Both riders dominated their respective classes as the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships got underway.
By Hayden Gregory
Ken Roczen has kicked off his 2016 outdoor campaign just where he left off supercross. Showing extreme speed and determination, the German rider shone to win both premier class motos in dominating fashion.
Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely secured the first holeshot award of the season edging out team mate Trey Canard and defending champ Ryan Dungey. It took less than one lap for Roczen to pass all three leading riders before showing his intent out in front.
Opening up a healthy lead the battle was on for the remaining podium positions with Ryan Dungey moving into second and Eli Tomac challenging Seely and Blake Bagget for third. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider had a superb ride coming all the way back from 12th to claim fourth while Bagget snagged the final spot on the podium.
In the second moto, Ryan Dungey collected his first holeshot for the season ahead of Roczen before the Suzuki rider once again moved to the front. In scenes reminiscent of the first Roczen pulled away from the pack ultimately taking victory by 15 seconds ahead of Dungey while Jason Anderson claimed third.
“We’re in a way better position than we were last year [when I came in hurt]. That’s all behind us and now I can go out and can focus on my riding. I’m really happy with the bike,” said Roczen. “I’ve always done well at Hangtown, but today [the track] was really different. It [had notches] and was hard in certain spots. It’s nice to get the first [race] out of the way. I want to bring [my best effort] every single weekend. I played catch up last year [with the injury], so this season I have a chance to start fresh and build momentum. I’m glad I put myself in a good position, but it’s still a long year.”
Dungey played bridesmaid for the sixth straight year at Hangtown, finishing runner up with a consistent 2-2 result; Eli Tomac placed third.
“Overall today was really good,” Dungey said. “Two seconds is good, but when you look at both races individually we were able to close down on [Roczen’s] lead in the first moto. In the second moto he was able to get ahead of me and really [open a] gap. I started to figure out some new lines and closed in again, which is encouraging. I really was trying to adapt to the bike and find that comfort today. I don’t typically do that, but I trust everyone at KTM and know we’re where we want to be. Round 1 was good and we’re going to get better week by week.”
In the 250 class defending champion Joey Savatgy once again showed that he is the man to beat after claiming back to back moto victories.
The Kawasaki rider led start to finish in the first race after claiming the holeshot and remaining unchallenged out in front. Jordon Smith rode the rider of his career to hold down second place for the entire moto while Jeremy Martin pinned Cooper Webb in the closing stages to claim third.
Jessy Nelson scored the holeshot in race two before a first lap crash resulted in a red flag and a race restart. The result was similar as Nelson once again got out to the front with Savatgy tucking into second.
As the pair settled in the lead, Austin Forkner pressed forward challenging Smith for several laps before making a pass into third. The youngster was impressive in his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut looking strong until Alex Martin rounded him up on lap eight.
The battle out front intensified with Savatgy claiming line honours with another impressive display. Nelson began to drop in speed and was then overtaken by both Martin and Aaron Plessinger as the second moto came to a close.
|“I hate the first round so much because there’s so many unknowns. You feel good, but you don’t know where you’re going to be until the gate drops,” said Savatgy. “We started good in practice and then got the holeshot and led every lap of the first moto. We got another good start in the second moto and waited until the right opportunity to get by Jessy [Nelson]. My goal this year is to be on the podium [each week] and not throw it away [with a bad race]. There are a lot of good dudes in this class and you don’t want to be behind the eight ball. There’s not really anything to complain about. It was a perfect day.”
Alex Martin claimed runner up for the round following a sensational second moto (8-2).
“We started with a smooth, fast track in practice, so it wasn’t a good indication of the day. I finished about eighth in the first moto, but that wasn’t what I was expecting,” said Martin. “I got a great start in the second moto, but then they red flagged it. I still got a decent start the second time around about sixth or so and just kept charging. I eventually got up to the lead group of guys and battled with them. I’m really happy with how everything went.”
Yamaha’s Cooper Webb (4-5) defied a lot of expectations to finish third despite nursing an injured wrist.
The 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next Saturday, May 28, with the FMF Glen Helen National from Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship – Hangtown Motocross Classic
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1 Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki (1-1)
2 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-2)
3 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (4-4)
4 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (6-3)
5 Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (7-5)
6 Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (5-10)
7 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (10-6)
8 Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (9-7)
9 Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki (8-8)
10 Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Yamaha (11-9)
450 Class Championship Standings
1 Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki – 50
2 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 44
3 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 36
4 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 35
5 Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda – 30
6 Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 27
7 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 26
8 Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 26
9 Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki – 26
10 Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Yamaha – 22
10 Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki – 22
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (1-1)
2 Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (8-2)
3 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (4-5)
4 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (9-3)
5 Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (3-9)
6 Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM (7-6)
7 Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Honda (2-16)
8 Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (13-7)
9 Tristan Charboneau, Tenino, Wash., Honda (6-14)
10 Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM (11-10)
250 Class Championship Standings
1 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 50
2 Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 35
3 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha – 34
4 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 32
5 Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 32
6 Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM – 29
7 Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Honda – 27
8 Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 22
9 Tristan Charboneau, Tenino, Wash., Honda – 22
10 Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM – 21