It’s a crisp Southern California morning here at Fox Raceway in Pala, California, as we kick off the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. There was some light drizzle coming into the track today and weather is supposed to remain in the mid-70s with partly cloudy conditions throughout the day. It really is a perfect day for racing.
Everyone you talk to coming into this weekend seems to have a different answer for who will win this weekend and who will win the championship by the end of the season. The extra two weekend break after Monster Energy Supercross than normal has seemed to intensify the parity as more riders are prepared for this season to get underway. Though defending 450 class champion Zach Osborne and former multi-time 250 class champion Jeremy Martin both are nursing some injuries entering today, both seem convinced that they are ready to go come race time.
We’re just about 20 minutes away from the first practice sessions getting underway so we’re about to see where everyone’s sprint speed is. Tune in by checking out the broadcast schedule below and stick with us throughout the day as we continue to provide updates from the track.
FIRST QUALIFYING SESSIONS
The track started out in the morning sessions with a typical deep muddy loam as they ripped the track very deep and filled it with water in an effort to keep it as dry as possible today. Several 250B riders found themselves tipped over in some of the particularly deeper corners while the track slowly wore in throughout the morning. Tyson Johnson topped the first 250B session ahead of Christopher Prebula and Max Miller.
In 250A, it became a bit of an early lap time war as Jeremy Martin shot to the top of the sheets early on before his Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing teammate Justin Cooper tipped him. They continued to swap times at the top for much of the session before Austin Forkner came through at the very end to set the fastest lap of 250A. Hunter Lawrence and RJ Hampshire were right behind them in fourth and fifth, respectively. Tough luck early on today as Max Vohland pulled out of the first session with a suspected bike issue. No word at this time as to what happened with Vohland.
|1||Austin Forkner||10:58.626||2:22.809||Richards, MO||Kawasaki KX250F|
|2||Justin Cooper||11:48.936||2:23.080||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|12:14.606||2:23.677||Millville, MN||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Hunter Lawrence||10:16.388||2:23.781||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|5||R.J. Hampshire||11:48.364||2:23.860||Hudson, FL||Husqvarna FC 250|
|1||Tyson Johnson||10:55.924||2:29.109||Ripon, CA||KTM 250 SX-F|
|2||Christopher Prebula||11:15.395||2:31.993||Petersburg, MI||KTM 250 SX-F|
|11:55.000||2:33.240||Springfield, OR||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Blake Ashley||10:43.254||2:34.723||Conyers, GA||Yamaha YZ250F|
|5||Jack Rogers||12:06.698||2:36.372||Brookeville, MD||Yamaha YZ250F|
By the time the 450A group hit the track, the sun was beginning to come out and the track was quickly drying. Riders were still trying to avoid hitting the deep stuff that was mostly built up on the inside of the corners, so the track remained fairly one lined throughout the session.
Fairly early on, Adam Cianciarulo laid down a fast lap to go to the top of the board but he continued to improve it throughout the session, as he was the only rider to go into the 2:20s. Chase Sexton was second fastest but was nearly a full second off of AC’s pace. Christian Craig had a small tip over on the infield after the hills but was able to remount and go third fastest ahead of Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne. Other notables included Cooper Webb in P6, Eli Tomac in P7, Italian Alessandro Lupino in P8, and Ken Roczen down in P13.
The last session to run in the morning sessions was the 450B group, which featured a host of privateer riders all shooting to make the motos today. However, the fastest in B was actually Factory KTM Canada rider Cole Thompson who is down here to contest the opening round of Pro Motocross. The first sessions are now done and the second sessions will be coming up shortly.
