2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Round Five – Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis
Report by Trevor Hedge – Images by Jeff Kardas
Four different winners across the opening four rounds of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Championship had things tight at the top as the riders assembled again in Indianapolis for the fifth round of the 17-round series. Justin Barcia won the season opener then defending champ Eli Tomac won Round Two while 2019 champ Cooper Webb took the chequered flag first in the third round. Ken Roczen took his first win of the season on the weekend and with it a six-point lead into Round Five.
Before the Heats even got underway at round five Jason Anderson pulled out of proceedings after dislocating his finger without even crashing! His hand slipped while landing and that was enough to put him out of the nights Main.
Eli Tomac fell in the opening 450 Heat but held on to take a fourth place finish. Marvin Musquin was the winner ahead of that first bout ahead of Justin Barcia and Justin Brayton.
Cooper Webb scored the holeshot in Heat Two and led from Ken Roczen and Adam Cianciarulo but a mistake by the KTM man allowed Ken Roczen through to take the victory from Cianciarulo and Malcolm Stewart.
Justin Barcia scored the hole-shot in the 450 Main ahead of Ken Roczen but did not lead for long as the Honda man wasted no time in slotting through to the front of the pack. Bam-Bam tried coming right back at him but didn’t have the speed to match Roczen, the German was on a mission and after lap one he broke Barcia and was running on his own.
Adam Cianciarulo was in third, Vince Friese fourth, Aaron Plessinger fifth and Eli Tomac worked his way up to sixth over the first couple of laps after a poor start. Webb was another slow starter that had his work cut out for him. Four-minutes in Friese went down which promoted most of those riders up another place. Malcolm Stewart was also in that mix but a mistake later in the race saw him eventually finish tenth.
Roczen’s tactic to drop the hammer from the start was paying dividends as he could just run his own race up front as he easily pulled away from his pursuers.
As the race hit the half-way marker Barcia also had clear air in second place, seven-seconds behind Roczen, but four-seconds ahead of what was an intense battle between Kawasaki team-mates Adam Cianciarulo and Eli Tomac.
Adam Cianciarulo was eventually overcome by Tomac, the defending champ moving up to third place and then set about trying to chase down Barcia.
Aaron Plessinger then started to put the pressure on Cianciarulo and the Yamaha man duly pushed Cianciarulo further down the order in the later stages of the race. A lapped rider opened up the opportunity for Plessinger and then Malcolm Stewart added further insult by pushing Cianciarulo back to sixth place.
In contrast, Cooper Webb seemed to be getting stronger as the race progressed. He went from eighth all the way up to fourth over the final quarter of the race to just miss out on a podium finish. Passing Cianciarulo, Stewart and then Plessinger to take 19-points.
Eli Tomac looked to have the measure of Barcia and made numerous attempts at passing the GasGas rider but couldn’t get it done and eventually had to settle for third. Barcia put up a brilliant defence and held on to take the second place.
Ken Roczen was challenged on lap one but was never threatened again. A dominant eight-second victory, despite buttoning right off in the last laps, extending his lead in the championship to 13-points over Cooper Webb. Eli Tomac is only a single-point behind Webb. Justin Barcia is a further six-points down in fourth.
Ken Roczen – P1
“I don’t know what to say; it was a picture-perfect night, with pole position in practice, winning my heat race, then I just had a really amazing main event. I grabbed a really good start and was in second, made the pass happen early and just checked out; it was an amazing race for me. I flowed nicely with the track, put a little gap in between me and the other guys and just enjoyed my race–stayed focused and brought it home. I’m just thankful to be in this position. I’m going to continue leaving everything on the track and keep thriving the way I am right now. I’m going to enjoy this today and tomorrow, then come back like nothing ever happened and try again on Saturday.”
Justin Barcia – P2
“The last round was really tough but tonight we put ourselves in a much better position. I got a good start and Kenny rode an amazing race, I tried to give him a little battle in the beginning but that’s all I had tonight. I’m glad to be back up here on the podium, we’ve been searching a little bit with setup but we’re getting there and feeling good, ready to get back to winning.”
