Ken Roczen’s dominant season continued in Thunder Valley, where Round 3 of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was held. For the second time this season, Roczen swept both motos to capture the overall victory.
The RCH Suzuki rider has now won five of the first six motos to start the season, and likely would have won all six had he not had bike issues last week at Glen Helen. Saturday’s win also extended Roczen’s points lead over Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey.
The first moto was a wire-to-wire victory for Roczen. The German rider captured the holeshot and immediately checked out, leading every lap en route to victory.
After starting the race in second, it looked like Jason Anderson would have a good opportunity to test himself against the likes of Ryan Dungey, but something went wrong. Anderson started fading a few minutes into the race and gave up the position to Dungey. Anderson lost a few more spots later on, then really slowed down and eventually pulled off the track altogether. It was revealed afterward that he was suffering from altitude sickness. Anderson immediately flew home to recover and did not line up for Moto 2.
With Roczen and Dungey comfortably in the top two spots, Josh Grant inherited third place and was nearly the biggest surprise of the moto. With about nine minutes left on the countdown clock, Trey Canard had closed in on Grant and challenged him for the lead. After a good battle between the two, Canard emerged with the podium spot. Grant held on for fourth.
The story of Eli Tomac’s season has been poor starts, and this moto was no different. Tomac, whose season ended at this track one year ago, was in 17th after Lap 1 and had to charge through the field. He worked his way up to fifth at the end of the moto but lost more ground in the points race.
Roczen was forced to work for his victory a bit more in Moto 2 after starting outside the top five.
Canard scored the holeshot this time, with Honda HRC teammate Cole Seely close behind. With Dungey overtaking Seely for second on the opening lap, the opportunity was there for Dungey to grab the lead and pull away before Roczen could make his way to the front. But Dungey shockingly crashed on Lap 1 and was back around 20th by the time he got going again. Two laps later, Dungey had moved into the top ten, but his shot at victory was over.
Up front, Seely had taken the lead away from Canard, but while the two teammates banged bars, Roczen was hot on their heels. On Lap 4, in the span of about 30 seconds, Roczen passed Canard and then Seely. There was no stopping him after that – Roczen won the moto by more than 10 seconds.
Tomac ended up finishing second in Moto 2, but once again he was hurt by an awful start. After the first lap, he was back in 13th. By Lap 9, he had charged all the way up to second, and although he had no chance of catching Roczen, he seemed determined to redeem himself from last year’s crash.
Seely set a career high with a third-place result in Moto 2, as he continues to show that he can be more than just a “supercross specialist.” Dungey bounced back from his early wreck to take fourth, and his teammate Marvin Musquin was another hard charger in this one. Musquin was forced to come from the back of the back (around 35th) all the way up to fifth.
Roczen’s 1-1 sweep gave him his second overall victory of the season. Dungey (2-4) finished second overall, and Tomac (5-2) landed third overall for the third week in a row.
In his 450 Class debut with Yoshimura Suzuki, Matt Bisceglia posted a pair of 10th-place moto finishes to impressively earn eighth overall.
Roczen will run the red plate for a third race in a row two weeks from now at High Point. He currently holds a 12-point lead over Dungey, while Tomac (29 points back) continues to watch his title hopes slowly fade.
AMA Pro Motocross 2016 – Round Three – Thunder Valley – 450 Results
1. Ken Roczen (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey (2-4)
3. Eli Tomac (5-2)
4. Cole Seely (6-3)
5. Trey Canard (3-6)
6. Josh Grant (4-7)
7. Justin Barcia (11-8)
8. Matt Bisceglia (10-10)
9. Christophe Pourcel (8-12)
10. Justin Bogle (7-13)
11. Broc Tickle (14-9)
12. Fredrik Noren (12-11)
13. Justin Brayton (9-14)
14. Marvin Musquin (37-5)
15. Benny Bloss (13-15)
16. Ben LaMay (15-16)
17. Andrew Short (17-18)
18. Dillan Epstein (19-17)
19. Noah McConahy (16-20)
20. Toshiki Tomita (20-19)
AMA Pro Motocross 2016 – Round Three – Thunder Valley – 450 Points Standings
1. Ken Roczen, 143
2. Ryan Dungey, 131
3. Eli Tomac, 114
4. Trey Canard, 97
5. Cole Seely, 89
6. Josh Grant, 88
7. Jason Anderson, 73
8. Marvin Musquin, 64
9. Justin Barcia, 62
10. Broc Tickle, 50
After a disappointing pair of finishes one week ago at Glen Helen, Joey Savatgy bounced back at Thunder Valley and showed the form he displayed at the start of the season.
