The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its second and final stop in the state of California on Saturday for round two of the 12-race championship series. The 450 Class saw an all-new winner as rookie Ken Roczen captured his first career victory in the premier class, while Minnesota's Jeremy Martin extended his winning-streak to two-in-a-row at the 46th running of the GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic.
After last weekend's season opener at southern California's Glen Helen Raceway, Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey held the early points lead in the 450 Class, but his teammate Roczen trailed close behind with a pair of second place finishes in his 450 Class debut. The two were poised to do battle at Hangtown but Roczen heightened the pace to a level that the veteran Dungey just couldn't match on Saturday.
And it all began in the morning's timed qualifying sessions, where Roczen laid down the fastest lap in qualifying and had the luxury of first gate choice in Moto 1. Roczen would soon build off that momentum in Moto 1, but first it was the two-time 450 Class Champion Dungey that earned the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award before Roczen stole back the lead on the opening lap.
It was a big day for Ken Roczen and the KTM brand in the 450 Class. (Photo: George Crosland)
Roczen created a gap over Dungey that couldn't be matched in the first moto, en route to his first career Pro Motocross 450 Class moto win. Behind Dungey was Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard, who jumped in behind the KTM duo early on. Canard was followed by his teammate Justin Barcia in fourth, while Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart rounded out the top five in Moto 1.
Ryan Dungey captured the MotoSport.com Holeshot in Moto 1. (Photo: Chris Ortiz)
In Moto 2, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer claimed the MotoSport.com Holeshot, immediately followed by his teammate, Brett Metcalfe. Metcalfe wasted no time in getting himself out front, followed by Justin Barcia, Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey. Metcalfe and Barcia went back and forth for the lead early on but Roczen eventually staked his claim on the lead and never looked back.
Dungey followed suit, where he quickly settled into the second place position behind Roczen. Despite a valiant charge, the round one winner finished in the runner-up position, where he surrendered his early points lead after two rounds of racing.
"Today was pretty good, I got good starts which helped out. The first and second moto kind of played out the same, got into second and Kenny [Roczen] was riding really well today. I know I can improve in a few little areas, but overall it wasn't too bad. It's going to be a long year."
Ken Roczen will enter Thunder Valley with the points lead. (Photo: Matt Rice)
It was a big day for Roczen and the KTM brand, as the world champion from Germany earned his first career overall in the 450 Class, giving KTM its first 450 Class win at Hangtown throughout the event's 46-year history. As the 2013 250 Class winner as well, Roczen adds his name to a select list of riders to ever win the Hangtown Motocross Classic in both classes. Roczen will carry the red number plate background and the points lead into round three next Saturday.
"I really had a good time out there," Roczen said. "It was good racing, I don't think I have anything to complain about. I always have done well at Hangtown and I have good memories here. This weekend I was comfortable on the bike and once you have that little bit you need, it's going good."
450 Class Podium: (left) Trey Canard, Ken Roczen, (right) Ryan Dungey. (Photo: Matt Rice)
As the second moto wore on, the racing action became more intense as former 450 Class Champion James Stewart began pushing his way through the pack, eventually getting around Metcalfe and Barcia for third. And Canard soon followed, making up nine positions to overtake fourth place from Barcia by the end of the second moto. Canard ran down Stewart on the final lap and although he wasn't able to make the pass on Stewart in Moto 2, the Shawnee, Oklahoma native was able to secure third overall with 3-4 moto scores with an impressive charge in the second moto.
"I was trying to do the best that I could and I got more and more comfortable as the race went on," Canard said. "It feels good to ride a motorcycle that you're comfortable on and having fun. Every point is going to count come August so I'm going to make the best of every moment while I'm out there."
Trey Canard has finished on the overall podium two weeks in a row. (Photo: Matt Rice)
Stewart finished the day with 5-3 moto scores to capture fourth overall for the day, followed by Barcia in fifth with 4-5 scores. California native Weston Peick put in a season-best sixth place finish aboard his RCH Racing/Soaring Eagle Suzuki.
Factory Yamaha swept the 250 Class podium: Martin (19), Webb (37) and Pourcel. (Photo: Chris Ortiz)
It was once again a marquee day for Factory Yamaha racing in the 250 Class, as the brand swept all three positions on the overall podium. Coming off Yamaha's first 250 Class victory in exactly one decade at the opening round, Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha's Jeremy Martin once again led the way with his second straight victory - and 1-1 sweep - of 2014.
"This is what I've been focusing on," Martin said. "Great motos today, my teammate and I went 1-2, and the Yamahas were strong. It was pretty cool for Yamaha that we swept the podium. I don't think it's been done in a long time."
Christophe Pourcel captured his first podium of the season. (Photo: Matt Rice)
Martin was once again joined on the podium by his Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha teammate Cooper Webb, who seemingly picked up where he left off as a front-runner at the opening round.
In the first moto, Webb battled with GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle for the second place spot, a battle that sent the Newport, North Carolina rider to the ground once. Webb bounced back, though, eventually passing Bogle to capture second place in Moto 1. There was no catching Martin, though, as he gapped the rest of the field by nearly 20 seconds.
After placing fifth overall, Jessy Nelson now sits fourth in 250MX points. (Photo: Matt Rice)
GEICO Honda's Zach Bell captured the MotoSport.com Holeshot in the first moto, where he hung on for a top five finish behind Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Justin Hill, who took fourth in Moto 1.
While he's been extremely close in the first three races, Martin captured his first MotoSport.com Holeshot of the season in Moto 2, where he led every lap start to finish. The top two positions unfolded just as they did in the first moto, but the turn of events came in the third place position with Valli Motorsports/Yamaha's Christophe Pourcel. Pourcel, who hasn't raced a full season of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross since 2010, captured a season-best third place finish in Moto 2, which was good enough to earn the Frenchmen third overall for the day.
250 Class Podium: (left) Christophe Pourcel, Jeremy Martin, (right) Cooper Webb. (Photo: Matt Rice)
Justin Hill put forth a consistent effort to capture fourth overall with 4-6 moto scores, while California native Jessy Nelson rounded out the top five with moto finishes of 7-5 aboard his Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda machine.
Round 3 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Lakewood, Colorado for the Toyota Thunder Valley National on Saturday, June 7.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic
Prairie City SVRA - Sacramento, California
May 31, 2014
Round 2 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-2)
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, (3-4)
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki (5-3)
5. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda (4-5)
6. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki (8-6)
7. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki (7-8)
8. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki (6-9)
9. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki (10-7)
10. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki (11-12)
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM - 94
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM - 89
3. Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda - 72
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki - 66
5. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki - 61
6. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda - 52
7. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki - 52
8. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki - 52
9. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki - 51
10. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha - 43
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (1-1)
2. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha (2-2)
3. Christophe Pourcel, France, Yamaha (8-3)
4. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki (4-6)
5. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda (7-5)
6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., KTM (10-4)
7. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (9-7)
8. Zach Bell, Cairo, Ga., Honda (5-12)
9. Matt Bisceglia, Tualatin, Ore., Honda (13-8)
10. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (3-35)
250 Class Championship Standings
1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha - 100
2. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha - 88
3. Christophe Pourcel, France, Yamaha - 63
4. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda - 51
5. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM - 50
6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., KTM - 49
7. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda - 48
8. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrance, Calif., Kawasaki - 48
9. Matt Bisceglia, Tualatin, Ore., Honda - 45
10. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki - 43