It was Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen who conquered the conditions to prevail with his second 450 class win of the season, the German rider retaking the championship lead from Cororado native Eli Tomac.
In the 250 class, point leader Adam Cianciarulo kept his hot start to the summer going. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider relied on yet another second-moto victory to carry him to the overall win, making it three in a row to start the season.
New Zealand’s Cody Cooper (Crown Kiwi Honda CRF450) was credited with 30th and 29th in the two 450cc races, good enough for 32nd overall for the day.
Cooper has slipped one spot to 23rd overall for the series after three rounds.
Australian Dean Ferris finished 6-9 at Denver and is still eighth overall for the series after three rounds, just eight points behind Justin Barcia, and fellow Aussie Todd Waters twice finished 14th at Denver is still ranked 14th overall for the championship.
The opening 450 class moto followed a brief thunderstorm at the track and it presented riders with a much different racing surface than what they’d previously been competing on. When the gate dropped, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rookie Zach Osborne grabbed his first holeshot over Roczen and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb.
As Osborne looked to assert himself in the lead for the first time in his 450 class career he came under fire from Roczen, who let it fly on the track’s biggest and longest downhill descent to surge into the top spot.
With the clear track, Roczen upped his pace and was able to establish a multi-second gap over field at the completion of the opening lap. Behind this battle, entering point leader and reigning back-to-back champion Tomac was forced to fight his way from outside the top 10 aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Tomac was in the mix in the top five off the start, but a crash by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musuqin briefly held Tomac up and forced him to lose valuable track position.
Roczen was able to continue to add to his advantage, which left Osborne and Webb to settle into second and third, respectively. Without much action up front, the focus turned to Tomac and his quest to climb up the running order. He successfully broke into the top 10, but then encountered an issue with his goggles, which slowed his pace and saw him lose a position.
Tomac elected to make quick pit stop in the mechanics area to get new goggles and returned to the track in the thick off the battle for 10th place.
He cleared away from Frenchman Musquin and JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Hill and made a push to gain more positions in the waning moments of the moto.
Roczen rode to a dominant and uneventful moto victory, his second of the season, winning by 35.4 seconds over Osborne. Webb rode to his best moto result of the season in third, with Anderson fourth and Tomac able to salvage a hard-fought fifth.
The deciding 450 class moto saw Webb edge out Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS’ Blake Baggett for the holeshot and surge out to the early lead.
Roczen, who started third, was able to get around Baggett and quickly attacked Webb for the lead. Webb withstood the initial pass attempt and carried on to lead the opening lap. Behind them Musquin engaged in a fierce battle with Baggett for third, with the two riders swapping the position. The Frenchman gained the upper hand as they started the next lap, while their battle allowed Tomac to close in from fifth.
Roczen stalked Webb throughout the next lap and eventually made the pass happen. Just like in the first moto, Roczen took full advantage of the clear track to establish a multi-second lead.
Tomac began a determined charge from fifth that carried him around Baggett, then around Musquin into third. He was able to close in on Webb for second and made the pass for the position in the exact same spot where Roczen took the lead.
Once Tomac found his way into the runner-up spot, he and Roczen were separated by about four seconds. Webb continued to lose ground and gave up third to his team-mate Musquin, and later dropped another spot to a hard-charging Osborne.
Tomac continued to chip away at the gap to Roczen, and a battle for the lead began with about 10 minutes left in the moto. Tomac easily got within a bike length of Roczen, but found it difficult to make the pass. Tomac was able to show a wheel to Roczen in a few turns, but the German was able to fend him off on numerous occasions. With the home crowd passionately cheering him on, Tomac finally found his way into the lead and quickly distanced himself from Roczen.
Tomac carried on to his fourth moto win of the season, 9.1 seconds ahead of Roczen. Musquin followed in a distant third.
Roczen’s 1-2 effort easily gave him his second overall victory and the 16th win of his career, which puts him into a tie for eighth on the all-time list. Tomac’s second-moto win vaulted him into the runner-up spot (5-1), while Osborne earned his first 450 class podium result in third (2-4).
“I tried all the way through [to the second moto finish]. [Tomac] was just quicker in the end there. The good thing was I didn’t let him get away,” said Rozen. “I almost got together with a lapper there coming to the white flag. He crashed right in front of me. It definitely got rougher in the second moto, for sure, but we did exactly what we needed to do to get the overall [win].”
With the win, Roczen also reclaimed control of the points lead for the second time this season. He holds a two-point lead over Tomac, while Osborne moved into third, 26 points out of the lead.
The 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will observe its first off weekend of the summer before returning to action on Saturday, June 15, with the Circle K High Point National on Father’s Day weekend in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy Simon Cudby
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Thunder Valley – 450 Class
- Ken Roczen Mattstedt, Germany 1 – 2 Honda CRF450
- Eli Tomac Cortez, CO 5 – 1 Kawasaki KX
- Zach Osborne Abingdon, VA 2 – 4 Husqvarna FC 450
- Jason Anderson Edgewood, NM 4 – 5 Husqvarna FC 450
- Marvin Musquin La Reole, France 8 – 3 KTM 450 SX-F FE
- Cooper Webb Newport, NC 3 – 8 KTM 450 SX-F FE
- Blake Baggett Grand Terrace, CA 7 – 7 KTM 450 SX-F FE
- Dean Ferris Australia 6 – 9 Yamaha YZ450F
- Justin Barcia Monroe, NY 11 – 6 Yamaha YZ450F
- Justin Bogle Cushing, OK 10 – 10 KTM 450 SX-F FE
450 Class Standings – 2019
- Ken Roczen Mattstedt, Germany 136
- Eli Tomac Cortez, CO 134
- Zach Osborne Abingdon, VA 110
- Marvin Musquin La Reole, France 107
- Jason Anderson Edgewood, NM 106
- Cooper Webb Newport, NC 98
- Justin Barcia Monroe, NY 77
- Dean Ferris Australia 69
- Justin Bogle Cushing, OK 63
- Blake Baggett Grand Terrace, CA 61
Thunder Valley – 250 Class
- Adam Cianciarulo Port Orange, FL 2 – 1 Kawasaki KX250F
- Justin Cooper Cold Spring Harbor, NY 1 – 2 Yamaha YZ250F
- Michael Mosiman Sebastopol, CA 4 – 3 Husqvarna FC 250
- Dylan Ferrandis Avignon, France 3 – 5 Yamaha YZ250F
- Chase Sexton La Moille, IL 7 – 6 Honda CRF250
- Colt Nichols Muskogee, OK 13 – 4 Yamaha YZ250F
- R.J. Hampshire Hudson, FL 5 – 11 Honda CRF250
- Hunter Lawrence Queensland, Australia 10 – 7 Honda CRF250
- Shane McElrath Canton, NC 8 – 10 KTM 250 SX-F FE
- Jordon Smith Belmont, NC 11 – 8 KTM 250 SX-F FE
250 Class Standings – 2019
- Adam Cianciarulo Port Orange, FL 139
- Justin Cooper Cold Spring Harbor, NY 133
- Dylan Ferrandis Avignon, France 106
- Chase Sexton La Moille, IL 94
- Colt Nichols Muskogee, OK 94
- Michael Mosiman Sebastopol, CA 85
- Hampshire Hudson, FL 77
- Alex Martin Millville, MN 69
- Hunter Lawrence Landsborough, Queensland, Australia 66
- Garrett Marchbanks Coalville, UT 63