Ken Roczen's dominant season continued in Thunder Valley, where Round 3 of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was held. For the second time this season, Roczen swept both motos to capture the overall victory.
The RCH Suzuki rider has now won five of the first six motos to start the season, and likely would have won all six had he not had bike issues last week at Glen Helen.
Saturday's win also extended Roczen's points lead over Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey.
The first moto was a wire-to-wire victory for Roczen. The German rider captured the holeshot and immediately checked out, leading every lap en route to victory.
Ken Roczen rocked the Rockies for both motos at Thunder Valley. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
After starting the race in second, it looked like Jason Anderson would have a good opportunity to test himself against the likes of Ryan Dungey, but something went wrong. Anderson started fading a few minutes into the race and gave up the position to Dungey. Anderson lost a few more spots later on, then really slowed down and eventually pulled off the track altogether. It was revealed afterward that he was suffering from altitude sickness. Anderson immediately flew home to recover and did not line up for Moto 2.
With Roczen and Dungey comfortably in the top two spots, Josh Grant inherited third place and was nearly the biggest surprise of the moto. With about nine minutes left on the countdown clock, Trey Canard had closed in on Grant and challenged him for the lead. After a good battle between the two, Canard emerged with the podium spot. Grant held on for fourth.
The story of Eli Tomac's season has been poor starts, and this moto was no different. Tomac, whose season ended at this track one year ago, was in 17th after Lap 1 and had to charge through the field. He worked his way up to fifth at the end of the moto but lost more ground in the points race.
Roczen was forced to work for his victory a bit more in Moto 2 after starting outside the top five.
Canard scored the holeshot this time, with Honda HRC teammate Cole Seely close behind. With Dungey overtaking Seely for second on the opening lap, the opportunity was there for Dungey to grab the lead and pull away before Roczen could make his way to the front. But Dungey shockingly crashed on Lap 1 and was back around 20th by the time he got going again. Two laps later, Dungey had moved into the top ten, but his shot at victory was over.
Up front, Seely had taken the lead away from Canard, but while the two teammates banged bars, Roczen was hot on their heels. On Lap 4, in the span of about 30 seconds, Roczen passed Canard and then Seely. There was no stopping him after that – Roczen won the moto by more than 10 seconds.
Cole Seely holding down a temporary lead in moto 2 at Thunder Valley. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
Tomac ended up finishing second in Moto 2, but once again he was hurt by an awful start. After the first lap, he was back in 13th. By Lap 9, he had charged all the way up to second, and although he had no chance of catching Roczen, he seemed determined to redeem himself from last year's crash.
Seely set a career high with a third-place result in Moto 2, as he continues to show that he can be more than just a "supercross specialist." Dungey bounced back from his early wreck to take fourth, and his teammate Marvin Musquin was another hard charger in this one. Musquin was forced to come from the back of the back (around 35th) all the way up to fifth.
Roczen's 1-1 sweep gave him his second overall victory of the season. Dungey (2-4) finished second overall, and Tomac (5-2) landed third overall for the third week in a row.
In his 450 Class debut with Yoshimura Suzuki, Matt Bisceglia posted a pair of 10th-place moto finishes to impressively earn eighth overall.
Roczen will run the red plate for a third race in a row two weeks from now at High Point. He currently holds a 12-point lead over Dungey, while Tomac (29 points back) continues to watch his title hopes slowly fade.
Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take place Saturday, July 18 at High Point Raceway.
450 CLASS OVERALL RESULTS
1. Ken Roczen (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey (2-4)
3. Eli Tomac (5-2)
4. Cole Seely (6-3)
5. Trey Canard (3-6)
6. Josh Grant (4-7)
7. Justin Barcia (11-8)
8. Matt Bisceglia (10-10)
9. Christophe Pourcel (8-12)
10. Justin Bogle (7-13)
11. Broc Tickle (14-9)
12. Fredrik Noren (12-11)
13. Justin Brayton (9-14)
14. Marvin Musquin (37-5)
15. Benny Bloss (13-15)
16. Ben LaMay (15-16)
17. Andrew Short (17-18)
18. Dillan Epstein (19-17)
19. Noah McConahy (16-20)
20. Toshiki Tomita (20-19)
450 CLASS POINT STANDINGS
1. Ken Roczen, 143
2. Ryan Dungey, 131
3. Eli Tomac, 114
4. Trey Canard, 97
5. Cole Seely, 89
6. Josh Grant, 88
7. Jason Anderson, 73
8. Marvin Musquin, 64
9. Justin Barcia, 62
10. Broc Tickle, 50
450 MOTO 1: RACE RECAP
450 MOTO 1: ROCZEN GRABS HOLESHOT
450 MOTO 1: DUNGEY BATTLES ANDERSON FOR 2ND
450 MOTO 1: SEELY, TOMAC PASS BOGLE
450 MOTO 2: RACE RECAP
450 MOTO 2: DUNGEY GOES DOWN
450 MOTO 2: ROCZEN PASSES CANARD AND SEELY FOR LEAD