Chase Sexton took his first Lucas Pro Oil Motocross win of the season at Washougal while HRC team mate Ken Roczen slipped to ninth and lost ground to series leader Dylan Ferrandis.
The seventh round of the season featured abundant sunshine and a massive crowd, and the opening 450 Class moto got underway with Sexton leading the field Roczen slotted into second.
The Honda duo dropped the hammer on the opening lap to try and open a gap over Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb, in third, and the rest of the field, while points leader Ferrandis had to fight his way from ninth aboard his Monster Star Yamaha machine.
Sexton and Roczen continued to pace the field and moved out several seconds ahead of Webb, who came under fire from his Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin and Monster Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac 10 minutes into the moto. Musquin made a successful pass on Webb to move into podium position and Tomac soon followed into fourth.
Back out front, Sexton started to pull away from Roczen and built a lead of more than five seconds as Roczen proceeded to lose ground to Musquin. The Frenchman continued to pressure the German and after several laps Musquin made the pass to take over second.
Tomac was next in line and the old rivals battled briefly until lapped traffic worked in Tomac’s favor and allowed him to drop Roczen off the podium. The Honda rider continued to lose positions and eventually was passed by his championship rival Ferrandis.
For Sexton it was the most dominant outing of his career as he went wire-to-wire to bring home his first moto win of the season. A late moment of misfortune by Musquin allowed Tomac to move into second and finish 3.4 seconds behind Sexton, while Musquin recovered to earn his best moto result of the season in third. Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia finished fourth, with Ferrandis fifth and Roczen sixth.
As the 450 field stormed out the gate to begin moto 2 it was Webb who edged out Ferrandis and his teammate Aaron Plessinger to secure the holeshot. Webb assumed the lead briefly, but Ferrandis put in a charge to make a quick pass and seize control of the moto, leaving Webb to fend off Sexton in third.
Sexton made his way around Webb and then looked to track down Ferrandis for the lead. Webb’s battle wasn’t over as Plessinger pressued from fourth. Webb held him off briefly but the Yamaha rider was able to make the pass and move into the top three. As the moto approached the 10-minute mark less than two seconds separated the lead trio while Tomac lurked in fourth.
The top four settled into their positions through the middle portion of the moto and paced one another with consistent lap times. Sensing an opportunity, Tomac went on the attack and made quick work of Plessinger to move into third. The intensity from the top three increased dramatically during the final 10 minutes of the moto as a strong push from Tomac pushed Sexton closer to Ferrandis.
The Frenchman responded with some of his fastest laps of the race and it allowed him to put a little distance over his contenders. After an extended battle Tomac finally got around Sexton for second and had just over two laps to try and erase a near three-second deficit to Ferrandis.
As they came to the while flag Tomac posted the fastest lap of the afternoon to close to within mere bike lengths of the points leader. Ferrandis dug deep and withstood the challenge to pull out the moto win, 4.5 seconds ahead of Tomac as Sexton followed in a distant third.
Sexton’s strong 1-3 effort landed him atop the podium for the second time in his career. It also signified his first podium result of the season. Tomac settled for the runner-up spot (2-2) and missed out on his first win of the year by a single point. Ferrandis rounded out the overall podium in third (5-1).
“I got two pretty good starts today and that was the difference,” said Sexton. “It feels so good to win after such a rough start to the season. I’ve been grinding at home in Florida, just trying to get better, and it finally paid off. We’ll head into this break with confidence, ready to come out even better.”
Ferrandis’ seventh podium result, combined with a ninth-place finish by Roczen (6-10), allowed the Frenchman to establish a significant lead in the points standings. Ferrandis now sits 47 points ahead of Roczen, with Tomac just a few more behind in third, 54 points in arrears.
“I think the holeshot helped me get that win,” said Ferrandis. “I was able to manage the pace and save energy. I didn’t know if it was Eli or Chase at the end, but I had enough to make a push. It feels good to come out on top of that battle with Eli. He’s such a tough competitor and a great rider. I’m really happy with the day.”
450 Class Overall Results
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (1-3)
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (2-2)
Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (5-1)
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-5)
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (4-7)
Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (7-6)
Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (12-4)
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (8-8)
Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (6-10)
Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM (10-9)
450 Class Championship Standings
Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 303
Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 256
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 249
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 239
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 238
Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 218
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 182
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 177
Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 177
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 147