By The Numbers
Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence scored the second overall win of his career after 2-1 moto finishes at the opening round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Lawrence came back from a 17th-place start in the first moto to finish second and then passed both Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha teammates Justin Cooper and Jeremy Martin in the second moto to take his second career moto win and second overall in just his 13th Pro Motocross start.
Behind Lawrence, the Yamaha duo of Martin and Cooper finished second and third overall, respectively. Martin claimed the race win in the first moto—the 35th moto win of his 250 career—and his second overall was the 41st 250 Class overall podium of his career. And as you will see in the tweet below, J-Mart is climbing up the all-time 125/250 Class Pro Motocross moto wins list.
Coming off his first pro title in the 250SX West Region of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, the steady Cooper’s third overall was the seventh Pro Motocross podium of his career. These three riders are expected to be the title favorites this summer.
Pro Motocross Debut(s)
In the very first moto of the year, AMA Motocross rookie Max Vohland pulled the holeshot and led the first eight laps in his Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship debut. Unfortunately, a bike issue would arise, and he would only complete ten laps before his bike expired but he was able to rebound for seventh in the second moto, giving him 38-7 finishes officially for 13th place. Will he continue to lead laps as the summer progresses? Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Seth Hammaker also made his AMA Motocross debut. The Pennsylvania native finished 11-23 for 16th overall.
In his third AMA Motocross start, Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha’s Nate Thrasher came from dead last in the second moto to get 17th. He finished 16th in the first moto for 17th overall.
In the 450 class, it was Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo who got out front in a hurry and started to run away with the lead. However, on the fifth lap AC would go down and lose his shifter then suffer from arm pump for the remainder of the day. When Cianciarulo went down, Cooper Webb inherited the lead, but Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis wasted no time as he made a pass for the lead and then led the final ten laps of the race to win his first ever 450 Class moto. As Ferrandis brought his YZ450F around for the final lap of the race, little did he know Chase Sexton was on the gas. Sexton overcame the gap between the two and came into the final section before the checkered flag side-by-side with Ferrandis, who just barely held on for the race win. At the checkered flag only 0.099 seconds separated race winner Ferrandis and Sexton in second place. An eventual third in the second moto would give Ferrandis the overall win in his debut Pro Motocross 450 event. As our MXGP specialist Kellen Brauer pointed out: Ferrandis was the first rider to win their 450 class debut since four-time FIM Motocross World Champion Jeffrey Herlings won the 2017 Ironman National with 1-1 moto finishes in his one and only AMA Motocross race in the U.S.
The photo finish between Ferrandis and Sexton. Align Media Mutual respect. 🤝 Align Media
In the second moto, Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen claimed the moto win—his first moto win since the 2019 Unadilla National in August 2019 (which was also the last time he won a 450 class overall) when he finished 1-1. The moto win was Roczen’s 39th career 450 class moto win and afterwards he said he was surprised to take the moto win.
“I was a bit surprised,” he said in the post-race press conference. “I had no real expectations this weekend. I guess I appreciate that everybody else has such high expectations and everybody always expects me to be up front. So, I guess that’s a good thing, but nobody knows what’s going on behind the scenes and how I feel about riding and things like that.”
Roczen held off Aaron Plessinger in the second moto, who finished 4-2 to take third overall on the day. Because of injuries in 2019 that limited his racing and missing all of 2020 due to a wrist injury, Plessinger’s first 450 Class Pro Motocross podium comes in just his eighth 450 event. After some research it appears the last time two Yamaha riders were on the 450 Class overall podium together was the 2009 Washougal National, when Josh Grant (5-2) got second overall & Jason Lawrence (10-3) got third overall behind winner Chad Reed, who went 1-1 on a Suzuki. That’s over 11 years, 10 months, 4 days or 4,326 total days between two Yamaha riders on the same 450 overall podium.
|1||Chad Reed||Kurri Kurri Australia||1 - 1||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|2||Josh Grant||Riverside, CA United States||5 - 2||Yamaha YZ450F|
|3||Jason Lawrence||Estell Manor, NJ United States||10 - 3||Yamaha YZ450F|
|4||Justin Brayton||Fort Dodge, IA United States||9 - 8||KTM 450|
|5||Michael Byrne||Australia||15 - 4||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|Avignon France||1 - 3||Yamaha YZ450F|
|2||Ken Roczen||Mattstedt Germany||6 - 1||Honda CRF450R|
|3||Aaron Plessinger||Hamilton, OH United States||4 - 2||Yamaha YZ450F|
|4||Justin Barcia||Monroe, NY United States||3 - 6||GasGas MC 450F|
|5||Chase Sexton||La Moille, IL United States||2 - 10||Honda CRF450R|
In the first moto, Jason Anderson went down on the first lap and had to fight back from 23rd after the first official lap. Anderson recorded tenth and then claimed a quiet top-five finish in fourth in the second moto.
