Unadilla 450MX: Marvin Musquin earns third win of the season on a muddy day

August 11, 2018

Round 10 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is underway at Unadilla. Check back here throughout the day for recaps and highlights from the 450 Class.

QUALIFYING

Weather looks likely to play a factor today, as scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast. With rain starting to fall a bit in the morning's second and final practice session, the track slowed down significantly and riders were unable to match the faster lap times turned during the first session.

That led to New York native Justin Barcia being the fastest qualifier for the first time this season. His lap time from the first session (2:09.123) edged out teammate Cooper Webb (2:10.868) for the top time.

Although the second session had slower lap times, it featured conditions that will likely be closer to what the riders are dealing with when the racing starts. Marvin Musquin, Eli Tomac, Barcia, Blake Baggett and Webb were the five fastest in that rainy session.

Making his debut today is Kailub Russell, the five-time GNCC champion who will be filling in with Red Bull KTM over the final three rounds. He qualified in 12th, but with rain in the forecast, his cross-country skills could prove advantageous today.

Missing from the starting gate today is Josh Grant. One week after making his return from injury, he's out for Unadilla.

450 Combined Qualifying Times
1. Justin Barcia, 2:09.123
2. Cooper Webb, 2:10.868
3. Eli Tomac, 2:11.165
4. Ken Roczen, 2:11.462
5. Marvin Musquin, 2:11.645
6. Phil Nicoletti, 2:12.994
7. Blake Baggett, 2:13.192
8. Justin Hill, 2:13.234
9. Weston Peick, 2:13.404
10. Benny Bloss, 2:13.667
11. Ben LaMay, 2:14.254
12. Kailub Russell, 2:14.843
13. Cody Cooper, 2:15.081
14. Jacob Runkles, 2:15.461
15. Kyle Cunningham, 2:15.526
16. Chris Canning, 2:15.668
17. Dare DeMartile, 2:16.152
18. TJ Albright, 2:16.214
19. Nick Gaines, 2:16.698
20. Dylan Merriam, 2:16.830
Full Results

MOTO 1

By the time the first moto started, the track was a muddy mess, so you just knew things would get a little crazy. It started with privateer Dylan Merriam grabbing the holeshot and then actually holding off Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett for a bit before giving up the lead.

After two laps, it was Musquin, Phil Nicoletti and Baggett running in the top three with Tomac behind them in fourth. Tomac had overcome a poor start by making a number of passes. Soon though, he was hindered by a malfunction with the roll-offs on his goggles. With about 20 minutes still left in the moto, the points leader was forced to pull into the pits and get a new set of goggles. During that time he lost a position to Benny Bloss but was able to get it back quickly. Tomac then moved up to third place after Baggett was forced to make a pit stop of his own for new goggles.

Tomac's unlikely charge continued in the second half of the race. After passing Nicoletti for second, Tomac started closing in on Musquin while Musquin began having goggle problems of his own. As Musquin slowed down to make a pit stop, Tomac passed him to move into the lead. Musquin re-entered the track in second place but was about 10 seconds behind Tomac at that point.

Meanwhile the cross-country experience of Kailub Russell was paying off. The five-time GNCC champ making his Red Bull KTM debut weathered the storm and continued picking up spots. He eventually moved past Nicoletti and Benny Bloss into third place before subsequently giving those spots back to the aforementioned riders.

Tomac went on to win the race in dominating fashion. Not only did he finish 25 seconds ahead of Musquin (and more than a minute up on everyone else), he also lapped the field all the way up through eighth place.

Behind Tomac and Musquin, it was Nicoletti, Bloss and Baggett rounding out the top five. Russell ended up in sixth.

With Tomac and Musquin fighting for the 450 Class championship, a subplot has emerged with Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia in a battle for third place. (The two riders entered the day tied in points.) Roczen had multiple falls during this race, plus a pit stop of his own, and finished seventh. But he still finished ahead of Barcia, who ended up eighth after a first-turn crash on the opening lap.

Cooper Webb was running inside the top 10 for most of the race, but he went down with two laps to go and took a rock to the eye. He finished 16th as a result.

After his strong start, Merriam ended the race in 15th.

