2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Round Four – Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis
Report by Trevor Hedge – Images by Jeff Kardas
Monster Energy Supercross made the 1000-mile trek north-east from Texas up to Indiana’s Lucas Oil Stadium for the fourth round of the 17-round series on the weekend. Ken Roczen had been pipped at the post for the win at the previous round in Houston by Cooper Webb, and only a single point separated those two at the top of the championship standings as they left Houston. Roczen arrived at Indianapolis with 60-points, while Webb and Barcia were tied on 59-points, defending champ Eli Tomac was fourth on 54-points, followed by Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Brayton and Malcolm Stewart, that triumvirate all on 51-points before racing got underway at Indy.
Tomac proved fastest in Qualifying but came third in his Heat race behind Ken Roczen and Zach Osborne. Adam Cianciarulo had earlier won Heat One from Marvis Musquin and Cooper Webb.
Come the Main, Eli Tomac scored a rare holeshot ahead of team-mate Adam Cianciarulo and KTM’s Joey Savatgy. Justin Barcia and Malcolm Stewart got caught up early and both hit the deck and were shuffled right to the back of the 22-rider field at the end of lap one.
Ken Roczen quickly got up to speed and was chasing training partner Cianciarulo for third place. That was until Tomac made a mistake coming out of the whoops and that battle for second then became a battle for the lead as the defending champ was relegated to third.
That trio continued to run almost nose-to-tail, lap after lap until Roczen made his move with ten-minutes remaining. The pass had pushed Cianciarulo wide and ruined his entry into a double that allowed Tomac to push him further back to third. A lap later, while trying to mount a challenge on Tomac for that second place, Cianciarulo tucked the front and went down, losing ten-seconds in the process but remained in third place ahead of Dylan Ferrandis and Joey Savatgy.
Cooper Webb was in sixth place at the half-way mark but was showing good speed. Webb steadily picked off Savatgy, Ferrandis and then stole the final step on the rostrum from Adam Cianciarulo late in the race.
Zach Osborne had got hung up on the start gates but then had a great run through the field to claim fifth place at the flag from Dylan Ferrandis.
At the front Roczen had mustered enough speed to stretch away from Tomac through the second-third of the race, but then a few minutes from the end Roczen made a mistake that saw him run off the track and allowed Tomac to sweep back through to the lead. That didn’t last long as Roczen got his head down again to pass and then sprint away from Tomac yet again to take victory. That duo crossing the line almost 20-seconds ahead of third-placed Webb.
That victory extended Roczen’s championship lead over Webb to six-points. Tomac’s third place promoted him into third place after Justin Barcia had a shocker that relegated him to fifth place behind Adam Cianciarulo.
450 Main Video Highlights
Ken Roczen – P1
“What do I say – I’m speechless! We won the heat race which was great, but then the main event was chaotic. The track really deteriorated and there were more ruts than you can count. We all made some mistakes out there. I capitalized on Eli [Tomac] going down and had to make my way around Adam [Cianciarulo], who was riding really well, which definitely didn’t make it easy. Later I ended up cross-rutting off of the second double so I was deciding in the air whether I could brake and still tuck to the inside to stay in the track, but I would’ve gone into the Tuff Blocks. I had to make my way all the way around the berm; I couldn’t get an advantage so I had to let Eli by, but in that same lap he left the door open and I took the opportunity to pass him. From there on he was pushing hard, but I kept him behind me and we made it happen. It was one of my best races that I’ve had in a long time, and I’m really happy that I could fight back and not just give it to them. This was our first win of the season, after a lot of unfortunate events that went on in the last few races. Tonight was our night and we won, so I’m beyond stoked!”
Eli Tomac – P2
“That was an eventful day of racing. We kicked off the day in pole position in qualifying and had a decent heat race working my way forward. In the main event, my KX450 rocketed me out the gate and I was able to get the holeshot which felt amazing. I began clicking off my laps, but I had a slight bobble at the end of the whoops and tucked the front end. I’m bummed that we fell short of the end goal, but really happy with my riding. I can’t thank my Monster Energy Kawasaki team enough for all their support. Let’s go get it done on Tuesday.”
