinia next weekend – the eleventh round of the 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship will be run at Teutschenthal in Germany.
Ben Watson: “When you come to this race you never know what to expect. I knew that this weekend there were a few of the top guys missing. I came in here with my teammates, two really good mates of mine, and we managed to come within two points of winning. It’s amazing. To win the MXGP overall was just the cherry on the top. I am feeling really happy with myself. It is a little confidence booster going into the rest of the season.”
Glenn Coldenhoff: “In the first race I went into the first turn a bit too hard and then with the conditions, I ended up going down. After that, I didn’t really feel very good and I was hurting quite a lot. It was hard to come back. In the second moto I took a really good start and managed to stay up, which was good and to finish third was also good. If I speak for Team The Netherlands, it was quite a disappointing day, anything less than a win is disappointing, but we gave it our all. Congratulations to Team Italy.”news