|10:25.664||2:20.565||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX450|
|10:06.637||2:21.550||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|3||Christian Craig||10:08.776||2:21.743||Temecula, CA||Yamaha YZ450F|
|12:20.348||2:22.364||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|11:34.416||2:22.847||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 450|
|1||Cole Thompson||11:28.392||2:30.961||Brigden, ON||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Deegan Vonlossberg||11:44.577||2:32.992||Palmdale, CA||Yamaha YZ450F|
|3||Tyler Stepek||11:58.909||2:35.168||Mount Airy, MD||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Clayton Tucker||10:38.947||2:35.359||El Dorado Hills, CA||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Colby Copp||11:17.012||2:36.930||Los Banos, CA||GasGas MC 450F|
SECOND QUALIFING SESSIONS
In the second qualifying sessions of the day, Tyson Johnson began by backing up his top time in 250B by going fastest again in the second session. When the 250A class came out, the track was in the best shape it had been all day with several lines weathered in and the track drying out but still holding lots of moisture.
Jett Lawrence took advantage of the favorable conditions to lay down an early time that put him at the top of the timing sheets which he would remain at for the rest of the session. Despite the best efforts from Austin Forkner, Justin Cooper, Hunter Lawrence, and Jeremy Martin, Jett’s 2:20.389 held up for the fastest time of the day.
"It’s a good confidence booster,” said Lawrence. “This kind of gets you to know where you are in the standings. Hopefully we can carry this onto the two motos. But hey, anyone can do one fast lap so it doesn’t really say much. I’m looking forward to the two motos, hopefully we can end this with a good one."
|1||Jett Lawrence||15:42.925||2:20.389||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|2||Austin Forkner||14:33.328||2:20.710||Richards, MO||Kawasaki KX250F|
|3||Justin Cooper||16:27.776||2:20.814||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Hunter Lawrence||16:48.742||2:21.301||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|15:55.739||2:21.669||Millville, MN||Yamaha YZ250F|
The day keeps getting better for Adam Cianciarulo as he converted his fastest qualifying time from the first session into two seconds faster for session two to officially qualify P1 for the Fox Raceway 1 National. Cianciarulo, like Lawrence, set his time early in the session and was over two seconds faster than anyone until near the end when Ken Roczen, Dylan Ferrandis, Alessandro Lupino, and Jason Anderson dropped into the 2:20s. Cianciarulo still would have been 1.6 seconds faster than anyone until Marvin Musquin ran a 2:19.559 right at the end to jump up to second. Still, Cianciarulo appears to be on another level so far today.
“Yeah, I feel good,” said Cianciarulo. “I think the track it’s really, really deep. I think track position is really important. ...It’s a little one lined out there. Hopefully it gets a little drier and it opens it up a little bit. Regardless, I’m feeling good. Feel good about my preparation. Kawasaki has done a great job with my bike, my mechanic Justin [Shantie], crew chief Oscar [Wirdeman]; everybody’s doing a great job. Important for me to come out here and set a tone early. I feel like I did that today. I feel good. Hopefully we get a couple of good starts and make it a good day. But I’m just really happy to be back and back out here with my co-workers.”
Cole Thompson again topped the 450B times in the final qualifying session of the day as we get set to drop the gates on the consolation races shortly and then the motos in just over an hour.
|15:01.660||2:18.793||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX450|
|16:13.496||2:19.559||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Ken Roczen||16:33.535||2:20.443||Mattstedt||Honda CRF450R|
|4||Dylan Ferrandis||16:57.809||2:20.481||Avignon||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Alessandro Lupino||16:15.980||2:20.605||KTM 450 SX-F|
The final step before racing gets underway in this Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was to see who the final four qualifiers in each class would be. As the top 36 riders are seeded directly into racing action, the rest of the field drops the gate for a four-lap sprint where the top four finishes move on to the racing action.
