2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Round Six – Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis
Report by Trevor Hedge – Images by Jeff Kardas
Muc-Off Honda’s Justin Brayton went down early on in the opening 450 Heat but there were no such problems for Ken Roczen who took the win ahead of Eli Tomac and Zach Osborne.
Justin Barcia won Heat Two from Cooper Webb and Jason Anderson. Marvin Musquin had led early on but a mistake in the whoops took the KTM man down, he salvaged sixth to book his spot in the Main.
Justin Brayton had to contest the LCQ after that fall in the opening heat but cruised through that to earn his transfer spot to the Main.
Justin Barcia, Adam Cianciarulo and Ken Rozen all got great drive out of the gates as the Main got underway but a clash between Barcia and Cianciarulo on the exit of the opening turn saw the Kawasaki man come off second best. Barcia emerged with the lead for all of about two metres until Roczen swept pass and immediately started to pull away.
Barcia then built up a head of steam though and closed back up on Roczen before pile-driving right into the side of him, he nearly took the Honda man down but somehow Roczen stayed upright and the aggressor came off second best. This wasn’t at the end of the race as some last gasp attempt at the win, but only three-minutes into it!
Cooper Webb moved past Cianciarulo for third place and Adam then started to come under attack from his Kawasaki team-mate and defending champion Eli Tomac. It took Tomac a couple of minutes to get by his younger team-mate and move up to fourth place behind Webb.
Marvin Musquin got stronger as the race progressed. With seven-minutes remaining he pushed Cianciarulo back to seventh place and then set his sights on Malcolm Stewart. It took him another four-minutes to chase down and pass Stewart to move up fifth.
With five-minutes left on the shot clock Roczen led Barcia by 1.5-seconds but the GasGas man was then passed by Webb. Tomac then made his move but his forward thrusts were successfully resisted by Barcia.
With just under a minute remaining Tomac and Barcia both went down while battling for the final step on the podium. Barcia got tripped up as he tried to lap Vince Friese but messed up the move and ended up on the deck. Tomac then came over a jump to find a stricken Barcia right in the middle of his line and crashed trying to avoid the fallen GasGas straddling the track. By the time they were up and running again Tomac had been shuffled back to sixth, while Barcia’s potential podium had gone and he was outside the top 15.
Cooper Webb chased Roczen hard all the way to the flag but the German had his measure and took his third victory in a row. This extends Roczen’s championship lead over Cooper Webb out to 16-points.
The demise of Barcia and Tomac promoted Marvin Musquin up onto the podium and Malcolm Stewart up to fourth ahead of Adam Cianciarulo and Jason Anderson while Tomac managed to salvage 16-points with seventh.
The Monster Energy Supercross circus now travels 1000 miles south from Indian all the way down to Orlando, Florida to reconvene next weekend for what will be round seven.
450 Video Highlights
Ken Roczen – P1
“Indianapolis 3 was a fantastic night. We started off in practice with a little bit of a struggle–just not really getting along with the track very well. I felt fine out there, but I simply wasn’t fast enough. We went into the night show though, and I knew that I was a better racer and that we were going to get a good result. After that we took the heat-race win and were able to get a good gate pick for the main event; sure enough, I got a really good start. Along the way, I came in contact with Justin Barcia, who hit me pretty hard and bent my shifter a bit; I wasn’t able to shift until like half a lap later. I held my lines and focused as much as I could and we did the three-peat, taking home another win on a track that wasn’t really my favorite. Those kinds of nights are when you get another step closer to a championship run, and it was really important for us to get more points and be gaining instead of losing. I’m so happy to finish all three Indianapolis main events in first, as I’ve never gone three in a row. This is huge for me and the team, and I’m looking to continue this streak when we come back next weekend in Orlando.”
Cooper Webb – P2
“It was a great day, a step in the right direction. I had good qualifying times and just came up short on the Main Event. It was a hard charge, so close but so far. Ken rode great and adjusted to the race as it went. I felt like I charged hard at the end and got close, but just not enough. I missed the rhythm with two to go and that kind of killed it for me but he rode a great race and beat me straight up, so we will go this week and try to get better. We made a huge step today with bike setup and comfort, so I feel like I am right there. It’s a long series so we will keep fighting every weekend and get back to that top spot soon.”
Marvin Musquin – P3
“My goal tonight was to stay on two wheels and be patient. The last two or three rounds it’s been super frustrating for me, I’ve been very aggressive trying to make it happen in the first lap and ended up going down, so tonight I wanted to be patient. I was the fifth best guy tonight but it’s racing and the two guys in front of me went down so I got third. It definitely feels good to be on the podium, I’ll take it.”