In the second moto, Sexton’s tenth doesn’t seem to be a great result but if you note that he got collected in a first turn crash and came back from dead last all the way to tenth, that is an impressive ride.
Jacob Hayes’ Return
Privateer Jacob Hayes returned to the gates of an AMA race for the first time since the 2020 San Diego Supercross—476 days prior to the Fox Raceway 1 National. Hayes suffered a big practice crash in May 2020 and has been sidelined with a long recovery since. He jumped up to the premier class on a KTM 450 SX-F and finished 20-36 for 24th overall on the day in his return.
Quotes From Around The Paddock
Jason Anderson | 10-4 for 6th overall in 450 Class
“It was not a terrible day, but we definitely need to keep building. In the first moto, I had a good start and tipped over while running fifth, but I was able to make it back to 10th. In the second moto, I charged up the whole moto and was able to end up fourth, which was a good ride for me.”
Marvin Musquin | 8-7 for 7th overall in 450 Class
“I knew competition would be very tough and a good start would be key. I was happy with my practice, qualifying second, and felt good going into the motos. In both of my motos, my first lap was no good and I was not aggressive enough and making huge mistakes. After that, I had to fight back but it was very difficult to make passes on this track. I was battling with Tomac in both motos, so that tells you the level of competition in the top-10. I’m not super happy with the result on paper. I did a couple good things but overall, I can do better, so let’s do it again next weekend.”
Cooper Webb | 5-11 for 8th overall in 450 Class
“A tough day at the office with eighth overall to start the season at Pala. It felt good to line back up outdoors and I’m looking forward to having fans back at the races this summer. We’ll build on this and come back swinging for the next 22 motos.”
Eli Tomac | 9-8 for 9th overall in 450 Class
“Overall, it was an alright day. It wasn’t my best result, but we managed to put together two consistent motos and deal with the difficult track. I’m looking forward to Thunder Valley next week, especially since it’s my home track. We’ll take the week to get everything dialed and plan to be back on the top step where we belong.”
Zach Osborne | 13-5 for 10th overall in 450 Class
“My day definitely could have been better but I’m still healthy and looking to get more. The first moto was a little disappointing and not what we were looking for, but I turned it around and I’m happy to leave in a better spot than I was when I got here. This is the first time I’ve done two motos in a day since I started riding again so we didn’t have any expectations and to get a top-five in the second moto was a step in the right direction.”
Adam Cianciarulo | 7-12 for 11th overall in 450 Class
“Even though the result wasn’t what we hoped for today, there were a lot of things we can build on for the season. I’m staying positive and I’m glad we can shake off those first-round jitters. We can now focus on getting back up on that podium where we belong. We know what we need to work on, and I can’t wait to get back out there next week.”
Max Anstie | 15-14 for 13th overall in 450 Class
"We've got the first one out of the way here at Pala. I felt my riding was solid and I felt good, but I've got some things I want to work on in the next few weeks for the upcoming rounds. Everyone on the team is working hard and we want to keep progressing and climbing up that leaderboard. We ended up thirteenth, but we want more, so let's keep on truckin' on!"
Joey Savatgy | 12-18 for 14th overall in 450 Class
“Today was far from ideal. The track was tough today and while my speed was there, I just made a few mistakes that kept me from a solid finish. It’s a long season and we will make a few adjustments and come out firing at Thunder Valley.”
Dean Wilson | 14-40 for 17th overall in 450 Class
“It was a little bit rough for me today. I had a little better start in Moto 2 and around the third lap I was hitting this jump exiting the corner and my rear wheel slid out off the face and I got a handlebar to the gut really bad and knocked the wind out of me and I couldn’t breathe. By the time I got up and going I was pretty far back, and my bike wasn’t good enough to race. I went back and got checked out, all okay. It’s a disappointing first round but all we can do is keep trying to improve and get better.”
Justin Bogle | 26-16 for 18th overall in 450 Class
“It was a tough one today. I’ve only been on the bike a few weeks since my injury from Supercross. We have some work to do, just thankful for my team who’s behind me. We’ll head home and test this week so we can charge at Thunder Valley.”