Blake Ashley was able to make a late pass on Maxwell Sanford to win the 250 class Consolation Race while Colby Copp outdueled Scott Meshey to claim the win in the 450 class. And with that, the field is set to kick off the season.
|1||Blake Ashley||9:47.818||4 Laps||2:33.274||Conyers, GA||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Maxwell Sanford||9:53.091||+5.273||2:35.897||Pasadena, MD||Honda CRF250R|
|3||Cole Bailey||9:56.903||+9.085||2:36.656||Paso Robles, CA||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Jorge Rubalcava||10:00.083||+12.265||2:36.176||El Paso, TX||Husqvarna FC 250|
|5||Lane Shaw||10:02.242||+14.424||2:37.916||Alvin, TX||KTM 250 SX-F|
|1||Colby Copp||9:40.812||4 Laps||2:32.207||Los Banos, CA||GasGas MC 450F|
|2||Scott Meshey||9:44.826||+4.013||2:32.550||Zephyrhills, FL||Husqvarna FC 450|
|3||Blaine Silveira||9:46.087||+5.275||2:35.354||Lemoore, CA||Honda CRF450R|
|4||Deven Raper||9:47.481||+6.669||2:34.416||Mesa, AZ||Kawasaki KX450|
|5||Matthew Hubert||9:47.717||+6.904||2:30.418||Riverside, CA||Kawasaki KX450|
250 MOTO 1
As the season got kicked off as the metal pounded the dirt, the first holeshot of the year went to Max Vohland as he ripped the start in his first career Pro Motocross race. Vohland led early on from Stilez Robertson and Jeremy Martin. The early battle was between Seth Hammaker and Garrett Marchbanks who were disputed fourth place while Vohland began opening up a small gap.
Fastest qualifier Jett Lawrence was outside of the top 10 off the start but had worked his way up into ninth by the end of the second lap. Vohland’s early lead quickly faded after leading a few laps and mistakes started to creep in. Robertson was still right on him with Jeremy Martin, Hammaker, Marchbanks, and then Justin Cooper running essentially nose to tail by the fourth lap of the race.
As eyes were focused on the lead battle, RJ Hampshire, Jett Lawrence, and Michael Mosiman were charging forward from seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively. Hampshire then made a quick pass on Justin Cooper for sixth and wasted no time to get on Marchbanks and Hammaker ahead.
Hampshire got around Marchbanks and Hammaker with Jett Lawrence trying to follow every move he made. Meanwhile, Jeremy Martin got around Stilez Robertson for second and immediately closed a bunch of time up onto Vohland out front. Martin stalked Vohland for a few laps but then made the pass before the ninth lap was complete. The problem soon became whether Max Vohland’s bike that was smoking a lot and seemed to have another apparent issue after the problems in qualifying.
Jett Lawrence suddenly found himself in third place with a quick pass on RJ Hampshire while Mosiman continued to follow every move Lawrence was making as he moved up into fourth behind him. Vohland’s bike continued to smoke as Lawrence, Hampshire, and Mosiman quickly closed. Before the finish line on the end of lap 11, Vohland finally was forced to pull off from second place, as his bike could no longer keep going.
Lawrence then moved up into second place and was about five seconds behind Martin with about three laps remaining in the race. Hampshire moved up to third with Mosiman in fourth, Cooper fifth, and Austin Forkner charging all the way up to sixth late in the race.
Jeremy Martin then picked up the pace with the two-lap board coming out and began to hold the gap to Lawrence at just over four seconds. Martin would maintain a gap sufficient enough to hold off the late charge from Lawrence and win the first 250 class moto of the season. Lawrence was second behind him with Hampshire, Mosiman, and Cooper rounding out the top five.
|35:22.543||15 Laps||2:22.053||Millville, MN||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Jett Lawrence||35:25.364||+2.821||2:20.447||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|3||R.J. Hampshire||35:36.588||+14.045||2:22.624||Hudson, FL||Husqvarna FC 250|
|4||Michael Mosiman||35:39.491||+16.948||2:20.969||Sebastopol, CA||GasGas MC 250F|
|5||Justin Cooper||35:40.616||+18.073||2:21.785||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
450 MOTO 1
Cooper Webb ripped the holeshot in the first 450 moto of the year but wouldn’t hold the lead for long. Adam Cianciarulo started the race in fourth place and wasted no time to make three quick passes and go to the lead before the first lap was over. Behind Webb were Dylan Ferrandis, Ken Roczen, and Aaron Plessinger in the early running.