450 Moto 1 Results
1. Eli Tomac
2. Marvin Musquin
3. Phil Nicoletti
4. Benny Bloss
5. Blake Baggett
6. Kailub Russell
7. Ken Roczen
8. Justin Barcia
9. Weston Peick
10. Toshiki Tomita
11. Jeremy Hand
12. Cody Cooper
13. Henry Miller
14. Nick Gaines
15. Dylan Merriam
16. Cooper Webb
17. Tyler Stepek
18. Chris Channing
19. Nick Fratz-Orr
20. Ben LaMay
...
28. Kyle Cunningham
39. Justin Hill (DNF)
Full Results

MOTO 1 EXTENDED RECAP

MOTO 1 HIGHLIGHT: DYLAN MERRIAM HOLESHOT

MOTO 1 HIGHLIGHT: TOMAC'S PIT STOP

MOTO 1 HIGHLIGHT: TOMAC MOVES INTO LEAD

MOTO 2

With the rain stopped, the riders were presented with different track conditions than they dealt with in Moto 1. When the gate dropped, Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac were side-by-side through the first turn. Musquin emerged with the holeshot but it was Nicoletti was came through and snatched the lead away. Justin Barcia and Kailub Russell were close behind them until Barcia made a mistake that ended up taking both riders down. Also crashing on the opening lap was Benny Bloss, who had finished fourth in the earlier moto.

Nicoletti led the first two laps of the race and actually had a decent lead, but an error allowed Musquin to find a inside line that took him past Nicoletti and into the lead. Tomac soon passed Nicoletti for second place, setting up the latest installment of Tomac vs. Musquin. This time, though, it was Musquin dropping the hammer. By the start of Lap 8 (about 10 minutes to go in the moto), Musquin's lead was up to 18 seconds.

Meanwhile a good battle developed for third place. Nicoletti, who had been holding down the position for a while, lost spots to Yamaha teammates Cooper Webb and Justin Barcia, two riders who both had their struggles in Moto 1. Then things got a bit heated as Barcia tried to push Webb for third place. As Barcia moved around Webb in a turn, Webb attempted to block his line. Both riders stayed upright despite a bit of contact, but Barcia gestured to Webb shortly after and didn't seem too thrilled. Webb nearly passed Barcia back, but Barcia was able to hold him off and open up a gap. With two laps to go, Barcia went down again but quickly remounted before Webb could catch back up to him.

Musquin, Tomac, Barcia, Nicoletti and Webb ended Moto 2 as the top five riders. The win allowed Musquin (2-1) to edge out Tomac (1-2) for the overall victory thanks to the tiebreaker (better Moto 2 result). It's Musquin's fifth moto win and third overall win of the season.

Despite his victory, the point standings remain unchanged because Musquin and Tomac's results cancelled each other out. It will still be a 15-point lead for Tomac with just two rounds left to go.

Nicoletti (3-5) earned third overall. It's the first overall podium finish of his career and it comes in his home state of New York.

Webb's fourth-place moto finish was his best result of the season since returning from injury at Round 6.

As for Russell, the five-time GNCC champ who finished sixth in Moto 1, he was unable to finish the Moto 2 after crashing again — this time by himself — midway through the race.

Japanese rider Toshiki Tomita (10-9) earned the first top-10 overall finish of his career thanks to a pair of strong motos.

450 Moto 2 Results
1. Marvin Musquin
2. Eli Tomac
3. Justin Barcia
4. Cooper Webb
5. Phil Nicoletti
6. Blake Baggett
7. Ken Roczen
8. Weston Peick
9. Toshiki Tomita
10. Benny Bloss
11. Kyle Cunningham
12. Ben LaMay
13. Jeremy Hand
14. Cody Cooper
15. Chris Canning
16. Gared Steinke
17. Jacob Runkles
18. Ryan Surratt
19. Zack Williams
20. Brandon Scharer
...
24. Henry Miller
30. Kailub Russell (DNF)
34. Dylan Merriam (DNF)
DNS. Justin Hill
Full Results

MOTO 2 EXTENDED RECAP

MOTO 2 HIGHLIGHT: MUSQUIN TAKES LEAD FROM NICOLETTI

MOTO 2 HIGHLIGHT: BARCIA, WEBB BATTLE FOR 3RD

450 OVERALL RESULTS

1. Marvin Musquin (2-1)
2. Eli Tomac (1-2)
3. Phil Nicoletti (3-5)
4. Justin Barcia (8-3)
5. Blake Baggett (5-6)
6. Benny Bloss (4-10)
7. Ken Roczen (7-7)
8. Weston Peick (9-8)
9. Cooper Webb (16-4)
10. Toshiki Tomita (10-9)
11. Jeremy Hand (11-13)
12. Cody Cooper (12-14)
13. Kailub Russell (6-30)
14. Kyle Cunningham (28-11)
15. Ben LaMay (20-12)
16. Chris Canning (18-15)
17. Henry Miller (13-24)
18. Nick Gaines (14-36)
19. Dylan Merriam (15-34)
20. Gared Steinke (33-16)

450 POINT STANDINGS

1. Eli Tomac, 448
2. Marvin Musquin, 433
3. Justin Barcia, 363
4. Ken Roczen, 358
5. Blake Baggett, 332
6. Weston Peick, 272
7. Benny Bloss, 253
8. Phil Nicoletti, 253
9. Kyle Cunningham, 140
10. Cody Cooper, 137