Malcolm Stewart – P4
“It was typical Indy, where you’re going into corners, and you think it’s there and it’s not. Overall I feel really good about how the night turned around for me. Indy has treated me well. I had a lot of great rides, and I rode well all day today. We just struggled a little bit in the first two (rounds). In the Main Event, I told myself, ‘Bro, you have got to get a top-five in this thing no matter what, because the boss man isn’t going to be happy. I might be finding myself doing it on my own if I don’t put the results in. We put a lot of work into this. It sucks if you don’t get the results you want, but that’s part of racing. You live, you learn, and you keep moving forward. I definitely learned a lot. We’re going to keep working and do our homework. The team has never given up. I feel like every race we’re learning. I’m very thankful that I’ve got a great team with me. So far, the changes that we’ve made have gone in the right direction. We’ll be going for it in Orlando, my hometown race back in Florida. Let’s just go have some fun.”
Adam Cianciarulo – P5
“My KX450 was hooking up great all day. I know my speed is there and the bike is working great, I just need to work a little harder on some different areas of my fitness and I know I can be up there with the top-3 riders. Tonight didn’t go as planned but we got another solid result and I’m happy about that. Time to reset and get ready for next weekend.”
Jason Anderson – P6
“My night went decent, I was just pumped to be able to do enough therapy on my finger to be able to race tonight,. I had a better heat, which made myself feel a little bit better and we did some suspension work. In the main, I didn’t get that great of a start but I was able to get better and move through the pack. I’m slowly getting better but not where we want to be, so we’ll get there.”
Eli Tomac – P7
“I’m definitely a bit disappointed with how tonight went. I was feeling great on my KX450 and got a great start in my heat race, which helped me stay close to the leader for the entire race. In the main, I didn’t get the best jump and that hurt me. The field this year is stacked with talent and having to work my way from the middle of the pack up to third isn’t easy. It’s unfortunate to have a podium taken away from me because of someone else’s mistake, but with a good start I can avoid all that. I know what I need to work on this week to be fully prepared for the next round.”
Dylan Ferrandis – P8
“It was a frustrating night for me. I felt that I could do better than eighth. I made a mistake by jumping off the track and missed a good opportunity. It’s time to get back to work and get ready for Orlando 1.”
Zach Osborne – P10
“It was a little bit of a tough night. I didn’t get a start in the main and it wasn’t one of my best rides of the season. Back to the drawing board this week, I have a few things I would like to really work on and focus on to be better for next weekend in Orlando.”
Aaron Plessinger – P11
“I struggled today. The track was gnarly. It was hard on the base and slick around the corners. It was technical and took a lot of energy to ride. It was rough and rutted, so it was a tough one. I had the 14th gate pick for the Main Event and took a risk, and lined up all the way inside. I ended up not getting the jump off the gate, and it was a struggle from there. I did what I could. Dylan and I battled for a little bit, and I kind of just settled in where I was. We’re going to go back to work and keep trying to do better. We can take some positives out of today. I had good speed, and we made improvements to the bike. We’ll come back with a vengeance at Orlando.”
Justin Brayton – P12
“I made things hard on myself coming from the LCQ. Off the start, the right hand first turn was difficult, it was the long way around and I got bunched up with a group of riders. It is hard against these guys with a bad start. I made sensible passes and managed a 12th. There have been a lot of missed opportunities in Indianapolis. We have a few things we need to work on and I am positive we can turn it around.” Brayton added.
Justin Barcia – P19
“The day was going good, I had my best qualifying position with fifth and I felt like we got the bike working really well and I felt really comfortable out there. The Main Event was going good, I was battling for the podium and unfortunately had a lapper come across on me and take me out and that’s pretty much how the night ended. It’s pretty disappointing but onto the next one.”
The big news from 250 qualifying was that the third-placed man in the championship, GasGas rider Michael Mosiman, had broken his hand in three places during practise and was heading for surgery.
“I made a stupid move at the end of the last practice and I seem to have broken my hand in three places. I qualified third was riding great, looking to get my first win here tonight but looks like it’s going to need surgery so we’re going to do the work necessary and be back out there to battle with the guys. I’m super bummed and disappointed. Thanks to everyone sticking behind me and supporting me, we will be back.”
Jett Lawrence bounced back from a sickening couple of crashes on Wednesday by taking a clear victory over Mitch Oldenburg and Jo Shimoda in the opening 250 Heat.
Lawrence scored the holeshot but was challenged at times by Muc-Off Honda’s Mitch Oldenburg, the pair even coming together at one point but Jett got the win after Shimoda pushed Oldenburg wide, the Japanese youngster looked on course for victory at one point but collided with a tough block late in the race which pushed him back to third.
