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Dylan Ferrandis resets expectations with solid fourth-place finish in 2023 SuperMotocross opener

The 2023 Supercross season starts with a bang in Anaheim with Eli Tomac scoring a dramatic win in the 450 class while Jett Lawrence earned the win in the 250.

After a disappointing 2022 season in both the Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross seasons, Dylan Ferrandis is ready to reset expectations with a bid to be the first 450 champion in the 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship.

Leaving the 250 ranks behind in 2020, Ferrandis was riding as high as possible. He won the 2019 250 West division in Supercross and finished second in the outdoor series. The following year, he swept both championships, and had the SuperMotocross World Championship existed then, he would have been to top seed to walk away with the guaranteed $500,000 dollar prize.

What he earned was arguably more valuable as he secured a ride in the 450 class. That first season at the top level, Ferrandis showed a lot of consistency. Without a win to his credit, he scored four top-fives and 11 top-10s. He finished second to Eli Tomac in the second Houston race to land seventh in the points’ standings. That galvanized the rider and when the outdoor season began, he was on a mission.

In 2021, Ferrandis stood on the podium in 12 rounds and won the overall in half of those attempts on his way to the championship.

Last year was not nearly as successful. Ferrandis missed races in both series and finished outside the top 10.

But now it’s time for Ferrandis to reset for the 2023 SuperMotocross season.

“Every season is a reset,” Ferrandis told NBC Sports the day before the opening round of the 31-race combined season. “You start the first race with everybody at the same point, nobody has a point in the championship so everybody’s on the same page. So, for sure it’s a reset, but you also learn from the past season. I plan on not doing the same mistake and I want be better and the new Yamaha bike is a big step up for me and I’m sure it’s going to help me a lot to be better this season.”

On the opening lap of Anaheim 1, Ferrandis was not thinking about that reset. He completed Lap 1 in the middle of the pack, riding ninth among 22 competitors. He did not blaze his way to the lead. On a gnarly track that rutted quickly because of a week’s worth of rain, he meticulously worked his way forward, moving into seventh on Lap 4 of 21 and fifth by Lap 10. With six laps remaining, he climbed to fourth.

One reason for his precise procession through the field was likely the two injuries he suffered in 2022.

MORE: Dylan Ferrandis lands fourth on NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings

“It was two different injuries,” Ferrandis said. “In Supercross, it wasn’t too bad. It was a bone bruise. It didn’t need surgery whatsoever, but I couldn’t ride my bike. I was out for two weeks and then the championship was over.

“And then in Motocross I dislocated and broke at my left thumb. I couldn’t ride with that kind of injury and needed surgery. Two unfortunate injuries that cost me two championships. It’s the sport. It happened.”

Those missed races and poor showings in the points might have hurt his confidence, but racers have an uncanny knack for putting the past behind them. After finishing with a best result of seventh in two Motocross races in the middle of the season, Ferrandis gave himself a month to heal. He didn’t wait for the Supercross season to launch.

Ferrandis finished third in open competition at the Motocross of Nations, and was part of the French team that finished second in the Nations’ results by giving them a fourth- and sixth-place result.

“I raced in the Motocross of Nations,” Ferrandis said. “That was my last race and it wasn’t a long time ago, and I did good, so I still know I can do it.

“It’s not like I’ve been out for full year.”

A solid testing session in October added to his renewed confidence and now the reset is complete. Ferrandis has his eye set on the 2023 SuperMotocross title - and he has the memory of his 2021 Pro Motocross title to override any negative thoughts about last year.