Eli Tomac goes back-to-back with win at Glen Helen
The second round of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, signified the series’ lone visit to Southern California on Saturday with the FMF Glen Helen National at Glen Helen Raceway. One week after dominating the field to make the first statement in the battle for the 450 Class title, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac enjoyed another convincing outing with his second straight 1-1 moto sweep, extending his early points lead. In the 250 Class, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin took advantage of an off day by co-points leader Jeremy Martin to take sole possession of the championship lead following a perfect 1-1 effort and his first overall win of the season.
Tomac is a perfect 4-0 in motos to start the season. (Photo: Matt Rice)
The afternoon began with RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing rider Ken Roczen, the defending 450 Class Champion, claiming the Bud Light Fastest Qualifier. When Moto 1 got underway, it was Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia claiming the Motosport.com Holeshot Award ahead of his teammate Phil Nicoletti. Roczen experienced misfortune, crashing on the opening lap, while both Tomac and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey asserted themselves at the front of the field.
Nicoletti slipped past Barcia to lead the opening lap, but Barcia got back around to lead Lap 2. On Lap 3 Dungey took control of the race, while Tomac soon followed into second. The top two were able to open a gap on the field and soon started to inch closer to one another. On Lap 7, Tomac pressured Dungey for the top spot and was able to move out front after Dungey’s bike stalled. While Tomac checked out, Dungey was able to resume, maintaining second. Once in the lead Tomac cruised to the win, but Dungey experienced another stall on the final lap and fell outside the top five. That allowed Barcia to move into second and Nicoletti into third, for his best career moto result. Dungey crossed the line in sixth.
Nicoletti was out front early and ended up with a career-best moto finish. (Photo: Chris Ortiz)
In Moto 2, Tomac ensured he controlled the race from the get go by earning his second Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season ahead of Dungey. While he kept Tomac within reach during the opening laps, Dungey ultimately couldn’t keep pace, which allowed the Honda rider to move out to a multiple second margin early in the moto. While Dungey locked down control of second, Roczen was rebounding from his first moto misfortune to ride consistently in third ahead of Barcia. Tomac took the checkered flag by 23.426 seconds over Dungey, with Roczen third.
As he had in each of his two career wins entering the afternoon, Tomac relied on a 1-1 effort to claim his third career overall victory. Barcia tied his career-best finish in second overall (2-4), while Dungey recovered from his first moto troubles to round out the overall podium in third (6-2).
Tomac won at Glen Helen in his first professional start there, and it came in dominant fashion. (Photo: Chris Ortiz)
“I’m really comfortable right now. I’ve never been in this position before [feeling comfortable] this early in the season where I feel like I’m one with the bike,” said Tomac, who won in his first professional start at Glen Helen. “The motorcycle is just really easy to ride right now. I’ve improved my starts a whole lot and that’s been huge for me. I battled with Ryan [Dungey] there for a while in the first moto and he stalled his bike, which made it a little easier [to make the pass and win]. In Moto 2, I just ripped the holeshot and had fun.”
Tomac’s perfect 4-0 moto record to start the season moved him to 19 points ahead of Dungey in the 450 Class standings. After a fifth-place overall finish (5-6), Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Weston Peick moved into third, 36 points back.
“Third place isn’t necessarily something to be bummed at, it’s a respectable spot. But we want to win. That’s what we’re here for,” said Dungey. “The bike wanted to shut off in the first moto and it kept getting worse and worse before it eventually did. In the second moto we just wanted to focus on a good finish, so I got a good start and just followed Eli. We made up some ground from last week and we’ll keep working at it.”
Dungey overcame a pair of stalls in the first moto to salvage an overall podium result and maintain second in the championship. (Photo: George Crosland)
Barcia’s second-place overall finish was his best result since Unadilla in 2013. (Photo: Matt Rice)
Peick now finds himself third in 450MX points. (Photo: George Crosland)
Roczen (8-3) finished fourth overall, but was riding much better this weekend. (Photo: George Crosland)
In the 250 Class, Martin claimed the Bud Light Fastest Qualifier, but his day took an unfortunate turn after that. Before the first moto began, Martin and his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha team were scrambling to get his bike started. The team was able to fix the issue right before the gate dropped on the field and Martin entered the race a handful of seconds after the moto got underway. Out front, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM’s Jessy Nelson earned the Motosport.com Holeshot Award and maintained the lead over Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin for the first six laps.
Musquin gradually chipped away at the deficit to Nelson and made the pass for the lead on Lap 6. Once at the point, Musquin consistently pulled away from his competitors. That left the battle for second amongst three riders in Nelson, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy and Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill. On Lap 11, Hill passed Savatgy for third after a long fight for the position. On the ensuing lap, Hill’s charge forward continued with a pass on Nelson, who would later drop another spot to Savatgy. Musquin took the win, while Hill followed with a career-best moto finish in second and Savatgy third. After starting at the tail end of the field, Martin battled his way to an impressive fifth-place finish.
Musquin has started the season with 1-2-1-1 moto finishes. (Photo: Matt Rice)
In Moto 2, Musquin seized control from the start by grabbing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award ahead of Nelson and CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha’s Alex Martin. Jeremy Martin also got an improved start over the first moto and was in the lead group as they exited the first corner, but contact with another rider sent him to the ground and to the back of the field again.
The top three jockeyed for position on the opening lap and Alex Martin emerged with the lead to pace the field on Lap 1, with Nelson second and Musquin third. The following lap, Musquin got back around both riders to reclaim the lead and never look back. With Musquin pulling away, Martin continued to assert himself in second while Nelson engaged in a battle for third with his teammate Shane McElrath. Musquin took the win 6.612 seconds over Martin, who enjoyed a career-best moto finish in second, while McElrath earned a career best moto finish of his own in third after a last-lap pass on Nelson. Jeremy Martin again was impressive in his climb through the field, finishing sixth.
Musquin’s 1-1 effort gave him the win he missed out on via a tiebreaker last weekend as well as sole possession of the championship lead. Hill earned his first career overall podium in second (2-5), while Nelson tied the best finish of his career in third (4-4). It marked the first time in history that the KTM brand swept the overall podium.
KTM swept the overall podium for the first time. (Photo: Matt Rice)
“I always like racing at Glen Helen,” said Musquin. “I remember coming here for the first time for the [FIM] USGP and won both motos. It’s great to do it again in the U.S. [AMA] Championship. The track was great and I really enjoyed it out there. The first moto was a great battle with Jessy [Nelson], and I finally was able to get the lead and win the moto. In the second moto I got a great start but made a little mistake early, but I recovered and got back out front. That allowed me to ride my own race.”
Musquin opened a 19-point lead over Jeremy Martin, who finished seventh (5-6), in the 250 Class standings. A fifth-place finish (11-2) allowed Alex Martin to move into third, 32 points back.
Alex Martin enjoyed a career-best moto finish in Moto 2 and is now third in points. (Photo: Matt Rice)
Hill completed a 1-2 sweep for Red Bull KTM with second overall. (Photo: Matt Rice)
Nelson (28) led six laps in Moto 1 and ended up third overall. (Photo: George Crosland)
Despite troubles in both motos, Jeremy Martin managed to salvage a lot of points. (Photo: George Crosland)
The 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next Saturday, May 30, with the True Value Thunder Valley National from Lakewood, Colorado.