Cooper Webb – P3
“I actually nailed my start in the Main Event but I got shuffled back in the first few turns. The leaders just got out front and they rode awesome. I kind of got buried in fifth and it was hard to make passes tonight, you had to be patient and wait for some mistakes. I dug deep, AC [Adam Cianciarulo] and I had a good battle at the end and I was able to get third place but you can’t give Ken [Roczen] and Eli [Tomac] that kind of track position and we saw what they did tonight.”
Adam Cianciarulo – P4
“I wasn’t 100 percent content on my riding performance today. I felt like I struggled to find a flow, but there are still some positives to take away from the day. We led some laps, we battled with the boys, Eli (Tomac) and Ken (Roczen), and took another step towards our goal of getting on the top step of the podium. I am already looking forward to Tuesday.”
Zach Osborne – P5
“I had a pretty decent night. I got a second place in my heat race and qualified third from the day, so that was solid. In the Main Event, I went a little too early and hit the gate. I pulled it back and set my sights on getting far as I could, and I was able to make it all the way up to fifth. It was a solid night and solid result considering all of the challenges.”
Dylan Ferrandis – P6
“I had a good Heat race. I fought with (Eli) Tomac and finished fourth. In the Main Event, I had a good start and battled up front. It was good to be back in front because my last race in Houston wasn’t that good. I gave everything I had. I was in fourth fighting with Adam (Cianciarulo) for the podium and on the big double with the ruts, I got unbalanced a little bit and jumped on the side of the track. I had to go all around the corner outside of the track, so I lost a lot of time and some positions. I came back and finished sixth. It’s not great to be sixth but it was good to have a good pace, ride up front and fight for a podium. We’re going to learn from that and try to improve for our next race Tuesday.”
Jason Anderson – P7
“It was better than last weekend, I am trying to get better as the weekends go on. I got my first W of the season in the LCQ and just going to try to build off that and keep moving forward.”
Aaron Plessinger – P9
“It was a pretty good day overall. I started off free practice going really good and then come first qualifying practice, I tried to change the bike, which wasn’t really the right move. I just didn’t ride as well as I did in the free practice; the same with the second qualifying practice. In the Heat race, I got a bad start and then made a bunch of mistakes. I was coming through the pack and was one of the fastest guys, but you can’t do much with mistakes at the start. I need to minimise that. In the Main Event, I got a good jump and then got ran into which pulled me back a little bit. Then Malcolm crashed in front of us and made me and Marvin (Musquin) go off the track. I ran alongside the hay bales for a little bit and then jumped back on. I came back to ninth, which is not bad considering the start but it’s not where I want to be. It doesn’t showcase how good the bike is working this year and how good I’m feeling this year. I’d like to come back and get a better start and try to put this thing up on the podium. The track was really, really rutted and really rough. I’m looking forward to that again on Tuesday.”
Marvin Musquin – P10
“I felt really good with the bike all day and qualifying second was awesome. I was confident going into the Main Event and then waiting for the gate to drop, I think Adam [Cianciarulo] flinched, so I moved and the gate felt like it didn’t drop as quick as usual, which messed me up and my start was really bad. I tried to push as hard as I could on the first lap but it went from bad to worse – I had to jump off to the side of the track when a rider cross-jumped in front of me and I crashed again and lost more time. I put my head down and passed one guy at a time and I saw another opportunity to pass later in the race but I washed the front-end and went down again. I am super disappointed, I felt like I could have fought and come back, even with a bad start, to a top-five or on the podium but we’ll regroup. We have two days of rest and I just want to get back out there and do my best again.”
