Welcome to the Racer X Race Day Feed, coming to you from The Wick 338 in Soutwick, Massachusetts. From practice reports to the blow-by-blow from tonight’s motos, you’ll find it all right here on the Racer X Race Day Feed. Updates are posted in chronological order, so be sure to scroll down for the latest info. For even more updates be sure to follow us on Twitter, @Racerxonline.
The weather from The Wick 338 this morning has been cool this morning, but the humidity is high. There is the possibility of rain expected later in the day, possibly starting during the first motos so we will see if that becomes a factor. Early in the more the track was flat and smooth but was visually getting rougher and tougher during the second practices. If it does rain, we will see how it affects the track. It could be a nice break for the riders after last weekend’s hot day but could turn make the track even more difficult to navigate.
As far as the riders, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac reclaimed sole possession of the red plates after finishing second overall at the Florida National. Through five rounds, Tomac has a six-point lead over Honda HRC's Ken Roczen. Will Tomac extend his lead again this weekend or will Roczen gain ground on the defending champion? Although WW Ranch Motocross Park was a sand track as well, both Tomac and Roczen each has a great and a bad moto, so we can't really say who has an advantage at this point. The only rider to put together two great motos was Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin. Musquin finished 1-3 last weekend to take his first overall win of the season but knows that in order to be in the hunt for the championship he has to get the maximum points each weekend. Musquin sits 31 points behind Tomac entering today. We have seen all three riders have success at Southwick throughout their pro careers, but there is no clear favorite until the gate drops.
In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper gained a few points on the points leader, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, after last weekend. Cooper finished 2-2 last weekend to take the first pro win of his young career and closed the gap between himself and Cianciarulo down to 18 points, as Cianciarulo finished 5-3. It wasn’t a horrible day for AC, who said he “felt off all day,” as he still managed to finish third overall. Dylan Ferrandis, another Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider, sits third in the points standings, 35 points back from Cianciarulo, GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton is fourth, and a third Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider—this time Colt Nichols—sits fifth. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Michael Mosiman sits sixth in the points standings through five rounds but will not race today due to a crash he suffered in practice earlier this week. Mosiman is 11 points behind Sexton and four points behind Nichols (although that will change after today) but is expected to race at the RedBud National next weekend on July 6.
250 Class qualifying
Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper earned his third fastest-qualifying spot of the season by the time the 250 Class qualifying had completed.
“I’m just feeling comfortable with the track,” Cooper said. “It’s gonna get worse as the day goes on. Just try and be smart with the team. Just try to survive these two motos—it’s going to be gnarly. The fitness is going to come into play so gonna try to play it smart and get away with good starts and hopefully come away with the win again.”
We saw Ferrandis have a front wheel change in order to get a different tire on his YZ250F that better suits the track. While the top of the track is sand, the hard-base underneath sometimes becomes the top of the track in certain sections. Ferrandis, who has background racing on sand tracks in the FIM Motocross World Championship in Europe, was able to drop his time down to earn the third overall qualifying spot (Nichols' heater just edged out his teammate's). Ferrandis got his first moto win of Pro Motocross at the 2017 Southwick National (where he finished second overall) and won his the first overall of his career at the 2018 Southwick National, by finishing 4-1 to claim the top spot. If he is able to get good starts today like he did in the second moto at the Florida National last weekend, he might be in for another good showing at this year’s event.
Earlier this morning we learned that Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM’s Pierce Brown broke his shoulder blade and will he out for today’s action. We will provide more updates on Brown when they become available. Brown made his pro debut with the team last weekend, finishing 14-10 for 12th overall.
|1||Justin Cooper||2:08.071||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Colt Nichols||2:08.749||Muskogee, OK||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Dylan Ferrandis||2:08.888||Avignon||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Shane McElrath||2:09.532||Canton, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|5||Mitchell Oldenburg||2:09.543||Alvord, TX||Yamaha YZ250F|
450 Class qualifying
When the premier class took the track for qualifying, Musquin dropped the fastest qualifying lap of the day. His time in the second session gave him the top spot, but he tried several times to best that mark again.
“I think I’m a lot better than [at] the start of the season,” Musquin said. “We made some progress with the team and all of the people around me so I’ve been feeling good. And so obviously to win last week in Florida on the tough track in the heat was good.”
