Tom Vialle takes MX2 red plate as Jago Geerts falters in Trentino

Round five of the 2022 MX2 World Championship saw Tom Vialle win his third GP in a row, but it was arguably the most important of the three. 

MX2 race start, 2022 MXGP of Patagonia Argentina. - Ray Archer/KTM Media.

Tom Vialle won the MXGP of Trentino, round five of the 2022 MX2 World Championship, and with it he took the championship leader’s red plate for the first time since he won the title in 2020. 

Vialle’s third successive triumph in MX2 came after he won in Argentina and Portugal. Prior to that, Simon Laengenfelder had won in Britain, and Jago Geerts took victory in Mantova.

Laengenfelder’s inconsistency and the frequency with which he was hitting the deck meant that Geerts was shaping up to be the championship favourite in the early rounds, even when Vialle won rounds three and four of the championship. 

Tom Vialle, 2022 MXGP of Patagonia Argentina. - KTM Media/Ray Archer.

In Argentina, although Vialle won, Geerts matched his points total for the weekend, and in Portugal, he simply rode away from the Frenchman in the second moto. 

Trentino was different, though. While Geerts was bui;ding his championship advantage in the early races, Vialle was crashing. Admittedly, he only crashed once in a race (that spectacular cartwheel over the table at the end of the long straight in Mantova), but even in Argentina the #28 had a big one in practice. Geerts, meanwhile, looked steady and solid, and was not making big mistakes. 

That changed in Agueda, though, when Geerts went down in the first moto and came back only to ninth place. His second moto performance in Portugal was enough to arrest any fears that his confidence took a knock, or that the race one crash would be a big momentum shift in the championship battle. 

Jago Geerts, 2022 MXGP of Trentino. - Yamaha Racing/ShotByBavo

Moving on to Trentino, though, and Geerts continued to crash. He did so in both the qualifying race and the second race on Sunday. The qualifying race crash meant he had the 18th gate pick for the Sunday races, which saw him start outside of the top 10 on both occasions. 

Race one went well for Geerts, coming from his difficult starting position to finish third, but the second race was a disaster, as a crash damaged his front brake calliper, which forced him to retire.

Meanwhile, out front, Vialle was fending off pressure from Mikkel Haarup in the first moto, which he did successfully, and from Kay de Wolf in the second, in which Vialle was again successful. The Frenchman took his first 1-1 of the season, and timed it in perfect synchronisation with Geerts’ worst Grand Prix of the year. 

Jago Geerts, 2022 MXGP of Trentino. - Yamaha Racing/ShotByBavo

Not scoring in the second race meant for Geerts that he would lose the red plate, and finish only 11th in the MXGP of Trentino overall standings. It also means that the Belgian - who had a 26-point lead after Argentina - is now facing a deficit of 14 points in the World Championship to Vialle, who seems to be only getting stronger. 

The upcoming races will be critical for the MX2 World Championship, and especially for Geerts. The next race is in Latvia, where Geerts won twice in 2020 when the Kegums circuit hosted three Grands Prix in the space of a week, and where Vialle has only won once, also back in 2020. 

Last year’s results are difficult to read into, since Vialle missed the MXGP of Latvia in 2021 through injury, while Geerts finished second overall to his teammate and eventual 2021 MX2 World Champion Maxime Renaux.

Mattia Guadagnini, 2022 MXGP of Trentino. - GasGas Media/Juan Pablo Acevedo.

Mattia Guadagnini completed the podium last year in Kegums, so perhaps the Italian - who has mostly underperformed in 2022 but has picked up his form in recent races - can also play a part in the outcome. Additionally, Kay de Wolf was strong once more in Trentino after his injuries sustained in Argentina, while Mikkel Haarup proved that his Portuguese form was not limited to Agueda, and that he can potentially fight for the podium every week.

Additionally, Simon Laengenfelder has proven already this year that he can win Grands Prix, and Thibault Benistant's return to GP action last weekend in Pietramurata saw him win the qualifying race and fight for the podium on Sunday. And then there is Conrad Mewse, who could well go into Latvia off the back of another British Championship win this weekend in Foxhill, and who proved in the first Agueda race that he can run at the front if he makes a good start.

So, the championship at this point seems destined for either Vialle or Geerts, and the latter must certainly beat his rival in the next races to win back some momentum in the title fight. But the matter is also complicated by many other riders who can interfere with their battle, get in between them and also interrupt their respective rhythms.