Championship leader Colt Nichols won the second heat after passing Yamaha team-mate Christian Craig and pulling away to victory.
In was Craig’s turn to get one over his team-mate come the Main though as he pulled away to a dominant victory while championship leader Colt Nichols had to settle for third. The win narrowed Nichols’ championship lead over his team-mate back down to a slender six-points.
Nichols was actually leading the Main on the opening lap but went down and had to watch while the entire field streamed by him before getting back on the bike and going again in dead last.
Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda took a well earned podium, second place for the 18-year-old Japanese hotshot moved him up to third place in the championship.
Muc-Off Honda’s Mitch Oldenburg managed to hold off Jett Lawrence to take fourth place. Oldenburg had only narrowly missed out on taking the holeshot, starting very strongly and briefly held the lead after Nichols went down late on the opening lap. Craig was soon past him though and pulled away with apparent ease on his way to a dominant victory. Shimoda then relegated Oldenburg to third place a few laps later.
Jett Lawrence moved up to fourth place in the championship off the back of his 18-points haul from that fifth place in the Main.It was not an easy road to that fourth either as on lap one Lawrence was way back in 19th. Jett was up to ninth by lap two but he was 18-seconds behind the race leader already. That gap to the leader never really widened too much further from there though and as the laps progressed the young Aussie picked off riders one by one as he worked his way up through the pack.
By the halfway mark Lawrence was up to fourth but was eventually pushed back to fifth by Colt Nichols after the series leader fought his way back after that lap one mistake. Jett made Nichols really work for that pass though and essentially prevented Nichols from making any further progress before the flag, the two traded places a few times and Jett did well to hold him out as long as he could.
On the flip-side, Nichols kept his cool and did not resort to making any ugly passes on the youngster, in fact, it was very surprising to see just how much latitude he gave Jett. After Nichols got past Jett, the young Aussie then narrowly saved what would have been an ugly over the bars crash before settling to bring home that fifth place finish.
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 sixth round of what will be a nine-round 250 East Championship. The Yamaha duo of Colt Nichols and Christian Craig have been on fire throughout these opening six round of the series and if they remain injury free it seems almost certain that we will have a Yamaha 1-2 in the championship this year.
Supercross now travels 1000 miles south from Indian all the way down to Orlando, Florida to reconvene next weekend for what will be round seven. The 250 East series then has a two-month break before heading to Salt Lake City on April 25th for the penultimate round ahead of the decider at the same location on May 2nd.
250 Video Highlights
Christian Craig – P1
“The day started off crazy. I just felt off all day and then had a mishap in one of the practices and couldn’t get my bike started. I had to miss a whole qualifying session. So that kind of set the tone for the whole day. I just kept my head clear and had a decent heat race. I went into the Main Event confident in my ability to do it. Colt made a mistake early on. I was able to capitalize on it and get away early to break away with a nice gap and then ride my own race. It felt good to get another win and to end this Indy series on a high note before moving on to Orlando.”
Jo Shimoda – P2
“My last podium didn’t really feel like I deserved it because of the circumstances, but this time I passed into second and rode a good race. I can’t control what goes on in front of me or behind me. I just have to ride my race and put in my best effort. I’m really happy to be back up here and hope we can do it again in Orlando.”
Colt Nichols – P3
“There’s not really much to say, I guess. It started out about as good as it could, though. I got a great start and was in the lead. I don’t even know what happened, to be honest. I just came out of that turn, and all of a sudden, I was on the face of the tabletop looking backward. It was just a big mistake. I can’t really give that away, but that’s racing. That’s why we line up. It’s frustrating for sure because I felt like I was on it today, and I did everything right after that point. It’s all right, though. We’ll regroup. I dug down deep all the way to the finish. I kept fighting and came back to third, so I’m happy with that. I just can’t make those silly mistakes. I’m looking for some redemption in seven days. We’ll try again.”
Mitch Oldenburg – P4
“I am pleased to have finished higher up in round six but it’s bittersweet as I gave away 3rd, I tightened up and started to make mistakes which ultimately cost us the podium. My lap times in the heat race and qualifying were solid, I just really tightened up in the final and threw away an opportunity. I am going to take away the positives. My bike is fast, our starts are strong and I am getting faster and I am healthy. Indi threw everything at us that’s for sure. I just need to keep working towards consistent finishes in these last few races, as my goal is to be inside the top five overall at the end of the Championship.”
Jett Lawrence – P5
“I was managing my injury all day, but I’m glad that my shoulder was good enough that I was able to ride. It wasn’t what I was hoping for in terms of results in the main event, but it felt good to be racing and to get a heat-race win, even if I wasn’t 100 percent. Now we get a full week before Orlando, and I’m looking forward to coming back and getting back on top.”
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