Tomac and Roczen were both struggling in the second session, as downed riders slowed their heaters on several occasions. Roczen also slipped in a turn, ultimately derailing that lap as well. Jason Anderson also went down in a turn during the second session. Let's see if any of the 450 riders make adjustments, like Ferrandis did beforehand, heading into the first motos of the day. Anderson, Roczen, Tomac, and Fredrik Noren rounded out the top 450 Class qualifers. Noren, who recently got a fill-in ride with the JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing team for the remainder of Pro Motocross, was the fifth fastest in combined qualifying.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger is making his 2019 Pro Motocross debut today but struggled to find speed early in the day. His first timed qualifying session time of 2:15.820 was 33th fastest in the A group and had several riders above him in the B group. Plessinger, who is making his return to racing after suffering a broke heel in the Daytona Supercross round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, was able to put down a faster time in the second session and found himself in 31st overall in combined qualifying. This isn’t how AP or the team probably expected the 450 Class rookie to start his day but he hasn’t raced since March. Maybe he isn’t fully comfortable with his setup on the 450, maybe it’s the track he’s not comfortable with, but we know he has completed two 30-minute motos during his recovery and has the ability to do so at a relatively fast speed, otherwise he wouldn’t be making his return yet. We’ll see how he fairs once the gate drops.
|1||Marvin Musquin||2:07.563||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Jason Anderson||2:08.234||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|3||Ken Roczen||2:08.332||Mattstedt||Honda CRF450R|
|4||Eli Tomac||2:08.722||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|5||Fredrik Noren||2:08.800||Lidköping||Suzuki RM-Z450|
250 CLASS Moto 1
When the first gate dropped for the day, Justin Cooper and Adam Cianciarulo, the top two in the class points, were side by side through the first turn. The holeshot officially went to Cianciarulo and he immediately started to pull away on the outside of the second turn, but Coooper was fast enough to leave the two side-by-side. The two then went into the downhill U-turn and AC fully committed to the pass by jumping quickly down into the inside of the turn, officially taking the lead by himself. Through the first two laps, Cianciarulo started to build a lead on the rest of the field. Behind him ran, Cooper, Derek Drake, Shane McElrath, Brandon Hartranft, Ferrandis, and Nichols. McElrath got around his teammate Drake, who built on his first moto start from Florida last weekend and ran in third for the first few minutes of the race before fading back and finishing 21st.
Ferrandis, who was mentioned above as having success at Southwick the last two years, got off to a great start (sixth through the first lap) and was able to catch up his teammate Cooper about halfway through the moto. Once the #34 saw his teammate in the same section, it seemed Ferrandis would take over second with his speed but when he was unable to execute a turn and slowly went over the berm, he lost a lot of time. He was able to return to the track rather quickly and regained his spot in front of McElrath that he had taken moments before going off the track. Due to the time lost during that mishap, Ferrandis was unable to make the time back up on Cooper but then took on heat of his own on the last lap from Hampshire, who was four seconds faster than the Yamaha rider on the previous lap. Ferrandis peaked over his shoulder and must have seen Hampshire was on his tail because he seemed to find a figurative next gear and pulled away from the GEICO Honda rider to claim third. During the moto, we saw Cooper, Ferrandis, and Nichols running in order as a pack and thought Hampshire and Hunter Lawrence would run together as well but Lawrence slipped back as his teammate continued his charge. Lawrence finished in ninth.
Cianciarulo rebounds from his “off” weekend in the Florida sand to take the first 250 Class moto in the Southwick sand. He stated after the race how important it was to get out in front early and have a clear track ahead of him.
“It’s so important to get out front early, you know,” Cianciarulo said, “if you get behind somebody like Justin, you may spend the whole race back there and never be able to pass them…I really wanted to get track position and kind of be able to work my lines. I felt pretty confident out there.”
Cooper managed to keep his gap behind Cianciarulo under ten seconds but realized he found his rhythm too late to catch and battle Cianciarulo.
“He was riding great in the beginning and he was able to get away from me,” Cooper said. “I started to find my flow a little bit too late, probably about 10 to 15 minutes in. From there I was kind of matching his pace if not back and forth with him but the damage was done by then, so [I just need to be] a little bit stronger in the beginning of the next one, I felt good at the end.”
GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton, who had a strong first moto last weekend to take his first career moto win, was nowhere to be found in the first moto today, as he finished 13th.
|1||Adam Cianciarulo||2:14.027||16 Laps||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX250F|
|2||Justin Cooper||2:15.423||+11.124||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Dylan Ferrandis||2:15.784||+15.525||Avignon||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||R.J. Hampshire||2:16.295||+17.041||Hudson, FL||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Colt Nichols||2:16.809||+18.166||Muskogee, OK||Yamaha YZ250F|
450 Class Moto 1
The premier class also started with two of the top contenders side-by-side through the first turn, as Musquin and Tomac were right next to one another. Musquin just edged out Zach Osborne for the holeshot but Tomac quickly jumped into second to take away Osborne’s spot. Early on the running order was Musquin, Tomac, Osborne, Roczen, Joey Savatgy, Noren, Cooper Webb, Justin Bogle, and Blake Baggett. Musquin jumped out to an early lead and checked out but behind the #25 there were some intense battles. Tomac, Osborne, Roczen, and Webb all battled back and forth, passing one another and continually switching positions. Osborne and Roczen were each once in second place and Tomac was in fifth at one point but Tomac would repass both riders to claim a second-place finish, Osborne a third, and Roczen finished outside of the top-ten.
Osborne commented last week that his sprint speed has been one of his biggest weaknesses through the first five rounds. Well, he changed that today, when he put himself in a good position early on, coming through the first lap in fourth.
“Fast Freddie” Noren was also battling with the top contenders all race, making passes and running in fourth position before eventually finishing fifth. While Tomac moved into second, it was too late to catch Musquin, who finished with a nine-second gap over the defending series champion. Although Tomac was in the front of the pack at the start, he said he didn’t have the speed to keep up with Musquin early on.
“I was just kind of slow to start and then I was just kind of ‘steady Eddie’ the whole time,” Tomac said, “managing a pace, but at the same time I wanted to go, I just didn’t have the intensity that Marvin had there so he got away…Just need to find the speed for the second moto.”
Musquin said his good start allowed him to get into a good position with a clear track ahead of him
“My start was good and I put myself in a great position,” Musquin said. “Obviously, the first few laps it was hard to go really fast, they were pushing behind [me] but then I built up my speed…it was a long moto when you’re leading like that and looking back and trying to control the gap and you see Tomac second you’re like ‘Okay, what is he going to do, it he going to stay there or charge,’ so I kind of paced myself there.”
Man, did Roczen look like he was struggling. After some brilliant laps early on, he started to fade rather quickly and was not nearly as aggressive at the halfway mark as he was during the first few laps. He lost several positions lap and came through the checkered flag in 12th. Aside from Roczen’s tenth-place in the second moto last weekend, the last time Roczen finished outside of the top-ten was at the 2018 season-opening Hangtown, when he finished 16th in the second moto. Anderson was clamped off in the start and funneled back outside of the top-ten but managed a seventh-place finish, right behind Justin Barcia. Plessinger, who struggled earlier in qualifying, finished 18th. Savatgy, who had to pull into the pits only a few laps into the race while he was in seventh place, DNF’d the moto and receives a 36th-place finish.
|1||Marvin Musquin||2:16.032||16 Laps||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Eli Tomac||2:17.353||+09.113||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|3||Zach Osborne||2:16.661||+24.280||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 450|
|4||Cooper Webb||2:17.579||+37.136||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
|5||Fredrik Noren||2:18.717||+41.215||Lidköping||Suzuki RM-Z450|
250 CLASS Moto 2
Cianciarulo claimed his second straight holeshot and Ferrandis got his second good start of the day, as he was in the top five through the first few turns—allowing him to eventually settle in behind the #92. Cianciarulo has been smooth all day, but Ferrandis was so fast that with his great start, AC92 was no match for Ferrandis. The experienced 25-year-old didn’t let Cianciarulo have any easy time in the second moto, as he kept yo-yoing with the points leader. The #34 was a few bike lengths behind Cianciarulo but was able to see where he was better than his competitor. He was also eating all of AC’s roost, so he was switching lines more than the other riders—something that, like Musquin, he is more comfortable doing than other riders. A little after the halfway mark, Ferrandis made the move to take the lead. Last weekend in the sand, Ferrandis had a similar approach with his teammate in the second moto. In Florida, Ferrandis hung behind Cooper in the second moto before taking over the lead towards the end of the race.
Ferrandis’ third in the first moto cost the Frenchman, as his 3-1 moto scores were bettered by AC’s 1-2 moto scores. While Cianciarulo had nothing for Ferrandis in the second moto, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider did earn the overall win on the day with a two-point advantage. Cianciarulo mentioned on the podium afterwards that he was tired in the second moto, but managed a to bring home second place.
