Yamaha Motor Europe announced today that reigning British MX2 champion Ben Watson has signed for Kemea Yamaha.
The British MX2 ace will again contest the 2018 FIM MX2 World Championship.
Watson has improved every year he’s thrown his leg over the bike, winning national championships in the youth ranks before stepping up into the European EMX250 class in 2014.
In that season, Watson finished inside the top-three in four races, two of which he won – taking him to fifth place in the championship.
In 2015 he made his MX2 World Championship debut, finishing 21st despite missing several rounds. While in the British MX2 championship he was the only rider other than Max Anstie to win a moto, claiming four moto wins on the way to a fourth-place in the series, just one point adrift from Adam Sterry in third.
A leg injury early in 2016 put him out of much of the 2016 season but he didn’t let that stop him from pushing on ready for 2017.
This year, with his leg fully recovered, Watson showed his potential. He finished in the top-10 in eight World MX2 races and was 15th place in the final classification.
But the 20-year-old really shone in the British MX2 championship.
Watson raced his Hitachi KTM UK 250 SX-F to six moto victories on the way to the MX2 title, finishing 53 points ahead of Martin Barr.
“I am ecstatic to have received this opportunity,” said Watson. “I have worked my whole life to get to the top of racing and to finally feel confident with the team and support that I am getting, it’s really exciting for me.
“It’s even more exciting to have a fresh start and to ride a new bike and be around new people. I have heard so many people talk about how awesome Yamaha’s are, and now I finally get to experience it. We are ready for the new chapter.”
Watson’s team-mates on the Yamaha YZ250F will be 22-year-old Russian talent Vsevolod Brylyakov and Belgium’s teenage sensation, 17-year-old Jago Geerts. All will battle for the 2018 FIM MX2 World Championship. Unfortunately, this is a GP-only deal and Watson will not be defending his British title.
“This is a very exciting agreement,” said Yamaha Motor Europe MX Racing Manager, Erik Eggens. “We have been following Ben for many years, right from when he was young and excelling in the youth championships. He has been on the radar for some time and I feel that we can give him the support and stability he needs to achieve everything he is capable of achieving. We look forward to seeing Ben progress and succeed on Yamaha.”
Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team Owner, Hans Corvers, commented: “We are happy to sign Ben. I have been watching him for many years, but really closely for the last 12 months. I have seen that he has some good qualities. He has the speed, he gets good starts but for whatever reason, up until now, something has been missing. I believe that we, the bLU cRU and Yamaha can offer him what he has been missing and this is something I look forward to seeing.”