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Chatter Box: Ben Watson

Ben Watson on Turkey and the MXoN.

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Ben Watson returned to the front at the Grand Prix of Turkey, round eighteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship, and recorded a brace of fourths. There were incredible lap times thrown in there for good measure as well. Watson discusses all of that in this exclusive MX Vice interview, plus the fact that he was chosen to represent Team Great Britain at the Motocross of Nations.

MX Vice: You obviously missed the podium, which is a situation you have kind of become familiar with. Results, speed and all of that was pretty good this weekend though. I see no reason why you would not be happy with that.

Ben Watson: Yeah, I have made a big step this weekend actually. It is nice to feel like myself again. It has been a tough few weeks. It is nice to come here, kind of feel like myself and be right up there running with the first place. It has been a hard few weeks. I have been struggling with a few things and with the new bike it has taken some getting used to.

I came here and was really frustrated after Saturday, actually. I did not have a great day. My times were not where I wanted them to be. In the race I was not riding like I wanted to ride. It was nice to leave with two fourths and two points from the podium. Kind of the story from my whole year, really, but I am not complaining about that at all.

Vergrößern

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Ben Watson has a fairly tight grip on fourth in the series standings now.

Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer

That second moto, your lap times, you were consistently the fastest rider on track. You had set the best lap of the race and then did it again and again and again. I do not know if I would say it was your best race of the season, but how do you feel about it?

Yeah. I would not say it was my best race of the season obviously, but it was for me from the last few weeks like you were saying. It is really nice to feel that again. For me, seeing the pit board and it saying I am the fastest on track, it is really nice to feel that again. It has been quite a while, a few weeks. I just want to thank all of the team and everybody. There has been no pressure, hard feelings or anything. It is just support for me.

It is really good in situations when it is not going perfect and like everybody wants. From 2017, coming to this year, it has been a huge step. I am maybe expecting too much too soon for myself, but I was fourth overall six times. For me I want to be there every time now. That is why it can be a little bit disappointing when things do not go like I want. Just stay positive. Everybody has stuck behind me. It is good to be back where I belong.

Another good point from this weekend is, had you had a better gate pick today, you probably would have had two holeshots. That has kind of been the thing holding you back all season.

Yeah, as soon as I got on the new Yamaha the starts have just completely changed. I was sure I would holeshot the second race today, but I ran a little bit wide and I think it was [Jorge] Prado or somebody who just got there before me. I have never been that close. Even in the first race I was really close again and even in the qualifying race, I had three amazing starts this weekend. We did quite a big change, because of the altitude here, so I think the team were maybe a little bit smarter than everybody else with what we did. It worked really well. Again, thank you to them for all their hard work. It is nice to come away with two fourths to give something back.

Can you say what they did to the bike or is it just over your head completely and a load of technical stuff?

Yeah, kind of. It is all with the computer. It is basically to do with the altitude. We went to the practice start grid and we did some starts on the bike, which from what it normally would be was really slow. They changed a few things for the altitude and it worked amazing.

Vergrößern

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Ben Watson was fourth in Turkey and had the best lap time in race two.

Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer

Looking at this track, I would not necessarily say it is one that would suit you or one you would do well on. Were you surprised by your speed today? Obviously, you prefer more technical tracks…

After yesterday I was so disappointed with the track. I walked it on Friday and I thought it was looking maybe a little bit like Qatar or one of the man-made tracks that we have been to, where they have just built it on a flat field. I normally actually do quite well on those tracks so, for me, when I walked the track I was not thinking, “This is not for me or this is for me.” It was just one of those tracks where I just thought, “I will get on with it and it will be what it is.” It’s the same for everybody. When I went out there in the first practice yesterday, it was so awful. I was so disappointed. There was just nothing to the track at all. There were no ruts and no lines.

You would kind of jump off the small singles in the corners and then you would land in a boggy spot where, I do not know for what reason, but there were just random patches around the track that were soft. They were basically there in the ruts. One big positive was they left the rutty corners from yesterday for today and then they ripped the flat corners, so today the track was much better. It is not a track for me, really. I like it when it is really deep, really technical and not just wide open. For me it is just one of those things. It is the same for everybody. I just got on with it.

You have obviously stepped it up a lot this year, on the bike and off of it. Now that we are eighteen rounds in, are you starting to feel that? All of that training, testing and traveling? I guess it is a stupid question based on how you performed today, but do you feel a bit worn down?

