Lots on the line as always as we close on the conclusion to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. The titles are always prestigious, but the title setups this year would lead to some interesting storylines and stats. Here are just a few:
1. The Yamaha YZ450F: Yamaha revolutionized the game with Doug Henry’s YZM400 works bike in 1997, which spawned the production YZ400F for 1998. Henry won the 250 National Championship on that bike. Yamaha’s big-bore four stroke might have been the original, but the bike has generated just one more title since that Henry debut: Grant Langston won the 2007 AMA Motocross National Championship on a Yamaha YZ450F. If Dylan Ferrandis can collect the 450 National Championship this year on a YZ450F, it will mark Yamaha’s first in the class since Langston in ’07, and its third in 23 years.
2. Double Star: Star Racing Yamaha is in contention for both titles, the 450 crown with Ferrandis and the 250 title with Justin Cooper. The last time one team won both titles? Rockstar/Makita Suzuki in 2009, with Ryan Dungey (250) and Chad Reed (450).
3. Flip Side: Same stat here: if Honda wins ‘em both this year with Ken Roczen and Jett Lawrence, it’s the first team sweep since ’09. Honda last won both titles in 1995 with Jeremy McGrath and Steve Lamson.
4. Double Brands: Kawasaki would like to raise a hand to those stats above. What about one brand simply winning both titles in the same year, but on two separate teams? Kawasaki accomplishes this quite a bit, most recently with both 2019 titles via Eli Tomac on Monster Energy Kawasaki and Adam Cianciarulo with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Kawasaki has done the double quite a bit through premier-class riders like Tomac, Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, and Jeff Emig coupled with the prolific all-time success of the Pro Circuit team in the small-bore class.
5. Star’s Run: If Cooper wins the 250 National Motocross Championship, it will be Star Racing’s sixth title in the last eight years in that class. Jeremy Martin, Cooper Webb, Aaron Plessinger, and Dylan Ferrandis have won this title on YZ250Fs during this era. Only Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, 2017) and Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, 2019) have beaten the Star corps.
6. Youth Gone Wild: Jett Lawrence just turned 18. If he win this title, how would his age compared to other young champs, historically? James Stewart won the 2002 125 National Championship at age 16—he didn’t turn 17 until December, a few months after the season. Travis Pastrana was also 16 when he won the 2000 125 National Championship, (he turned 17 in October, a month after the season). Ricky Carmichael was 17 during his 1997 championship season, and Broc Glover turned 17 during his 1977 125 National Championship campaign. Jett would be the fifth-youngest champion of this class, slightly younger than Ryan Villopoto in his 2006 campaign.
There’s one thing Jett can say, though: If he wins, he’d be the youngest 250F-mounted champion ever.
7. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie: If Jett wins the 250 National Championship, he’ll be the first Australian to win that title.
8. Frenchman: If Ferrandis wins the 450 National Championship, he’ll be the first Frenchman to win that title since the OG game changer, Jean-Michel Bayle in 1991. Ferrandis is already the first and only Frenchman to win the 125/250F National Championship.
9. Roczen’s Third: If Ken Roczen pulls off this title, it would be his third 450 National Motocross Championship, but it would mark the longest gap between titles in this class. Four seasons have passed since his 2016 title with RCH Suzuki. The longest title gap currently is just two years, with Jeff Ward winning the 1985 and 1988 titles, and Ryan Dungey winning in 2012 and 2015.
10. Double Champ: Rookies like Ferrandis have won the 450 National Championship before, but it's rare. Ken Roczen did it in 2014, but he had not won the 250 National Championship the year before. The last rider to win the 250 title and then the 450 title back to back was Ryan Dungey in 2009 and 2010.