Cianciarulo quickly opened up a sizable lead out front running the fastest lap of the race as well. Webb, meanwhile, was trying to hold off a charge from Ferrandis behind him as the two battled over second while Chase Sexton made the pass on his teammate Ken Roczen to move into fourth behind them.
Suddenly, Cianciarulo had a huge moment out of the top corner before the big tabletop and hit the deck. The crash resulted in him dropped back to fourth and the bike seemed bent up as well. Dylan Ferrandis went to the lead immediately passing Cooper Webb just a few corners later.
Defending champion Zach Osborne spent a lot of the moto down outside of the top 10 as Osborne continues to get back to full strength off a herniated disc in his back. His teammate Jason Anderson, who crashed on the first lap of the race, caught Osborne with about 10 minutes left to go in the race.
Back out front, Chase Sexton made the pass on Cooper Webb to get by for second with a third of the race left to go. Justin Barcia behind that was also putting on a late charge as he went into sixth around Ken Roczen and had Plessinger and Cianciarulo still right in front of him.
Barcia continued his march forward with a quick pass on Plessinger and then he got Cianciarulo just a few laps later. Behind them, Roczen was fading back into the clutches of Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin who were coming up from eighth and ninth, respectively.
Justin Barcia then went on to make a late pass on Cooper Webb to get into third and Webb then faded back to Plessinger who was also able to get around him for fourth as well when the white flag came out.
In the end, Dylan Ferrandis claimed the 450 moto 1 win in his very first start in the 450 class in Pro Motocross. It wasn’t without a little drama though as Chase Sexton got within .099 seconds of Ferrandis at the flag but just couldn’t quite make it happen. Barcia ended up in third with Plessinger fourth and Webb in fifth.
|1||Dylan Ferrandis||35:04.134||15 Laps||2:20.231||Avignon||Yamaha YZ450F|
|35:04.234||+.099||2:20.217||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|35:16.448||+12.313||2:21.572||Monroe, NY||GasGas MC 450F|
|35:19.976||+15.841||2:21.127||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Cooper Webb||35:23.869||+19.734||2:20.669||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
250 MOTO 2
Jeremy Martin and Justin Cooper went across the holeshot line virtually side by side in the second moto but it was Cooper who quickly shot into the race lead. Max Vohland almost got the holeshot from his outside gate pick but would settle for third through the first turn as Jett Lawrence and Michael Mosiman settled in behind him.
Lawrence took a few laps but eventually made it around Vohland and worked on latching onto the back of Martin ahead of him. Martin seemed to sense that move was made behind him as he immediately picked up the pace on his teammate and went to work on making a pass for the race lead.
By the halfway point of the race, Cooper still led but had Martin and Lawrence right behind him the entire way. Finally Lawrence was able to size something up and get down the inside of Martin for second place. Just moments later, he was already putting the pressure on Cooper for the lead as the duo started to stretch out a small gap on Martin.
Lawrence then shot into the lead after the finish line jump on the very next lap as he just drove it in a little deeper than Cooper and made the pass. Cooper settled in behind him but Lawrence’s pace was such that he almost immediately opened up a little gap out front.
Martin was quick to respond after Lawrence went into the lead and passed his teammate Cooper in the exact same spot that Lawrence had gotten Cooper a lap prior. Cameron McAdoo crashed heavily by the mechanics area and appeared to be injured as he crawled off the track. Moments later, Max Vohland and RJ Hampshire came together while battling for fifth and both went down. Hampshire slid back into seventh while Vohland dropped back to ninth after they both remounted.
Eventually, Vohland and Hampshire worked their way back to Hunter Lawrence for sixth before Hampshire hit a lapper and lost a spot to Vohland and Garrett Marchbanks who passed Vohland at the same time.
