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Inside MXGP EP5 - The TOUGHEST Mud Race in History

Published On:: 08/05/2024

In the harshest of racing conditions, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s new recruit Andrea Bonacorsi made a splash at the fifth round of the MXGP World Championship in Agueda, Portugal, powering his YZ450FM through the slop to start his MXGP career on the cusp of the top-five!

Was the MXGP of Portugal the toughest Grand Prix ever? A damp and drizzly week leading into Agueda turned torrential just two laps into the opening MXGP race on Sunday afternoon, turning its distinctive orange soil into an unforgiving quagmire of mud and muck. The combination of sea-deep ruts and slippery sections tested the skill of even the most seasoned MXGP riders in the world, so for ‘Bona’, as an MXGP-class newcomer, his 450cc debut was a baptism of fire. 

Go inside the MXGP of Portugal raw and unfiltered with Bona during his MXGP debut and the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team as they storm to a season-best double podium finish with Rick Elzinga and Thibault Benistant finishing second and third, respectively.

“Moving up to the MXGP class was the biggest decision of my life” Bona explained, “the Hutten crew were like a family to me, and after Race Two in Arco where I showed that I can run up front, it was difficult to move to MXGP, but when I thought about it, I love riding a 450. The bike! I love it. It suits me much better because of my physique and how big I am, so I can enjoy riding a lot more on the YZ450FM, and I know I can show what I am capable of in the MXGP class on this bike for sure!” he flexed.

After a strong showing of speed and potential in practice and qualifying, the heavens in MXGP Race One, with the rain continuing to fall heavily on and off throughout the day, turning the spectacular Agueda circuit into an ugly brown mud bath. With each lap, the track changed, becoming more unpredictable and demanding. The deep ruts became tyre traps, threatening to swallow the bikes with every attempt to navigate them. Maintaining balance and finding the perfect line became an unavoidable risk, where a single wrong move could result in a yard sale. Plenty of riders did not survive, however, the rookie, Bona, handled it like a veteran, finishing his first-ever MXGP race in sixth. 

Race Two required not only physical strength but also mental fortitude. The brutal conditions had the potential to shake the confidence of even the most experienced riders. Remaining focused, even with his goggles and helmet caked in mud, Bona showed he could adapt quickly and confidently. Although he found himself sliding down the track more than he had hoped, along with most of the front-runners, he slogged it out and finished eighth which was enough to secure sixth overall. 


 “I have to be happy with what I achieved in my first GP as an MXGP rider,” Bona smiled, “I mean, to make the switch from MX2 to MXGP here, with not the easiest track conditions, and I still managed sixth overall, I’m very happy with that.”

While the typical path to the MXGP class involves a gradual progression through the ranks, from EMX125 to EMX250, and then EMX250 to MX2, and from MX2 up to MXGP, exceptional riders who exhibit advanced skill, physical maturity, and mental resilience can be fast-tracked to the premier class. These exceptions often reflect the rare combination of talent, readiness, and opportunity. This was the case for Bona, who, amidst the rain and chaos of a brutal storm-struck Grand Prix, shone, finishing sixth overall in his MXGP-class debut.