Savatgy captured the overall victory thanks to a second-place finish in Moto 1 and a victory in Moto 2, but it very easily could have been a sweep.
It was a Star Yamaha parade out front to start Moto 1. Cooper Webb grabbed the holeshot, while Jeremy Martin, Aaron Plessinger and Alex Martin all started off inside the top five along with GEICO Honda’s Jordon Smith.
Jeremy Martin quickly emerged as the fastest of the bunch but struggled to get around Webb. The two crossed the finish line jump side-by-side after the first lap, and things remained intense from there. It took about ten minutes, but on Lap 5, Martin finally cleared his teammate and moved into the lead.
As for the other two members of the Star Yamaha squad, Aaron Plessinger and Alex Martin – who is riding with the red plate for the first time in his career – both went down in the same incident and fell outside the top ten.
Savatgy moved up to fourth after the Plessinger/Alex Martin wreck. He proceeded to pick off Jordon Smith, then Cooper Webb, and on Lap 9 he got Jeremy Martin for the lead.
Every time Savatgy got past a rider, he left them in the dust. Once he took over the top spot from Jeremy Martin, it seemed there was no looking back. Savatgy built up a significant gap but then surprisingly went down and allowed Martin to reassume the lead. Savatgy remounted in second but did not have enough time to close the gap. Martin won the moto with a 2.9 second margin of victory, giving him his second consecutive moto win.
After the race, Savatgy said that his footpeg got caught in the dirt while he was following a lapper through a double.
In the final laps, Savatgy had to deal with a lightning-fast Webb, but Savatgy was able to hold him off to secure second place. Webb rounded out the podium, Zach Osborne finished fourth, and Smith rebounded from last week’s misfortunes to take fifth.
Alex Martin put forth an incredible charge late in the race, picking up eight spots in the span of just four laps to end the moto. He salvaged an eight-place finish despite his early crash.
In Moto 2, Savatgy got a much better start, opening the moto in second behind Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Adam Cianciarulo. Savatgy quickly moved around AC into the lead. As for Cianciarulo, he crashed on Lap 4 while running in second and ultimately pulled out of the race.
Cianciarulo’s crash moved a surprising Martin Davalos into second place. Davalos seemed to be on pace for one of the best motos of his career, but he was faced with pressure from Alex Martin, who had moved from seventh to third since the opening lap. Alex Martin finally executed the pass on Lap 9 and quickly began closing in on Savatgy.
By the time they reached the two laps to go mark, Alex Martin had cut Savatgy’s lead down to less than a second. By this point in the race, Jeremy Martin had moved into third and was in position to take the overall victory if his older brother could successful pass Savatgy. It was not to be though. Despite possibly being one of the fastest riders on the track all day long, Alex Martin could not catch him.
Savatgy won the moto by 1.2 seconds over Alex Martin. Younger brother Jeremy was 26 seconds behind Alex in third.
Austin Forkner finished fourth, giving him three top-five moto finishes in four tries. Davalos rounded out the top five.
Savatgy (2-1) narrowly edged out Jeremy Martin (1-3) for the overall victory. Alex Martin (8-2) finished third and is the only rider to finish on the overall podium at all three rounds of the season.
Leading the 250 Class with three moto wins and two overall victories, Savatgy successfully recaptured the points lead and will take the red plate into Round 4 at High Point. Savatgy holds a slim 3-point lead over Jeremy Martin. Alex Martin is 9 points back of Savatgy, and Webb is 13 behind Savatgy.
Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take place Saturday, July 18 at High Point Raceway.
AMA Pro Motocross 2016 – Round Three – Thunder Valley – 250 Results
1. Joey Savatgy (2-1)
2. Jeremy Martin (1-3)
3. Alex Martin (8-2)
4. Zach Osborne (4-6)
5. Cooper Webb (3-8)
6. Martin Davalos (7-5)
7. Jordon Smith (5-12)
8. Shane McElrath (12-7)
9. Austin Forkner (17-4)
10. Mitchell Harrison (11-11)
11. Aaron Plessinger (14-10)
12. RJ Hampshire (10-14)
13. Arnaud Tonus (18-9)
14. Adam Cianciarulo (6-38)
15. Colt Nichols (15-13)
16. Mitchell Oldenburg (9-25)
17. Jessy Nelson (13-34)
18. Luke Renzland (39-15)
19. Anthony Rodriguez (21-16)
20. Kyle Cunningham (19-18)
AMA Pro Motocross 2016 – Round Three – Thunder Valley – 250 Points Standings
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