The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its lone visit to Southern California on Saturday for the second round of the 2017 season.
The FMF Glen Helen National at Glen Helen Raceway featured near-perfect weather, resulting in a highly competitive and unpredictable afternoon of racing.
When the dust settled, Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin came away with his first career 450 Class win while entering points leader Eli Tomac endured through misfortune aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki.
In the 250 Class, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne stood atop the podium again, starting the season with back-to-back victories.
The first 450 Class moto saw Musquin claim the Motosport.com Holeshot ahead of the Team Honda HRC duo of Cole Seely and Christian Craig. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant was right behind in fourth, while his team-mate Eli Tomac, last week’s winner and points leader, started outside the top 10 in 12th.
The clear track for Musquin allowed the Frenchman to assert himself into the lead, where he gradually built a lead over the field.
Seely was able to establish a solid hold on second, while Grant started applying pressure on Craig for third, taking over the position on Lap 1.
Behind the lead group Tomac was on a mission, passing three riders on Lap 1, and then another pair on Lap 2. He moved into sixth on Lap 3 and set his sights on the top five.
As Tomac continued his climb through the field, Grant was making a run for second on Seely, successfully taking over the runner-up spot on Lap 6. By this time Tomac was in the top five and still charging. He passed Seely for fourth on Lap 8 and then quickly closed in on Craig for third, moving into podium position on Lap 10. Tomac then set his sights on his team-mate for second. He closed the deficit and made quick work of a pass on Grant to take over the position on Lap 13.
Despite a late charge Tomac was unable to catch Musquin, who took the first moto win of his career 5.8 seconds ahead of his rival. Grant followed in third.
As the field roared into Glen Helen’s famed Talladega turn to start Moto 2 it was Craig who came away with the Motosport.com Holeshot, closely followed by RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Blake Baggett, RCH/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Bogle, and Autotrader/Monster Energy/Suzuki/JGRMX’s Justin Barcia.
The podium finishers from the first moto were spread throughout the field, with Grant in the top five, Musquin deep in the top 10, and Tomac nearly mid-pack.
When the field came around to complete the opening lap Grant crashed while running fifth.
Grant picked up his motorcycle just as Tomac approached, triggering a quick sequence of events that saw Tomac briefly lose control, veer towards Grant, and then straight off the track. Tomac attempted to reenter the race, but appeared to be suffering from an issue with his front wheel or brake. He slowly made his way around the track and into the mechanics area for attention. He eventually returned to the track in 35th, but lost a lap to the leaders.
Out front, Craig came under fire from Baggett after leading the opening few laps. Baggett showed patience and then made his move on Lap 4. Shortly thereafter, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, who moved into the top three after starting fourth, passed Craig for second. The battle for the lead began on the following lap. Baggett was able to fend off Anderson for a couple laps, but the Husqvarna rider took control of the moto on Lap 6. Two laps later Craig crashed out of third and out of the race, giving the spot to Musquin.
The top three remained unchanged for the remainder of the moto. Baggett kept Anderson honest out front, while Musquin settled in a distant third. Anderson captured the first moto win of his career, 5.1 seconds ahead of Baggett. Tomac was able to finish the moto following his early misfortune, securing 19th and earning a pair of valuable championship points.
Musquin’s 1-3 outing easily gave him the first overall victory of his career in his 14th career start. He’s the 65th different winner in 450 Class history. It’s also the first win for the Red Bull KTM team since the retirement of three-time champion Ryan Dungey prior to the season. Anderson followed in second (5-1) for his sixth career podium result, while Baggett earned his fourth career podium finish in third (8-2).
“I’m just tying to be smooth and safe, but fast at the same time. At a track like this today it’s really easy to make mistakes,” said Musquin. “It may not have looked like I was out of control, but I was nervous out there and trying to keep it on two wheels. To come out of Glen Helen with a win is really good. We also have the points lead, so I’m just going to keep trying to be consistent and not make any mistakes.”
Musquin’s win, combined with Tomac’s ninth-place finish (2-19), moves the Frenchman into the championship points lead for the first time in his career. He currently holds a 15-point lead over Tomac. Baggett moves into third, 26 points out of the lead.
The opening 250 Class moto saw GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin surge out to the Motosport.com Holeshot, with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy in second and CycleTrader/Rock River Yamaha’s Bradley Taft in third.
By the completion of the opening lap Martin, who was also the fastest qualifier, had opened up a healthy advantage over Savatgy that he would never relinquish. Despite an up and down outing at the season opener last weekend, Savatgy rode strongly in second and easily asserted himself in the runner-up spot.
Taft was forced to deal with heavy pressure from Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner, in addition to Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Colt Nichols.