Jett Lawrence cruised home the win by nearly seven seconds to win the second moto and the first overall of the season as well. Martin followed him home in second which tied them on points for the day, though Lawrence officially gets the overall with the better second moto score. Both riders will be tied atop the standings heading into the second round though. Justin Cooper finished up in third place and also filled the final spot on the overall podium as well.
|1||Jett Lawrence||35:11.502||15 Laps||2:20.300||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|35:18.463||+6.960||2:20.687||Millville, MN||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Justin Cooper||35:35.519||+24.017||2:20.854||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Michael Mosiman||35:49.787||+38.284||2:21.457||Sebastopol, CA||GasGas MC 250F|
|5||Hunter Lawrence||35:57.103||+45.600||2:22.621||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|1||Jett Lawrence||Landsborough Australia||2 - 1||Honda CRF250R|
|Millville, MN United States||1 - 2||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Justin Cooper||Cold Spring Harbor, NY United States||5 - 3||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Michael Mosiman||Sebastopol, CA United States||4 - 4||GasGas MC 250F|
|5||R.J. Hampshire||Hudson, FL United States||3 - 9||Husqvarna FC 250|
450 MOTO 2
Aaron Plessinger ripped the holeshot in the final moto of the day but Ken Roczen very quickly made a move on him to take over the lead before the first lap was over. Cianciarulo was up from with Osborne and Barcia in the mix as well. Moto 1 winner Dylan Ferrandis was eighth after the first lap while Chase Sexton who finished second went down in the first turn and had a massive climb ahead of him.
Ferrandis was making good progress early to get up to Justin Barcia and Zach Osborne who were battling for fourth. Meanwhile, Chase Sexton was flying through the field, finding his way up into 13th before even 10 minutes of the moto were done.
Barcia got around Osborne for fourth a few minutes before halfway and Ferrandis followed him through just moments later, which put Ferrandis in a position to win the overall. Barcia’s march forward continued as he got around Cianciarulo just moments later as well. By the time he got around Cianciarulo though, Plessinger was already 15 seconds up the road in second.
Plessinger started to pick it up at the mid-point of the race as he caught up to Roczen and immediately started trying to size up a pass on the two-time champion for the lead. Plessinger finished fourth in the first moto, so he would win the overall if Ferrandis stayed in fourth or worse with a Plessinger win. Things got dicey though with about 10 minutes to go as Roczen and Plessinger both jumped on red and white wheels on the ground flags on lap seven.
Adam Cianciarulo and Cooper Webb both seemed to fade simultaneously through the field as Marvin Musquin, Eli Tomac, Christian Craig, and eventually Sexton as well went by both of them in quick succession with a few minutes remaining in the race.
Dylan Ferrandis was able to pass Justin Barcia for third with about five minutes left in the race, which sealed the deal for him to win the overall so long as he could stay in the position to the flag. He remained in that third spot the rest of the way through and brought home the overall win in his first every 450 class Pro Motocross race.
Ken Roczen took home the moto win in the second moto and also snagged second place overall on the day as well. Plessinger followed him home in second in the moto to round out the podium. Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne finished fourth and fifth in the second moto.
|1||Ken Roczen||35:08.031||15 Laps||2:19.607||Mattstedt||Honda CRF450R|
|35:19.909||+11.878||2:19.981||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ450F|
|3||Dylan Ferrandis||35:31.385||+23.354||2:21.586||Avignon||Yamaha YZ450F|
|35:40.963||+32.932||2:21.777||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|35:44.043||+36.011||2:22.757||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 450|
|1||Dylan Ferrandis||Avignon France||1 - 3||Yamaha YZ450F|
|2||Ken Roczen||Mattstedt Germany||6 - 1||Honda CRF450R|
|Hamilton, OH United States||4 - 2||Yamaha YZ450F|
|Monroe, NY United States||3 - 6||GasGas MC 450F|
|La Moille, IL United States||2 - 10||Honda CRF450R|