Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia is a surprise winner at round six of the Luca Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia scored his first career Lucas Oil Pro Motocross win, and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin came out on top of a topsy-turvy 250cc battle for his third class win of the season at the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, Maryland, today.
The Budds Creek Raceway track was a challenge for all of the competitors as heavy rains created muddy, rutted conditions that put a premium on momemntum and line selection.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Christophe Pourcel was the fastest qualifier in the 450cc class, but current series point leader Ryan Dungey pulled the holeshot when the gate dropped for moto one, with Pourcel second and RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen in third.
The Red Bull KTM-backed Dungey wasted little time in establishing a sizeable lead, and he would not be challenged for the entire moto. Behind him, Roczen made a pass on Pourcel for second on the opening lap, leaving behind a three-way battled for third among Pourcel, Barcia and Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Baggett.
As Dungey opened a lead of over 20 seconds, Roczen started to lose his earlier pace and fell back into the clutches on Pourcel, Barcia and Baggett. Pourcel re-passed Roczen for second on Lap 12, igniting a snowball effect for Roczen as he soon lost a podium finish to Barcia and fourth place to Baggett in the span of about one lap. Dungey went on to the moto win by 10.2 seconds over Pourcel, while Barcia followed with an important third. Roczen finished fifth, behind Baggett.
Severe weather drenched the track just prior to moto two, with lighting halting the start of the race for two hours. When the race finally did get underway, Barcia grabbed the early lead, just ahead of Dungey. However, the race outlook changed when Dungey endo’d, stepped over the front and crashed in spectacular fashion off the first jump. Dungey quickly remounted his KTM, but he was in last place.
Barcia simply pulled away from the field and never looked back. Pourcel slotted into second after Dungey’s crash, with Baggett moving into third ahead of Roczen. Dungey reentered the race at the back of the field, but fought his way into 21st by the end of the opening lap. He continued to work forward from there. Barcia went wire-to-wire to win the moto by 17.9 seconds, securing the overall win.
The battle for second came down to Pourcel and Baggett, and both riders took a turn in that position after the the other man crashed. Baggett made a late charge to take over the spot with two laps remaining, and that was enough to land him a career-best second overall, with Pourcel third and third overall. Roczen steadily finished fourth while Dungey had to overcome another small crash late in the moto to secure 12th place.
Barcia’s 3-1 finishes netted his first 450cc AMA National Motocross win in his 24th career start, and he became the 64th different premier class winner in AMA history. It was just the second Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship victory for the Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross effort, with the team’s first coming during the 2009 season.
“I had so much fun out there,” Barcia said. “I kept it positive all day. We went through three engines today, and I’m so proud of how hard the entire teamed worked to make this happen. I got the start I needed, and I just rode the best I could without making any major mistakes. This has been a long time coming, and I’m just so happy to get my first win and put this JGR team on top of the box.”
Pourcel earned a career-best finish in second (2-3), while Baggett equaled his career-best result in third (4-2). Roczen (5-4) and Dungey (1-12) finished in a tie for fourth, with Roczen earning the position by virtue of his better second moto finish. It was the first time that Dungey has finished off the podium this season.
“I’m glad I’m okay [after the crash],” Dungey said. “I just hit a soft spot, and it ejected me when I landed. I’m okay, and that’s the main thing, to be safe and healthy. “I tried to regroup and come back, and do the best I could, but I tucked the front end right before the end and it cost me another spot. But we’ll come back stronger next weekend.”
Dungey’s recovery in the second moto meant he didn’t lose a single point to Roczen in the battle for the championship. The two riders remain separated by 37 points in the 450cc standings. Barcia’s win did help him in the points, vaulting him to third, 63 points behind Dungey.
The rainy conditions presented an added challenge for the 250cc class, who took to the track first, although the conditions improved before the first moto. Traders Racing Kawasaki’s Justin Starling emerged from the gate to snare his first ever Motosport.com Holeshot Award ahead of GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire and CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha’s Alex Martin. Red Bull KTM’s Musquin was hampered as he had to steer clear of multiple crashes off the start. Musquin ran eighth, while main title rival and defending Lucas Oil 250cc Pro Motocross Champion Jeremy Martin ran fifth on his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha.
Hampshire quickly passed Starling and moved into the lead on the opening lap. Alex Martin also passed Starling to take over second place and was able to take advantage when Hampshire crashed out of the lead. Alex Martin proceeded to open a huge lead while Starling and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne moved into second and third.