Eli Tomac – P3
“I felt good all day aboard my KX450. After setting the fastest time in the first qualifying session, I didn’t have to change much on the bike. I had a small mistake in my heat race while pushing for the lead but still managed to put in some solid laps and finish in fourth. In the main event, I got stuck behind a group of riders on the opening laps and knew I had to quickly cut my way through the field because I could see Ken (Roczen) was pulling away. I put my head down and started charging and made it up to fourth behind Adam (Cianciarulo) before the half-way mark. After getting past Adam, I could see second place and I eventually ran out of time before I could make a pass stick. I feel like I rode well tonight and, with a better start, could have challenged for the win.”
Cooper Webb – P4
“It was an up and down day once again. We did a lot of bike changes that actually seemed to help and the heat race was going really good, I pulled a great start and led a few laps but unfortunately a hay bale that wasn’t there the first time, was there the second time, and I ended up going down. I didn’t have a great gate pick for the Main Event, which really messed up my start and I struggled to get going. I made a lot of passes at the beginning and then I charged hard to make some really late passes, which I think was great, but I’m going to need to get some better starts. I’m excited for next Saturday, I think with a good start I’m right there in the mix. We’re still in the fight for this title and that’s the goal.”
Aaron Plessinger – P5
“It was a pretty good day. I started off slow in qualifying as usual and then went out in the heat race and didn’t a good start and got stuck in a slump for some reason. It was just not a really great heat race. That got me fired up and ready to go. We did some minor changes to the bike and I changed my starting technique a little bit. I just hammered it, and it played out well. I rode a good race. I’m stoked on it for sure, but I know there are some things that I could have done better. I’m going to go back and do my homework tomorrow and try and keep at it with the starts. I think we’ll land it up on the podium before too long.”
Adam Cianciarulo – P6
“I feel like I was struggling to find a flow out there tonight. The track was challenging, and I made far too many little mistakes. Sixth place isn’t something I’m normally pleased with, but mentally I kept it together out there, even after the mistakes, and I’m proud of that. It’s a long season and there’s still much to improve on. I can’t wait to get back out there on Saturday.”
Dylan Ferrandis – P9
“I felt better today on the bike and made some improvements. I felt good during the day. Unfortunately, I had a bad start in the Main and crashed at the beginning of the race with another rider. I was way back, but I just put my head down and gave everything I had. I finished ninth, for sure it’s not what we expect, but the 450 class is really hard. We’ll keep working and try to do better Saturday.”
Malcolm Stewart – P10
“We definitely made some huge improvements on the bike for this track, this layout. I just felt good all day honestly. Practice went well, the heat race I rode really well. Even in the Main Event, we were having a good battle. Aaron was just right in front of me. Cooper (Webb) got around me, I tried to get back around him in the whoops and I made a mistake and went down. I was on the other side of the track when I rejoined, so we really lost a lot of time and we ended up 10th. Yeah, it was a top 10, but we could’ve ended up fourth or fifth. You live and learn. We made a few mistakes, but overall, I felt like we put ourselves in a better position than at the beginning of the year, where we started. I’m more confident with the bike. There’s nothing but positives from here. The results didn’t show, but the riding was there. We’re going to regroup, watch some film, and make some improvements to be ready for Saturday.”
Marvin Musquin – P11
“I had a good day going and my speed was decent but I just had some costly mistakes, same as Saturday. The heat was awesome, I got up front and won the heat so I got a good gate position for the Main Event. I had an okay start and I was in good position but going into the tunnel I came in a little too fast and I hit Aaron Plessinger’s wheel and went down. I’m just trying to work on minimizing the mistakes and stay on two wheels next time and we will be fine.”
There are still 12 rounds remaining in this exciting 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and the series will still be wide open for quite some time.
Jett Lawrence went down heavily in Qualifying after getting crossed up in a whoops section and then hit the deck again in his Heat. This time around Jett exited a turn a little wide then jumped off the side of the track and landed into a Tuff Block, that impact then sent him over the bars and he was slammed shoulder first into the ground with his helmet also taking the brunt of the impact.
Jett was helped off the track, his disappointment palpable, but this one also clearly hurt physically. The third placed man in the championship looked to be trying to loosen up his shoulder as he walked somewhat gingerly towards the gates for the LCQ but he won that contest easily to earn his transfer to the Main.
