The 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, kicked off on Saturday with the 47th Annual GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic in the shadow of the California state capital at Prairie City SVRA.
The 12-round summer-long battle to crown a champion saw GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac make the first statement in the 450 Class, earning his second career overall victory with a dominant 1-1 moto sweep. In the 250 Class, reigning champion and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider Jeremy Martin began his title defense with a dominant final moto to earn the tiebreaker over Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin and claim his second straight overall win at Hangtown.
Tomac established himself as the rider to beat by setting the fastest lap of timed practice and carried it into the motos. As the gate dropped on Moto 1, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey edged out Tomac for the Motosport.com Holeshot Award, but the Honda rider made a quick pass to move into the lead and set a torrid pace. Only Dungey was able to keep up with Tomac’s speed in the opening laps and the duo opened a considerable margin over the rest of the field. Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Weston Peick started the moto in third and soon engaged in a battle for the spot with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson.
Dungey was able to keep Tomac in his sights throughout the moto, but he was unable to mount a challenge for the lead and as the leaders approached lappers, the gap between first and second slowly extended. Tomac took an easy win by over 20 seconds when the checkered flag flew. Dungey was second with Anderson third, well over a minute behind.
Another strong start by Tomac in Moto 2 allowed him to grab the Motosport.com Holeshot Award and run away from the field almost immediately. Dungey didn’t get quite as good a start, but was able to make some passes on the opening lap to move into second. By that time Tomac already held a multi-second lead that continued to extend through the remainder of the race.
Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia slotted into third and battled for the spot with defending 450 Class Champion Ken Roczen aboard his RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing machine. Roczen was battling a significant back injury and after a 19th-place finish in Moto 1, he appeared considerably more comfortable in Moto 2. Barcia maintained his hold on third and Roczen soon faded into the clutches of Peick, who pushed his way to the front after starting seventh. Peick made the move on Roczen and battled his teammate in the late stages of the moto for third.
Tomac crossed the finish over 90 seconds ahead of Dungey in second, to cap off the best 450 Class race of his career. Peick made the pass on Barcia for third to earn his best moto finish.
Tomac (1-1) and Dungey (2-2) finish first and second overall, while Anderson (3-7) finished on the overall podium in his first 450 Class start. Tomac’s win was the second of his career at the site of his first ever professional victory, which came in his debut back in 2010.
“It’s kind of always a guessing game coming into here [since it’s the opening round]. I started off good in practice and was the top qualifier there. Then I had two great starts,” said Tomac. “I was just connected on the bike and felt great all afternoon. I was at the point today where I was able to ride a comfortable pace and just kept doing my thing. This is normally one of the roughest tracks, but this year it was the best I’ve ever seen it. I actually thought I struggled the last couple years here, so this was a huge jump up.”
Tomac sits six points ahead of Dungey in the 450 Class standings. Anderson is third, 16 points back.
The opening moto of the 250 Class saw GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle race to the Motosport.com Holeshot Award just ahead of Musquin and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, as well as Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb. Cianciarulo seized the opportunity to lead his first ever laps of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship competition, passing both Musquin and Bogle to take over the top spot. As Cianciarulo made his move forward, so did Webb, working his way past Bogle and Musquin as well to move into second and set the stage for a head-to-head battle with his longtime amateur rival.
Cianciarulo maintained a small lead over the field, but his hopes for a win ended on Lap 6 when he crashed out of the lead and lost multiple positions. Webb took evasive action in getting around Cianciarulo, allowing Musquin to close in and ultimately make the pass for the lead. Once out front the Frenchman pulled away, leaving Webb to battle with his teammate Martin, who started sixth and moved into third after a long battle with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy. While Musquin cruised to the moto win, Webb and Martin battled throughout the moto with Martin getting the upper hand with two laps remaining. The three riders would finish in that order.
As Moto 2 got underway, Martin put the No. 1 bike up front early by making an quick pass on GEICO Honda’s Matt Bisceglia, who earned the Motosport.com Holeshot Award, and never looked back. Bisceglia then fell into a battle with Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM’s Jessy Nelson. Musquin found himself in a hole early after starting eighth and was forced to fight his way through the field in order to keep his hopes of victory intact.
After a fifth-place finish in Moto 1, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rookie Chris Alldredge continued his impressive afternoon, starting fifth and moving his way forward. He passed GEICO Honda’s Jordon Smith to take over fourth on Lap 1 and found himself in podium position on Lap 2 after a pass on Bisceglia. His move to the front was accompanied by a charge from Musquin, who passed Alldredge for third and then took over second from Nelson that same lap, passing six riders in just five laps.
Martin continued to pull away out front to take the win, while Musquin followed in second. All dredge earned the best moto finish of his career in third, holding off a late charge from CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha’s Alex Martin.
When the overall scores were tallied, Martin (2-1) and Musquin’s (1-2) identical moto scores left them knotted atop the points. By virtue of his second moto win, Martin earned the tiebreaker for the sixth victory of his career.
“I didn’t get the start I wanted in the first moto and just tried to go on a mission and reel everyone in. I was actually surprised to find out I was second when the moto finished. I just felt I was so far back,” explained Martin. “We made a change heading into the second moto and it was a lot better. I got the start as well, which made things a lot easier and allowed me to run my own race.”
Musquin’s runner-up effort was his best at Hangtown in four attempts. All dredge finished off a career-best day with his first pro podium in third overall (5-3).
Martin and Musquin sit tied atop the 250 Class standings with 47 points apiece, while Alldredge is 11 points back in third.
The 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next Saturday, May 23, with the FMF Glen Helen National in San Bernardino, California.
Results: 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship – GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic
450 Class (Moto Finish)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (1-1)
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-2)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (3-7)
- Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha (8-3)
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki (4-6)
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (6-8)
- Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki (7-9)
- Christophe Pourcel, France, Husqvarna (5-12)
- Fredrik Noren, Sweden, Honda (10-10)
- Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Yamaha (9-14)
450 Class Championship Standings
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 50
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 44
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna, 34
- Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha, 33
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki, 33
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 28
- Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki, 26
- Christophe Pourcel, France, Husqvarna, 25
- Fredrik Noren, Sweden, Honda, 22
- Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Yamaha, 19
250 Class (Moto Finish)
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (2-1)
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (1-2)
- Chris Alldredge, Powell Butte, Ore., Kawasaki (5-3)
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (6-4)
- Anthony Rodriguez, Venezuela, Yamaha (7-6)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (10-8)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Georgia, Kawasaki (4-15)
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (9-11)
- Matt Bisceglia, Tualatin, Ore., Honda (12-10)
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (3-37)
250 Class Championship Standings
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 47
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM, 47
- Chris Alldredge, Powell Butte, Ore., Kawasaki, 36
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 33
- Anthony Rodriguez, Venezuela, Yamaha, 29
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha, 24
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Georgia, Kawasaki, 24
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki, 22
- Matt Bisceglia, Tualatin, Ore., Honda, 20
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha, 20