The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship reached its halfway point on Saturday with the annual Independence Day tradition at the Red Bull RedBud National.
German-born 450 Class rookie Ken Roczen was dominant in the premier division, sweeping both motos aboard his Red Bull KTM to claim his fourth win in six starts and extend his championship lead. The points leader also emerged victorious in the 250 Class, as Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin captured his third win of the season.
After a close runner-up effort one week ago, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey started his afternoon by grabbing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in Moto 1, but quickly had to do battle with Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard. It didn’t take long for Canard to move past Dungey on the opening lap. While that duo looked to establish a gap, Roczen was forced to fight his way forward from a start deep inside the top 10. Canard and Dungey settled into a comfortable pace out front with GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac settling into third.
Roczen, meanwhile, was on a torrid charge to the front, coming from eighth to break into the top three by Lap 4 and then passing both his teammate Dungey and Canard to move into the lead on the following lap. Once out front, Roczen pulled away, leaving Canard and Dungey to do battle for second. Dungey made a pass on Canard for second on Lap 8, but made a mistake just a short time later, giving the position back to Canard.
These two continued their battle through to the finish with Canard holding off Dungey. Roczen took the checkered flag by 4.5 seconds over Canard while Dungey rounded out the podium. Tomac followed in fourth with BTO Sports KTM’s Andrew Short in fifth.
Roczen left little doubt he would be the rider to beat in the second moto, racing to the Motosport.com Holeshot Award just ahead of Canard. The Honda rider found a way to take over the lead on the opening lap, setting the stage for a thrilling battle between the two throughout the first stage of the moto.
Roczen made multiple attempts to pass Canard and did so on a couple different occasions, only to have Canard fight back and reclaim the position. On Lap 5, Roczen made another pass on Canard and was able to make it stick. He soon pulled away.
Canard then fell into the clutches of both Tomac and Dungey, who laid chase on the lead duo throughout the moto. As Tomac began to pressure for the position, Canard went down and handed over the spot to both Tomac and Dungey before remounting. Dungey then looked to challenge Tomac for second, but was unable to do so. Roczen secured the victory by 10.3 seconds over Tomac, while Dungey settled for third.
Roczen’s 1-1 effort was his second this season.
“I really like the track out here, it’s gnarly and it makes it really difficult,” said Roczen. “I had my work cut out for me in the first moto, but I just never let up. Then I let Trey [Canard] by me off the start [in the second moto] and made it tougher on myself, but this was one of those days where my fitness played a factor and I wasn’t going to let it slip away.”
A three-way tie for second in points landed Tomac with a career-best runner-up finish in just his second 450 Class start (4-2), with Dungey assuming third (3-3) and Canard missing out on the overall podium in fourth (2-4). Short rounded out the top five (5-5).
Roczen’s points lead over Dungey has now surpassed a single moto, currently sitting at a 26-point advantage. Canard moved into third, 54 points out of the lead. In just two starts, Tomac has jumped all the way to 12th in the championship standings.
The competition in the 250 Class coming into RedBud was closer than it had been all season as the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha tandem of Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb, along with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett were separated by a total of 17 points. Martin and Baggett each had two wins apiece, while Webb broke through for his first career win last weekend.
As the gate dropped on the first moto, GEICO Honda’s Matt Bisceglia raced to the Motosport.com Holeshot Award with Valli Motosports Yamaha’s Christophe Pourcel and Martin in tow. Pourcel took over the top spot by Lap 2, bringing Martin with him.
The pair engaged in an exciting battle for the position before Pourcel made an uncharacteristic mistake and crashed on Lap 4, allowing Martin to take the lead and GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle to move into second. Looming in third was Baggett, who moved into the runner-up spot on Lap 7 and set his sights on Martin.
A seesaw battle out front ensued with the deficit between the two riders constantly changing. Baggett kept the pressure on Martin throughout the remainder of the moto, but the points leader never faltered.
Martin crossed the line just over a second ahead of Baggett. Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson jumped into third, with Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin in fourth. Bogle fell to fifth.
With all eyes on the second moto, it was Rockstar Energy Racing’s Joey Savatgy who gained the early jump by grabbing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award. Bogle started the moto in second and made an early move on Savatgy to take over the lead by Lap 2. Martin followed the Honda rider into second after a third-place start, bringing his teammate Webb along in third.
Soon these three riders did battle for the lead, swapping positions briefly and using every inch of the track. Bogle made a major mistake on Lap 4, crashing out of the lead. Webb had slipped by his teammate just prior and assumed control of the moto. The sophomore teammates went all out for the rest of the moto, separated by mere bike lengths throughout.
As the battle for the win continued, Musquin and Anderson once again made their presence felt in a fight for third. Baggett made an impressive climb from a 13th-place start to also factor into the mix in fifth, but crashed on Lap 10, dropping out of podium contention. Out front, Webb fended off his teammate to take the second moto win of his career and bounce back from a crash in the opening moto that relegated him to a 14th-place result. Martin followed in second, with Musquin third and Anderson fourth.
Martin’s 1-2 moto scores secured the overall win while Musquin earned his best result of the season in second (4-3). Anderson completed the overall podium in third (3-4). Baggett finished fourth (2-7) with Webb rounding out the top five (14-1).
“It was a great battle with my teammate there,” said Martin. “I thought I had a chance to get the lead early against [Justin] Bogle, but he was riding defensive and eventually went down. Once I got in behind Cooper [Webb] I just paced myself and put in a push on the final laps to try and pass him, but I didn’t want to do anything to put either of us in a bad spot, especially since I knew I had the overall.”
Martin extended his lead in the 250 Class standings back into the double digits over Webb, with 23 points now separating the two. Baggett sits third, 28 points back.
The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next weekend with the seventh round of the 2014 season at the GEICO Motorcycles Budds Creek National. Budds Creek MX Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland, will host the world’s best riders on Saturday, July 12. Action begins at 1 p.m. ET.
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM (1-1)
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (4-2)
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (3-3)
4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (2-4)
5. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (5-5)
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (6-6)
7. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki (8-7)
8. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki (7-8)
9. Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Yamaha (10-9)
10.Kyle Chisholm, Clearwater, Fla., Yamaha (13-13)
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM, 280
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 254
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 226
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 196
5. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki, 168
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 159
7. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM, 134
8. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki, 132
9. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki, 131
10.Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 120
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (1-2)
2. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (4-3)
3. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., KTM (3-4)
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (2-7)
5. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha (14-1)
6. Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki (9-5)
7. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (8-6)
8. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (6-9)
9. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (5-12)
10.Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki (10-8)
250 Class Championship Standings
1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 250
2. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha, 227
3. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 222
4. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda, 191
5. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM, 181
6. Christophe Pourcel, France, Yamaha, 176
7. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., KTM, 167
8. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda, 143
9. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki, 127
10.Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 125