Then Jeremy Martin started his typical, methodical march toward the front. Martin broke into the top three by lap five, and he made a pass on Osborne for second late in the moto. The battle for the lead then intensified after Alex Martin elected to toss his goggles, which were fouled with mud. Jeremy caught brother Alex and then made a pass for the lead with two laps remaining. That seemed to be the capper, but the race took another dramatic swing when Jeremy’s engine stalled just two turns from the finish,, allowing Alex to reclaim the lead and take the first moto win of his career by 2.7 seconds after leading 13 of the 16 laps in the moto. Jeremy recovered to finish second. Osborne was third.
The rain began to fall again when the second 250cc moto left the gate. Cianciarulo took the early lead, followed by Musquin. With a clear track ahead of him, Cianciarulo quickly built a solid lead over Musquin as the two pulled clear of the field. Meanwhile, Jeremy Martin got a solid start in fourth.
Musquin was cutting quicker lap times then Cianciarulo, and he began to pressure Cianciarulo for the lead. When Cianciarulo crashed on lap four, Musquin assumed the lead. Cianciarulo recovered quickly, but was soon challenged by Jeremy Martin. Cianciarulo regained his composutre, however, and was able to retain the position.
Jeremy Martin’s chances for the overall win took a hit on lap 11 when he crashed out of third and dropped to sixth. Jeremy was able to fend off the late pressure from brother Alex to finish sixth, which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in the overall podium. Musquin took the win by 11.1 seconds over Cianciarulo, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy was third.
When the overall results were tallied, both Musquin (7-1) and Alex Martin (1-7) sat tied atop the standings with identical moto scores. However, by virtue of his second moto win Musquin earned the overall, preventing Martin from capturing the first triumph of his career.
“I didn’t get a good start in the first moto, but I tried to be patient and follow the guys ahead of me,” Musquin said. “Then I got together with Adam [Cianciarulo] and ended up seventh, so I was not happy. I got a better start in moto two behind Adam. He crashed again, and I got the lead. From there I wanted to make sure I just focused on my lines and stayed out of trouble. It’s not the way I want to win an overall, but I’ll take it.”
Even though he missed out the win, Alex Martin still enjoyed the best finish of his career with his first ever overall podium result. Savatgy ended up with his first overall podium finish of the season—third—via 4-3 moto scores.
“Two big milestones in one day for me. I’m ecstatic,” Alex Martin said. “Today was tough. It was one of those races that could probably decide the championship [because of the conditions]. I’m just stoked to get the first moto win and first overall podium of my career.”
Musquin maintained control of the championship lead and now holds a 10-point advantage over Jeremy Martin, who finished fourth overall (2-6). Cianciarulo, who finished sixth overall (8-2), now sits third, 80 points out of the lead.
The 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicks off the second half of the 2015 season next Saturday, July 4, with the Red Bull RedBud National from RedBud MX in Buchanan, Michigan.
2015Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National
Budds Creek MX Park
Results: June 27, 2015 (Round 6 of 12)
1. Justin Barcia-Yam/3-1
2. Christophe Pourcel-Hus/2-3
3. Blake Baggett-Suz/4-2
4. Ken Roczen-Suz/5-4
5. Ryan Dungey-KTM/1-12
6. Jason Anderson-Hus/7-7
7. Broc Tickle-Suz/6-9
8. Phil Nicoletti-Yam/11-5
9. Tommy Hahn-Honda/12-6
10. Wil Hahn-Kaw/8-14
Lucas Oil 450cc Pro Motocross Championship Series Points Standings (after 6 of 12 rounds)
1. Ryan Dungey-256/4 wins
2. Ken Roczen-219/1 win
3. Justin Barcia-193/1 win
4. Blake Baggett-185
5. Jason Anderson-178
6. Broc Tickle-158
7. Christophe Pourcel-157
8. Weston Peic-140
9. Phil Nicoletti-132
10. Eli Tomac-125
1. Marvin Musquin-KTM/7-1
2. Alex Martin-Yam/1-7
3. Joey Savatgy-Kaw/4-3
4. Jeremy Martin-Yam/2-6
5. Zach Osborne-Hus/3-5
6. Adam Cianciarulo-Kaw/8-2
7. Christian Craig-Hon/5-10
8. Cooper Webb-Yam/6-14
9. Matt Bisceglia-Hon/21-4
10. Jessy Nelson-KTM/12-12
Lucas Oil 250cc Pro Motocross Championship Series Points Standings (After 6 of 12 rounds)
1. Marvin Musquin-258/4 wins
2. Jeremy Martin-248/2 wins
3. Adam Cianciarulo-178
4. Joey Savatgy-173
5. Zach Osborne-165
6. Jessy Nelson-164
7. Alex Martin-154
8. Matt Bisceglia-124
9. Shane McElrath-121
10. Aaron Plessinger-118