Yes and no. It was a question from the whole team when I was not performing like I had been the last couple of weeks. They were saying, “How do you feel?” They said to me, “If you are feeling a little bit down or you are feeling a little bit sick of riding two times a week and then racing on the weekend, just tell us. Go home. Do what you want to do.” There are literally no rules or anything that I have to do or do not have to do. It is entirely up to me. I am not feeling down at all. After this weekend, I am really raring to go again for the last two rounds.

When I am doing well, I am enjoying my riding much more. For me it is just a lot more enjoyable for racing. The last few weeks have not been like I wanted them to be and I was not enjoying it so much. I was a little bit down and was a little bit unenthusiastic to go riding in the week. During the week I am feeling good still. Do not feel tight during motos or anything like that. It is not that. It was just a tough few weeks. After such an amazing season, it is getting tough for everybody. It is round eighteen and the same for everybody. Jacky [Vimond] is really smart with the training, so it is what it is. I am feeling strong.

Vergrößern

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Watson will fill the MX2 slot for Team GB at the Motocross of Nations.

Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer

Finally, obviously this week you have been selected for the ‘Nations. Everyone knew that was going to happen. I guess you are stoked about that? Especially considering you are not getting grief, so that is nice. 

Yeah, I am absolutely over the moon by it. You cannot imagine what a feeling it is to be selected. I know it means nothing, but to just go on Facebook and read all the comments from everybody… I have not seen one negative comment about me. That is really special for a racer. I do feel sorry for Tommy [Searle] a lot because I really cannot imagine guys speaking about me like that. It would knock you down a lot. I think for Tommy it will just give him motivation and he will go there and have a lot of fun. I am sure he is going to do really well.

For Mark [Chamberlain] it is an incredibly tough decision, because like you saw with Shaun [Simpson] this weekend. He had a solid weekend. You never know with the three guys what they can do. It is hard with Jake, because he has not done any GPs this year, to see really where he is against Shaun and Tommy. I think that was maybe the one point that caused Mark to say no to Jake, because it is a gamble really. You do not know how he has been, but I know he was really motivated to do it. The decision has been made and I know that if it was Tommy, Shaun, Jake or anybody they would all give it one hundred percent.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer

MXGP Weltmeisterschaft

BREAKING NEWS: MX Lacapelle Marival Cancelled

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The first round of the French Elite Championship scheduled this weekend at Lacapelle Marival has been cancelled
Due to terrible weather conditions today and an even worse weather forecast for this weekend, the event’s jury (members of the club and delegates of the French Fédération) announced a few minutes ago that the event is cancelled.

The first round of the Championship will take place on March 16-17 in Basly (near Caen)

There was an impressive entry list for the event. It will be interesting to see if any riders go to the Hawkstone International this weekend.

MXGP

1 Valentin GUILLOD
20 Gregory ARANDA
24 Kevin HORGMO
34 Bogdan KRAJEWSKI
57 Pierre GOUPILLON
61 Pako DESTERCQ
72 Lucas IMBERT
91 Jeremy SEEWER
93 Jago GEERTS
101 Mattia GUADAGNINI
109 Antoine BORDRON
131 Adrien MALAVAL
141 Maxime DESPREY
183 Tim EDBERG
193 Tanguy PROST
576 Dorian MARTINEZ
725 Antonin MILLE
752 Julien PELLETIER
783 Enzo TORIANI
831 Brice MAYLIN
959 Maxime RENAUX
971 Tino BASSO

MX2

8 Camden MC LELLAN
11 Calvin FONVIEILLE
14 Arnaud AUBIN
19 Sacha COENEN
31 Tom GUYON
41 Nicolas DUHAMEL
47 Karlis REISULIS
55 Mathis BARTHEZ
74 Kay DE WOLF
95 Enzo CASAT
111 Mikkel HAARUP
132 Andrea BONACORSI
133 Tom CANEELE
140 Nike KORSBECK
172 Mathys BOISRAME
198 Thibault BENISTANT
214 Nicolas VENNEKENS
220 Toni GIORGESSI
226 Arthur STEFFEN
240 Johan BRIAND
268 Thibault MAUPIN
287 Lisandru TORRE
317 Mathis VALIN
319 Quentin Marc PRUGNIERES
324 Maxime CHARLIER
389 Jules PIETRE
411 Nicolas DERCOURT
425 Emile DE BAERE
430 Ivano VAN ERP
446 Adrien PETIT
451 Julius MIKULA
507 Simon DESMICHEL
575 Kevan SCHILLINGER
589 Kiliann POLL
598 Ethan LEPIGEON
619 Hugo STIENNES
640 Jules ALMAYRAC
642 Jules AMMER
708 Kivers LEFEBVRE
712 Pierrick CASTAN
720 Ilann WERLE
747 Maximin MILLE
772 Janis Martins REISULIS
790 Victor MAURESA
798 Arnaud COLSON
816 Tennessee CARRIE
857 Hugo VAUTHIER
867 Rasmus MOEN
895 Francois RIGOLLOT
925 Mathis DECLEMY
960 Lucas COENEN
978 Enzo ROZE

