The opening round of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship begins this weekend at Hangtown, and while most of the team rosters remain the same from Monster Energy Supercross, there are a few changes—i.e. supercross-only teams are out for the summer. Yesterday we previewed the riders in the 450 Class, today we're taking a look at the highly competitive 250 Class.
This guide will serve you well heading into the weekend.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
Notes: Savatgy was a clear title threat to Cooper Webb and Jeremy Martin last year, winning five motos over the opening five rounds—and even holding the red plate at times. Struggles mid-season—rumors were he was dealing with a virus—left him out of the title chase. He recovered late—grabbing three moto podiums over the last three rounds—but it was too little too late. For the second straight year, Savatgy is coming off a devastating loss in Monster Energy Supercross. How will he rebound?
Notes: The reigning Rookie of the Year enters his second full-time season in the Nationals as a title contender. Forkner was consistent last summer, only finishing outside the top 10 in three motos and was brilliant down the stretch, winning two motos and an overall.
Notes: Injuries and illness have limited Cianciarulo since making his pro debut in 2013. After missing all of 2014 and parts of 2015 (outdoors) AC raced all 12 rounds in 2016, finishing eighth overall. He’s coming off a full season of Monster Energy Supercross this year, so we could finally see the full potential of Cianciarulo in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross.
Notes: Hill missed six rounds last year, but after returning at his home race (Washougal), he had three top-five moto finishes to end the year. Coming off his first career championship (250SX West Region), Hill hopes to carry the momentum outdoors.
Notes: The two-time 250MX Champion has more career moto wins (23 to 14) than the entire class combined. After moving from Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha to GEICO Honda last off-season, Martin’s supercross season was a wash, but expectations are the same outdoors—title or bust. Martin struggled with an illness early last year—a mechanical at High Point also set him back—and couldn’t get back to his old championship level, despite four moto wins on the year.
Notes: Hampshire will miss the opening rounds after suffering a broken tib/fib in Monster Energy Supercross. The team hopes he can return for Round 4 at High Point.
Notes: Similar to last year, Decotis was signed to a supercross-only deal for this year, but due to injuries to other team riders, he will ride part of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. As of now, Decotis is expected to be with the team until Hampshire and Sexton return.
Notes: The rookie has yet to see the track due to injuries—knee, broken wrists, and femur—and isn’t expected to return until at least High Point or later.
Notes: After a mid-season team change—from Smartop/MotoConcepts to GEICO Honda—McAdoo will make his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut at Hangtown. His supercross season was limited due to a hand injury.
Additional note: GEICO’s Christian Craig will move to the 450MX class with Honda HRC to fill-in for the injured Ken Roczen.
Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM
Notes: A revelation in his first, and only, year with Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha, where he won two motos, finished a career-high second in points, and held the red plate at times, Martin enters his first year with TLD/Red Bull KTM outdoors. Martin missed time at the end of supercross due to a fractured leg and injuries to “some” vertebrae in his lower back, but has been back on the bike for close to a month.
Notes: A lot of moto top 10s for Oldenburg a year ago—13 to be exact—but he was unable to secure any top fives. He broke through in supercross this year; can he take the next step outdoors, too?
Notes: McElrath got off to a slow start last year due to a wrist injury. Just as he was finding his form—three top-five moto finishes in four rounds—he sustained a concussion, shoulder, lung, and rib injuries at Southwick and missed the remainder of the season. He’s coming off another good year in supercross—second in the West Region—where he garnered three race wins.
Notes: In his first year with TLD/Red Bull KTM, Smith was a surprise contender in Monster Energy Supercross, entering the final round with the points lead before crashing out at the finale. He didn’t break any bones in the crash, but took a hard hit to his back, so we’ll see how ready he is for the opener.
Notes: The four-time Loretta Lynn’s champion will make his pro debut at Hangtown this weekend. Like we’ve seen from many amateurs in recent years, the California native skipped his A class year at Loretta’s to go directly from the B class to the pros.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna
Notes: The veteran broke through for his first career overall at Budds Creek last year, but four moto DNFs on the year really hurt him in points. Osborne is coming off his first career 250SX championship, and is expected to challenge for a 250MX title.
Notes: Mosiman will join the team full-time this summer, competing in the 250 Class. The California native was part of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna amateur program. He’ll make his pro debut at Hangtown this Saturday.
Notes: After starting the year with Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins Yamaha, Cunningham picked up a fill-in ride with JGR due to Matt Bisceglia’s injury. Although Bisceglia is expected to return at High Point, Cunningham will stay on for the entire 12 rounds.
Notes: After parting ways with the now defunct MAD Racing Suzuki in supercross, Bisceglia filled-in for the both Blake Baggett and James Stewart with Yoshimura Suzuki last year on a 450. In seven rounds raced, Bisceglia scored nine moto top 10s. He missed all of Monster Energy Supercross due to injury. The team hopes to have him back at High Point.
Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
Notes: Plessinger scored four motos podiums and a moto win in 2016, but was too inconsistent to challenge for a title. With Webb and the Martin brothers gone, Plessinger steps into the number one role on the team. He’s one of many that will throw a hat into the title ring.
Notes: Nichols broke his femur this off-season, somehow returned for supercross, did really well, but then tore his MCL and suffered a fracture to his tibia while practicing. He will be racing the opener, but it may take a couple rounds for him to get up to full speed.
Notes: The Michigan native is entering his second full season with Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha. He had an up and down rookie year, but really surprised people at the two USGPs.
Notes: The former MX2 contender appears to be on everyone’s radar as a dark horse title contender. Europeans have struggled with the heat and humidity in the past, but Ferrandis told us this week that he’s from a very hot part of France. He was great in his first year in supercross and could be even better outdoors.
Additional Notes: Dan Reardon was signed to a supercross-only contract and will not compete in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Amateur racer Challen Tennant is expected to join the team after Loretta’s.
CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha
Notes: Taft raced the last three rounds of 2016 after Loretta’s and secured five top-15 moto finishes. He missed most of supercross due to a concussion and will miss the first round at Hangtown, though, he is back riding during the week.
Notes: Locurcio made his debut for the team in supercross this year, so Hangtown will mark his first professional race in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. The Venezuelan won one Loretta Lynn’s title (450 B Limited) during his amateur career.
Traders Racing Yamaha
Notes: Renzland scored two moto top 10s last year. He moved from CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha to Traders Racing Yamaha this past off-season.
Notes: Gaines missed five rounds in 2016 due to injury. He also missed part of supercross due to injury, but should be 100 percent for the start of outdoors.