After lining up on the gates to start the Main Jett was looking very uncomfortable and that right shoulder was obviously giving him considerable grief. In conjunction with Team HRC he chose to leave the start line and not contest the Main. As he walked away he was carrying his right arm across his body which suggests that the 17-year-old might have suffered some considerable ligament damage. Fingers crossed we are wrong on that score…
“The day started off pretty good; the track was fun and the boys did good track prep. It was looking good, but unfortunately I had a crash in the second qualifying session. I didn’t really hurt myself much, just had a bloody nose. I hit a Tuff Block that was in a bad spot, and it was put back in the same spot for the heat race. I hit it straight on and fell straight on my head and shoulder. I was looked at by my therapist and there might be a little bit of separation, but we’re just going to play it by ear. Hopefully I get better so I can ride this Saturday, but we’ll have to wait and see. It’s not really how I wanted the night to end, but it happened and now I’m going to focus on getting better for this weekend or Orlando.”
Jett’s main championship rivals sailed smoothly through to the Main as Christian Craig won the opening Heat while his Star Yamaha team-mate Colt Nichols won Heat Two.
Carnage unfolded back in the field at turn one once the Main got underway with half a dozen riders ending up on the deck, including Round Four podium finisher Jo Shimoda.
Michael Mosiman had clear air up front and was being chased by that Star Yamaha duo. Mosiman held on to the lead for the first half of the Main but then after taking evasive action to avoid a downed lapper Colt Nichols swept past, and Christian Craig closed in on his tail. It took Craig some time to get past Mosiman but he did it with five-minutes remaining and then pulled away from the GasGas rider.
At the chequered flag Colt Nichols had almost six-seconds over Christian Craig while Michael Mosiman was a further five-seconds behind in third.
Colt Nichols – P1
“You can never complain about a win, but I need to clean it up. The start of that race wasn’t very good and I felt like I was fumbling around. So; if there is something I need to work on, it is cleaning it up. I got lucky with Michael (Mosiman) running into a lapper. I’m looking forward to closing it out here in Indy this weekend.”
Christian Craig – P2
“Colt is on it and I’m going to have to execute a little better from the start of the race if I’m going to have a chance to break his streak. He’s on a roll and I need to focus on getting in front of him at the start and giving it everything I have to stay ahead of him. I had a tough round last weekend, so it’s nice to get back up on the podium where I feel like I belong. We’ll see what I can do to make the fix for Saturday.”
Michael Mosiman – P3
“That was an awesome start, I was ripping clean laps and I busted out the triple-quad, I hadn’t done that all day, and I felt good in the whoops. A guy went down in front of me in the rhythm section and that was hectic, it spooked me a little bit. I hit him pretty good, lost a spot to Colt and lost my mojo a little bit mid-way. I had such good lines out of the gate and as the track was breaking down, I think I needed to move with it a little bit quicker but all-in-all, it was a good day and a step in the right direction. I just have to thank my team, they’ve been behind me so much and this opportunity to race in front of a crowd is awesome, I love it!”
Jo Shimoda took good points for fourth place but finished more than 30-seconds behind third placed Mosiman.
Jo Shimoda – P4
“I have been able to avoid being involved in any crashes so far on the start, but it got me this time. All I could think was to get up as fast as I could and just start putting in solid laps. The track was tough in spots and I just did my best to not make any mistakes. I won’t know if I would have been up there able to pass for the podium, but we get another chance in Indy this weekend. I definitely want another podium so we’ll be working to get back up there.”
Muc-Off Honda’s Mitch Oldenburg had a difficult run to the Main after crashing heavily in his Heat but recovered well to be running a strong fourth place for the first half of the race but then had to pull out with mechanical issues.
Colt Nichols now leads the series on 122-points, 11-points ahead of his team-mate Christian Craig. Mosiman moved up to third place on 97-points, a single-point ahead of Jo Shimoda. Despite taking no points today Jett Lawrence remains in fifth place on 83-points.
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 fifth round of what will be a nine-round 250 East Championship and round six will take place at the same venue this Saturday.
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