“Yeah, I managed the race for sure, I’m not sure if I had Dylan’s pace in that moto,” AC said. “He’s really fast here, really fast in general, so he rode great, he deserved that one. I think I was smart, I made good decision. I tried to follow him a little bit but honestly, I was a little bit fatigued.”
Ferrandis said his team changed the bike setup heading into the second moto, as it hindered his performance in the first moto.
“[We] made a better setup for the second moto, and you can see it, I did much better,” Ferrandis said. “I’m exhausted right now but it was a better moto.”
Cooper rounded out the overall podium, as his 2-3 moto finishes earned him a fifth overall podium of the season. Cooper said he became tired and his back started to flare up during the second moto.
“The track was just so rough,” Cooper said on the podium afterwards. “I made some good changes in between motos with the bike and everything and I felt good, just the halfway point, I was just like ‘Wow, I don’t know how much I have in the tank.’”
Sexton, who finished 13th in the first moto, did not start the second moto and was replaced by an alternate. We will provide more information on Sexton when an update becomes available.
|1||Adam Cianciarulo||Port Orange, FL||1 - 2||Kawasaki KX250F|
|2||Dylan Ferrandis||Avignon||3 - 1||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Justin Cooper||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||2 - 3||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||R.J. Hampshire||Hudson, FL||4 - 4||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Shane McElrath||Canton, NC||6 - 7||KTM 250 SX-F|
450 CLASS Moto 2
Webb grabbed his fourth holeshot of the year, but a small mistake allowed Osborne to take over the lead. If Webb hadn’t saved it, that could have been ugly right at the front of the pack in a fast straight-away section. The mishap was all his training partner needed to get away. After taking the lead only a few turns in, the 450 Class rookie didn’t look back at all as he went on to lead all 15 laps of the moto to earn his first moto win in the premier class. After improving his sprint speed at the beginning of the first moto, he got a really great start in the second moto and was able to check out. Yes, we knew Osborne would be good in the 450 Class this season and he would more than likely contend for wins and the championship, but for him to win the second moto with an 11.136-second gap over Musquin, who was absolutely flying in qualifying and then backed it up by crushing everyone in the first moto…I’m not sure how many people saw this coming—I can say that I surely didn’t!
While Osborne finished 3-1, it was Musquin who took the overall with 1-2 moto scores. Musquin sat second through a majority of the race, while also taking pressure from Tomac for the later stages of the race as well. After coming through lap one in ninth, Tomac charged up to catch Musquin with about 11 minutes left in the race. The way Musquin’s day had been going, it didn’t seem like Tomac would be able to catch the Red Bull KTM rider. Having caught up to Musquin with so much time left in the moto, it seemed like Tomac would have enough in the tank to pass his rival. If he had passed Musquin, Osborne would have been awarded the overall victory as well, but that was not the case. Musquin would gap Tomac by 8.380 seconds to hold on for second place. Similar to the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship when Musquin started the championship “slow” (by not earning any wins) before rattling off several wins in a row—now his second in as many races. The slow start to Pro Motocross was tough for Musquin to take, he said on the podium following the race.
“It was a rough start to the season: it’s hard mentally when you’re not on the podium, but I still have it,” Musquin said with a laugh.
With his second consecutive overall, and Roczen’s tough day, Musquin moved into second in the 450 Class points, 26 points behind Tomac.
Noren went 5-7 in his JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing debut to secure seventh overall. With Noren officially on a factory team, John Short was today’s highest privateer finisher, going 15-9 for tenth overall. Short passed Roczen at the very end of the second moto to add to Roczen’s already rough day. Roczen struggled in the second half of the first moto then suffered more struggles in the second moto. His 12-10 scores gave him ninth overall—not a good day in the championship, as he loses 22 points to Tomac (who went 2-3 for third overall) on the day and falls to third in the points standings. Justin Barcia (6-6 for sixth overall) and Dean Ferris (8-12 for eighth overall) put together two solid rides for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing, while their teammate Plessinger struggled with speed all day. Plessinger improved his finish in the second moto, going 18-16 to bring home 17th overall in his 2019 Pro Motocross debut. We’ll see how the 2018 250 Class champion bounces back next weekend at the RedBud National.
|1||Marvin Musquin||La Reole||1 - 2||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Zach Osborne||Abingdon, VA||3 - 1||Husqvarna FC 450|
|3||Eli Tomac||Cortez, CO||2 - 3||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Cooper Webb||Newport, NC||4 - 4||KTM 450 SX-F|
|5||Jason Anderson||Edgewood, NM||7 - 5||Husqvarna FC 450|