Malcolm Stewart – P11
“It was tough, honestly. I felt like riders were going down left and right. It was one of those tracks where I think if you just stayed up, honestly, I felt like your results came. It was a very tough track to push. It got to a point I think in the race we were riding against the track instead of each other. But Indy always throws curveballs at us. I feel like the next round won’t be as soft. For us, we just need to go out there and regroup and put ourselves back in a good fighting position. Definitely, 11th is not the way I wanted it, but on a bad night to come back from last to 11th on a tough track, I can vouch for it and take it as a positive.”
Justin Brayton – P12
“Tonight, was a tough one, I felt we had good pace and we were comfortably battling with the second group. The track was super technical and unfortunately, I came together with another rider in the main and crashed. The positives are; we are competitive and its only round four. We will regroup and focus on Round five in a few days.”
Justin Barcia – P13
“I would say tonight was my most difficult night so far. My speed was good and my riding was okay but it just wasn’t what I needed tonight to be up front. We’ll regroup here in Indy and get back at it on Tuesday. I just need to put it all together.”
Colt Nichols and Christian Craig were tied on points as the series hit Indiana for the first of three Indianapolis rounds. Aussie teenager Jett Lawrence was six-points behind that leading duo, with an eight-point buffer over Jo Shimoda.
It was a clear Yamaha 1-2 in the opening 250 Heat with Christian Craig taking victory ahead of team-mate Colt Nichols.
Jett Lawrence had been quickest in qualifying and was looking great in the Heat race after scoring the holeshot ahead of Michael Mosiman. That pair had come together in the previous round with Jett the aggressor, this time around Mosiman returned fire and took the Honda youngster down early in the Heat.
That incident saw Jett relegated back down the order all the way to 12th. He then worked his way steadily back up the order and was up to third place only a few minutes later, the fastest rider on the track. With just over a minute remaining Jett was up to second place, but Mosiman was the clear victor.
In the winners circle after that Heat race Mosiman made no secret of the fact that his move on Lawrence was pay-back, “He got me pretty good last week, spared no expense in making sure I was on the ground, rubbing is racing, I need to let him know I am not going to get rolled over.” Then it got a bit, well, biblical… “I’m a Jesus follower, and a lot of people think Jesus is weak, but he’s not weak, he is a savage, he’s not a push over and neither am I.”
Colt Nichols scored the hole-shot followed by his Yamaha team-mate Christian Craig. Mosiman was in third place ahead of Oldenburg while Jett Lawrence was outside the top ten after missing a shift and then got squeezed at turn one.
The youngster was up to seventh but then lost a number of positions yet again after almost running into the back of Thomas Do, which forced him to a stop on a steep up-ramp that then forced him to dismount in order to get going again. He was down in 12th before he was up and running again, leaving him with plenty of work to do.
Up front Colt Nichols had stretched away from Craig a little. Mosiman was in third ahead of Jo Shimoda and Mitch Oldenburg was fifth with ten-minutes remaining on the clock.
By the half-way point Jett Lawrence had worked his way back up to fifth place ahead of Oldenburg. Two-minutes later he was closing in on fourth placed Shimoda, and that duo then started to close on third-placed Mosiman. With 90-seconds left on the shot clock Lawrence sneaked past Shimoda for fourth and was onto the tail of Mosiman. A lapped rider then gave Jett the opening he needed to take third place from Mosiman. That pair then started closing in on second placed Christian Craig.
When the last lap board came out Colt Nichols had a seven-second lead over Christian Craig, but Jett Lawrence was only a second behind Craig, while Mosiman was a further two-seconds back in fourth.
Late on that final lap Jett tried to go around the outside of Craig for second place and it looked as though we were heading for an almost fairy-tale ending after what had been a tumultuous round for the Aussie youngster, but yet another twist of fate would come before the flag… Christian Craig ran Jett right off the track as he sought to defend his second place and then dropped his Yamaha right in front of Jett outside the tough-blocks that lined the track. That meant that Jett had to come to a complete stop, then navigate his way around Craig before he could re-join the track. By that time both Michael Mosiman and Jo Shimoda had breezed past them to take the final two steps on the rostrum.