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MXGP Weltmeisterschaft

Injury Update: Liam Everts suffers a broken thumb and will miss the start of the MX2 season

Details here.

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Disaster has struck for Liam Everts, as the Red Bull KTM star fell during training in Grevenbroich on Wednesday and suffered a fracture in his thumb. He underwent surgery on Thursday and looks set to miss the start of the MX2 World Championship on March 10 in Argentina – as per Motocrossplanet via Het Belang Van Limburg.

Having impressed last season on his way to winning three GPs and finishing fourth in the title standings, this is a huge blow for the MX2 title contender. We wish him all the best for his recovery. 

Lead Image: Ray Archer/KTM

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MXGP Weltmeisterschaft

Entry List and Schedule: French Elite Round 1 – Lacapelle Marival

See now.

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Check out the entry list and schedule for the French Elite opener at Lacapelle Marival.

MXGP

1 Valentin GUILLOD
20 Gregory ARANDA
24 Kevin HORGMO
34 Bogdan KRAJEWSKI
57 Pierre GOUPILLON
61 Pako DESTERCQ
72 Lucas IMBERT
91 Jeremy SEEWER
93 Jago GEERTS
101 Mattia GUADAGNINI
109 Antoine BORDRON
131 Adrien MALAVAL
141 Maxime DESPREY
183 Tim EDBERG
193 Tanguy PROST
576 Dorian MARTINEZ
725 Antonin MILLE
752 Julien PELLETIER
783 Enzo TORIANI
831 Brice MAYLIN
959 Maxime RENAUX
971 Tino BASSO

MX2

8 Camden MC LELLAN
11 Calvin FONVIEILLE
14 Arnaud AUBIN
19 Sacha COENEN
31 Tom GUYON
41 Nicolas DUHAMEL
47 Karlis REISULIS
55 Mathis BARTHEZ
74 Kay DE WOLF
95 Enzo CASAT
111 Mikkel HAARUP
132 Andrea BONACORSI
133 Tom CANEELE
140 Nike KORSBECK
172 Mathys BOISRAME
198 Thibault BENISTANT
214 Nicolas VENNEKENS
220 Toni GIORGESSI
226 Arthur STEFFEN
240 Johan BRIAND
268 Thibault MAUPIN
287 Lisandru TORRE
317 Mathis VALIN
319 Quentin Marc PRUGNIERES
324 Maxime CHARLIER
389 Jules PIETRE
411 Nicolas DERCOURT
425 Emile DE BAERE
430 Ivano VAN ERP
446 Adrien PETIT
451 Julius MIKULA
507 Simon DESMICHEL
575 Kevan SCHILLINGER
589 Kiliann POLL
598 Ethan LEPIGEON
619 Hugo STIENNES
640 Jules ALMAYRAC
642 Jules AMMER
708 Kivers LEFEBVRE
712 Pierrick CASTAN
720 Ilann WERLE
747 Maximin MILLE
772 Janis Martins REISULIS
790 Victor MAURESA
798 Arnaud COLSON
816 Tennessee CARRIE
857 Hugo VAUTHIER
867 Rasmus MOEN
895 Francois RIGOLLOT
925 Mathis DECLEMY
960 Lucas COENEN
978 Enzo ROZE

Sunday Schedule

7.45 MX2 Group A Free Practice

8.05 MX2 Group B Free Practice

8.25 MXGP Group A Free Practice

8.45 MXGP Group B Free Practice

9.14 MX2 Group A Timed Practice

9.44 MX2 Group B Timed Practice

10.14 MXGP Group A Timed Practice

10.44 MXGP Group B Timed Practice

13.40 MX2 Moto One

14.30 MXGP Moto One

16.15 MX2 Moto Two

17.05 MXGP Moto Two

Lead Image: Nestaan Husqvarna/Bavo Swijgers

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