Brandon Hartranft | 21-19 for 22nd overall in 450 Class
"Overall, it was a good, solid day for my first 450 pro national," said Hartranft about his RM-Z450’s maiden outdoor voyage. "In moto one I would've finished in about sixteenth except I fell at about the halfway mark; I could only recover up to 21st position so unfortunately, I didn't score any points in the moto. I got a mid-pack start in the second moto and fought pretty hard the whole time and earned some points. The track was super gnarly, especially the rutted finish line section. All in all, the Pala track was probably one of the toughest tracks I've ever ridden. We'll take the positives from today and I can't wait until next weekend."
RJ Hampshire | 3-9 for 5th overall in 250 Class
“I’m happy to be back at the races. I felt good all day. The first moto, I didn’t get a great start, but we made some good passes and held onto third, which was sweet coming off injury and getting back racing. Looking at our speed and comfort this weekend, I know we have a lot to build on and we will be better.”
Hunter Lawrence | 6-5 for 6th overall in 250 Class
“It was a rough weekend. To start off with two crashes in each moto wasn’t ideal, but we live and learn. I’m looking forward to next weekend, just to be able to be better and not make those mistakes. I’m happy to get the season started, nonetheless. Sixth overall is a start—nothing to jump up and down about, but I’m happy to be fit and healthy.”
Austin Forkner | 7-8 for 8th overall in 250 Class
“It was nice to finally get in a round of motocross after so long watching from my living room. While I wanted to be able to run more at the front with those guys, we also wanted to make sure we got through the race learning some things and keeping in mind that this season is long. I feel good about starting to head east. We’ll be ready for next weekend.”
Colt Nichols | 9-12 for 9th overall in 250 Class
“It was a tough day at the office for me. I struggled to find any flow on the track all day and was disappointed in my lackluster performance, but I need to put myself in a better position out of the gate. We race again on Saturday, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”
Jo Shimoda | 14-11 for 10th overall in 250 Class
“It was great coming back to Pala, but I wasn’t able to find the pace right away,” said Shimoda. “I know we learned from the race, which makes me excited about getting to the next round. It can’t come soon enough.”
Jalek Swoll | 12-13 for 11th overall in 250 Class
“It was an up and down day, practice was rough, but I felt like we changed it a little bit in the races. Obviously, the first moto didn’t go as planned but I felt like second moto I was really grooving and being myself out there. All-in-all, I’m content with the day and I know we have some stuff to work on, but I think the speed is pretty good for finally getting through a whole day of outdoors. We’ll regroup and be ready for Thunder Valley.”
Jarrett Frye | 13-14 for 12th overall in 250 Class
“It was a tough day at the opening round, finishing 13th and 14th for 12th overall. I struggled with a few things, but we will go back to work this week and try to be better next weekend.”
Max Vohland | 38-7 for 13th overall in 250 Class
“Overall, today went really good. I got a holeshot in the first moto and ended up leading for 23 minutes, which was awesome. You learn a lot and gain a lot of confidence believing you can do it when you’re actually doing it! For my first national as a rookie, I think I performed really well today and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season now.”
Stilez Robertson | 10-18 for 14th overall in 250 Class
“Just from not riding, my arms are not really in shape and my knee is a little sore but for not planning on racing, I’ll take it. We’ll keep building and the main goal this season is to make all 12 rounds, so thanks to everybody and let’s keep it going.”
Pierce Brown | 23-10 for 15th overall in 250 Class
“I was stoked for the first moto, I got a decent start and collided with another rider, breaking my shifter right after the start. After getting the shifter on, I felt like I was riding decent, but I was just too far back to make anything happen. I wanted to come out swinging for the second moto, but I just started off too slow. It took me a while to find my flow and once I did, I was feeling good. It was good to be in the mix with the whole crew, that’s something I haven’t done in a while. I definitely want more, so we’re going to come out swinging for Colorado next weekend.”
Nate Thrasher | 16-17 for 17th overall in the 250 Class
“It was a disappointing day. Coming off of a good start in the supercross season, I had higher expectations, but we’re going to put our head down and keep working and try for a better result next weekend.”
Dilan Schwartz | 18-35 for 22nd overall in 250 Class
"I felt good physically, so I was able to maintain a good pace throughout the whole moto. I’m happy with that because I know I can make it through each round without having to worry about my fitness. I’m excited to see how much I can improve over the season and I'm looking forward to mixing it up with the top guys here soon!"
Derek Drake | 20-22 for 25th overall in 250 Class
"It was a challenging first round for me, but the team and I know what I need to work on to get more success out of the season."