The frustration and disappointment was palpable for Jett as he rolled to a stop after the race and was consoled by team members. He had been the fastest rider on track for most laps and clearly had the speed to challenge for victory, if not for that false neutral out of the gates.
Jett was interviewed straight after the race and when the small crowd let out a big cheer as he was introduced it brought tears to his eyes, the first words out of his mouth was to thank them for making him feel a whole lot better due to their vocal show of support. Clearly plenty of Americans love this kid just as much as us parochial Aussies that cheer for him from back home.
Colt Nichols the clear victor, cruising home over the final laps yet still took the flag ten-seconds ahead of Mosiman and Shimoda. It was a dominant performance where the 26-year-old was not challenged at any point.
250 Main Video Highlights
Colt Nichols – P1
“It was just drama-free, which is just the way I like it. I finally got off the gate really well and controlled the inside on the first turn, which is something that was pretty key tonight. I really just tried to put in my laps, and once I got a big enough gap I could kind of see where Christian was, and also (Michael) Mosiman and Jett (Lawrence). I was keeping tabs on everybody just so I knew if I needed to pick it up or whatever I needed to do. It was really just about managing the lappers. We got into them pretty thick again tonight. Overall, I felt like I just rode really well and was able to do my own thing. I did not have to be in a battle like I was in the first three rounds. So that felt pretty nice.”
Michael Mosiman – P2
“It was a great night. I got off to a better start this time and I was right there with those guys. I haven’t been able to see those Star Racing guys a lot this year so it was really nice to catch a wheel and ride with them. We got into some really bad lapped traffic – guys who were all in a battle – so it was tricky out there and honestly I have some things I need to work on still but that pace isn’t crazy – it’s not out of my reach – and we’ll have a go at it again on Tuesday.”
Jo Shimoda – P3
“This wasn’t really how I wanted to earn my first podium, but I’m still thankful we made it here,” said Shimoda. “I eventually want to earn it on my own and prove to myself that I am capable of being up here with these guys. I have a lot of positives to take away from this and hope to be in the running for the podium on Tuesday.”
Jett Lawrence – P4
“I was feeling really good on the track, qualifying P1. In heat 2 I got a really good start with the holeshot but went down in one of the turns in the first lap, so I came out top-10 and made my way to second, which felt really good. In the main event I messed up my start and feel like I couldn’t have done any worse, to be honest. That didn’t give me a very good shot at winning, but I had a really good flow and made my way up to around sixth, but unfortunately I hit the rear end of another rider on the wall jump which made me stop. I had to roll back down to go back up, putting me back to 12th. I made my way through the pack to fifth and realized Jo [Shimoda] was right there and passed him. The next rhythm I got [Michael] Mosiman, and then Christian Craig was just up ahead, so I knew at that point I could actually get second. On the last lap I tried to make a pass before the whoops, and Christian and I ended up colliding and getting tangled up, which screwed us both. I still finished fourth for the night, which isn’t really what I wanted or needed. I’ve given Colt [Nichols] more cushion in points, but I’m hoping to close that gap on Tuesday and stay in this hunt for the title.”
Christian Craig – P5
“The day started off well in Indy and I was feeling good with the track. I won my heat race and went into the Main confident. I started second behind my teammate and was able to latch onto him for a bit, but once we got into lappers he got away. I made some crucial mistakes towards the end of the race and with two corners left I hooked bars with another rider and we both went down. I ended up fifth, unfortunately. I’m looking forward to Indy 2 on Tuesday for some redemption!”
Mitch Oldenburg – P6
“I didn’t achieve my goal of top 5, but I was closer. I am getting faster and we are learning a lot. I feel with some little improvements we can be racing closer to the front.”
While there are 17 rounds in this Monster Energy Supercross Championship, the 250 category is split into two separate championships, 250 East and 250 West. This was the fourth round of what will be a nine-round 250 East Championship and Colt Nichols now enjoys an eight-point lead over team-mate Christian Craig. Jett Lawrence remains in third place, 13-points off the leader, but with a six-point buffer over fourth placed Jo Shimoda.
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