The Matterley Basin arena was in prime condition as the Australian rounded the first turn seventh in race one and within ten minutes he had advanced smoothly into the top six. With ten minutes remaining he had bridged the gap to the rider ahead of him to move into fifth, a superb performance on his debut in the premier MXGP class. He was again impressive in race two, quickly making a couple of significant passes to already move into the top six again on the opening lap. Concentrating on riding consistently as the low late-afternoon sun cast dramatic shadows over the deeply-rutted terrain he surrendered one position mid-moto but his sixth place in the overall GP classification was never in danger.
Jed Beaton: “Obviously I’m pretty happy with my day. I didn’t know what to expect coming here so it’s been pretty crazy to finish sixth first-time in MXGP. I think everyone always likes riding this track and I felt relaxed all day, got two good starts, rode my own race each time and tried to stay solid for fifth and seventh. For me I actually feel a lot more comfortable on the 450 and am really enjoying riding it; it’s more to handle but I’m a big guy and the little bit more power is good for me. “
After a nervous Qualifying on Saturday Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Ben Watson already showed he had controlled his temperament during morning Warm-Up as he posted ninth-fastest time but a heavy crash on the final lap of the session left him shaken for the remainder of the day. The Englishman found good traction out of the gate in race one but was inevitably pushed a little wide at turn one; he soon made fourteenth his own and showed top-six pace for the remainder of the race to move forward decisively, taking over eleventh two laps from the close to miss the top-ten by just one second. The effects of his morning crash were still evident in race two but he eventually moved forward from nineteenth to thirteenth in a damage-limitation ride.
Ben Watson: “It’s been a tough weekend to say the least. Yesterday I just didn’t have the feeling but we sat down together on Saturday evening, put it behind us, went back to basics and were ready to go again today. I felt a lot better in warm-up but on the last lap I had a big crash. I don’t really know what happened; one minute I was going down the start straight flat-out and the next moment I was on my knees and had banged my head hard. I cut my chin and our team physio helped me a lot but I still had a really bad headache for the rest of the day. We weren’t sure at first if I would be able to start but I did a few practice starts on the test track and decided to try. I had nothing to lose, and could pull in if I felt too bad. My starts were good but it was tough from my gate position; in the end I finished eleventh and thirteenth. It’s not what I expect and not the way we wanted to start the season, but I need to take this opportunity with both hands and we will be back on the pace at Mantova next week. “