Taft was able to hold onto the spot for a couple laps while Nichols and Forkner battled for fourth, but on Lap 3 Nichols was able to get past both Forkner and Taft to move into third. Forkner followed into fourth and continued to chase Nichols until his bike lost power on Lap 6 and forced him out of competition.
In his absence, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger made a charge through the field after starting seventh. Plessinger methodically worked his way forward and moved into fifth following Forkner’s misfortune. Plessinger was shadowed in his journey to the front by Osborne, with the championship leader overcoming a 13th-place start to slot into sixth.
Plessinger and Osborne continued to close in on Nichols in the second half of the moto, with Plessinger grabbing the final podium spot on Lap 11. Osborne followed Plessinger into fourth.
Martin led wire-to-wire to take his first win of the season, and his first for GEICO Honda, crossing the line 9.1 seconds ahead of Savatgy, who was never challenged for second. Plessinger rode to an impressive third.
Martin picked things up where he left off in Moto 2, sweeping the Motosport.com Holeshots for the day with another impressive start.
However, his fortunes changed as the field went up the 400-foot Mt. Saint Helen obstacle when Martin lost control of his Honda and veered off the track. He was forced to restart his motorcycle and eventually reentered at the tail end of the field.
That opened the door for Osborne to seize control of the moto, but Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis moved ahead before the completion of the opening lap. The French rookie led his first lap of competition on US soil and continued to build on his lead, as Osborne settled into second. Behind them, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo slotted into third.
The lead trio soon stabilised and established a comfortable margin over the rest of the field, but all eyes were on Martin and his chances of saving the overall victory. After crossing the line in 34th on the opening lap Martin laid down the fastest lap times of the moto to storm through the field. He gained 12 spots on Lap 1 and continued to make up considerable ground, breaking into the top 15 on Lap 4.
As he approached some of the faster riders in the field Martin’s momentum slowed, but he was still able to make much-needed passes and broke into the top 10 on Lap 10.
With each respective pass by Martin, the battle for the overall podium intensified as well.
Osborne was able to control his own destiny by running second, while Ferrandis was poised to make his podium debut out front.
Cianciarulo, Savatgy, Nichols, and Martin all sat within mere points of one another in the late stages of the moto. Savatgy was making a charge to potentially move into second in the overall classification, but his bike abruptly lost power as he battled with Forkner and forced him out of the race. That put Martin in a position to ensure a spot on the podium. He continued to move forward, slotting into seventh and leaving him just a point shy of the overall win, but was unable to gain anymore ground from there.
Out front, the top three remained unchanged. Ferrandis was dominant in his first opportunity to lead a Pro Motocross race, surging out to a lead of over 20 seconds. He took his first career moto win by 23.5 seconds over Osborne, while Cianciarulo followed in third.
Osborne’s 4-2 results allowed him to emerge with the overall victory, the third of his career, and open the season with back-to-back wins.
Martin’s 1-7 outing left him a point shy of the win in second, while Ferrandis’ winning effort capped off a 9-1 day that landed him third overall for his first career podium result.
“I woke up feeling under the weather a bit today,” said Osborne. “I had a sore throat from allergies, so was a little nervous because this isn’t one of my best tracks. To come away with another win is just icing on the cake. I just need to keep putting myself in a position to win and keep getting better. I’m happy to come out of California with strong results and I’m looking forward to heading east where I feel more comfortable.”
Osborne’s pair of wins move him out to a 21-point lead in the championship standings over Cianciarulo, who finished fourth (7-3). Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Alex Martin, who finished sixth (6-5), sits third, 23 points out of the lead.
The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next Saturday, June 3, with its third round from Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Lakewood, Colorado. First motos of the True Value Thunder Valley National can be seen live on MAVTV at 12 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. ET, while second motos will air on NBC Sports Network via tape delay at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET. Additionally, all the action can be seen as it unfolds online via the NBC Sports Gold app.
Results: Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship – FMF Glen Helen National
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (1-3)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (5-1)
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (8-2)
- Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna (6-7)
- Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki (9-6)
- Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (7-8)
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (14-4)
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki (12-5)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (2-19)
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki (3-28)
450 Class Championship Standings
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 89
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 74
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 63
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki – 60
- Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna – 58
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 56
- Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 54
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki – 53
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki – 49
- Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki – 46
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-2)
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (1-7)
- Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha (9-1)
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (7-3)
- Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (5-4)
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM (6-5)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (3-13)
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., Husqvarna (8-10)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (2-29)
- Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha (13-8)
250 Class Championship Standings
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 90
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 69
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM – 67
- Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 65
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 64
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 59
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 50
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 47
- Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha – 43
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., Husqvarna – 40
- Sean Cantrell, Newbury Park, Calif., KTM – 40