Ken Roczen wins Motocross Round 2 at Thunder Valley MX with ‘perfect day’
After missing the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, Ken Roczen won Round 2 at Thunder Valley MX Park with a sweep of both motos while Justin Cooper took the overall results win in the 250 class.
In a preseason press conference, Roczen questioned how prepared he would be for the 2021 season. An answer was suggested in Round 1 after he won the second moto and was emphatically answered with his third consecutive moto win and first overall victory of the season.
“What a perfect day,” Ken Roczen told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “Especially after last weekend, getting back into the swing of things. It seems like I’m slowly starting to be my old self.”
Moto 1 featured a back and forth battle between Roczen, last week’s winner Dylan Ferrandis and Adam Cianciarulo.
Roczen held the lead early before losing positions to the other two riders. Rather than settle for a solid podium finish, Roczen battled back. There was no question that Roczen would win the second moto after he grabbed the lead from Cooper Webb on the first lap and did not look back.
This is only the second time since 2016 that Roczen posted a 1-1. He last swept a weekend at Unadilla in 2019. But his moto wins in 2019 were unexpected as he had not scored one in six weeks and he was not in championship contention. With a second-place finish at Fox Raceway and his win at Thunder Valley, Roczen now has to believe he is in the battle.
With a 2-2, Dylan Ferrandis finished second overall. In the process, Ferrandis lost the points lead by one to Roczen.
“It’s the second race in a row that I’m on the box, so that’s good,” Ferrandis said. “I feel like maybe I’m a guy who can chase the championship.”
Adam Cianciarulo overcame last week’s bitter disappointment and an 11th-place finish in the overall. His third-place finish in Moto 1 was followed by a sixth-place finish in Moto 2 and third overall. Still, his afternoon was marred by a fall in Moto 2 when he gently laid his bike down and fell out of the top five.
“I’m really excited after last weekend to have a solid result to build on,” Cianciarulo said. “I think it’s really important early in the season to get up here and kind of build. Last week was obviously a huge bummer for me.”
Justin Barcia was fourth overall with a 7-3, while Aaron Plessinger rounded out the top five with a 5-4.
450 results (moto finish)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (1-1)
- Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (2-2)
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (3-6)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (7-3)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (5-4)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (4-5)
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (6-7)
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (8-8)
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (9-9)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (11-10)
450 points standings
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda - 90
- Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha - 89
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha - 74
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS - 69
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda - 67
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki - 58
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM - 52
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha - 51
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM - 51
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki - 46
In the 250s, Cooper scored the overall victory after finishing second in both motos.
Cooper was happy for the points that go with the overall win, but disappointed he had been beaten in both motos.
“I’m happy, but not happy,” Cooper told NBC Sports’ Will Christien after the race. “Not the way I want to do it. Two-two for a win is awesome, but at the same time I should have won one. Jett (Lawrence) was riding really good in that second moto and I was definitely trying to push the pace with him.
“He tested my strength out there. It took all I had to keep it upright after he passed me.”
The winner of Moto 1, Jeremy Martin crashed in the second race and injured his arm only hours after his brother Alex Martin sustained a broken arm in practice.
One reason for Cooper’s displeasure was that he got passed by Jett Lawrence with an aggressive pass in Moto 2. Lawrence clipped Cooper’s front wheel with his rear wheel and both riders might easily have ended on the ground.
Combined with a fourth-place finish in the first race, Lawrence lost only one point to Cooper at Thunder Valley and now has a 10-popint advantage over him in the championship chase.
“The boys in the first (race) were just on it,” Lawrence described his fourth-place finish in Moto 1. “I was trying my hardest and they were just faster. I have nothing to say. No excuses.
(In Race 2), I was just hoping the track would get a little rougher and I just got that start. I ended up executing that. It was fun. I had fun with Cooper the first few laps. We were really going for it. He was really hooking. It was hard to keep up with him, but I was able to study him a little bit and then find out where I could make a pass.
“I did not want to get that close on that pass. I started sliding, but I knew if I shut off I’m done, so I’m committing.”
Hunter Lawrence finished third overall with a 5-3 marking the first time the brothers from Australia both stood on a podium in Motocross.
“Still a lot of work to be done,” Hunter said. “Still building. Still not quite there at the top yet.”
Jo Shimoda had to overcome slow starts to both motos to finish fourth overall with a 6-4.
Colt Nichols rounded out the top five with a 9-5.
250 results (moto finish)
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (2-2)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (4-1)
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (5-3)
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (6-4)
- Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (9-5)
- Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (7-7)
- Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (10-6)
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (1-40)
- Dilan Schwartz, Alpine, Calif., Suzuki (8-12)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (3-19)
250 points standings
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda - 90
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha - 80
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha - 72
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda - 67
- Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha - 56
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna - 54
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki - 50
- Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha - 49
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki - 48
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS - 46
2021 SEASON SO FAR