2021 AMA Pro Motocross Recap: Thunder Valleyby Jack Gaffney June 6, 2021 1 comment
Round two of 12 in AMA Pro Motocross is now in the books from the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. Again, it was a fantastic day of racing as there have now been four different overall winners in two nationals. Recap of the action at Thunder Valley right here.
Before racing even started, big story Alex Martin reportedly suffered a broken arm during qualifying in the morning hours. He ended up going over the handlebars on a downhill section and landed awkwardly. Unfortunately, this would not be the only injury in the 250 class on Saturday. In the opening try at 250 Moto 1, privateer rider Jerry Robin would go down on the opening lap, resulting in a red flag. His accident was not caught on camera, but Robin was seen giving a thumbs up on a flat board as he was carted off. Hopefully, everything ends up ok in regards to him.
On the second start attempt, Justin Cooper would pick up the holeshot over teammate Jeremy Martin. Martin would bide his time for about the first half of the moto in second, with R.J. Hampshire not far behind too. Martin would then make a power move for the lead around the halfway point in the uphill section. This move would end up being good enough for the moto win, as Martin stretched his lead out to as far as four seconds. Hampshire meanwhile would make an impressive late-race charge on Cooper, but could not make it stick as Cooper would end up second, Hampshire third. Jett Lawrence could not duplicate a great start on the first try, as he would finish fourth place in Moto 1 about 24 seconds back.
Cooper would nab holeshot honors in Moto 2, and also slammed the door in Lawrence’s face on an early pass attempt. Moto 1 winner Martin would end up getting shuffled back on the start, scoring outside the top 10 very early on. Luckily, he was able to make short work of riders ahead of him. Hampshire, who had a chance at today’s 250 overall, threw it away in the early goings. He went over the bars in a downhill section and dismounted for a good amount of time. Shortly after, a major accident would go down, involving co-points leader Martin. His wrist that was injured in Supercross seemed to get hurt here, and one side of his handlebar looked to be bent. An absolute nightmare scenario for this year’s championship favorite, who would call it a day after coming back out for a couple of laps.
Lawrence would end up getting into the lead after showing Cooper some rear wheel on the way by. The good news for Cooper however is he still had his grasp on the overall win by a point over Lawrence. By this point, the front two pulled away by nearly 20 seconds, but there were some solid battles for the top five spots behind them. Colt Nichols and Jalek Swoll for sixth place, then Jo Shmidoa and Micheal Mosiman for fourth. Mosiman after getting Shimoda would make a mistake and give up fourth as soon as he had it. Lawrence would hold on for his second moto win of the year by 15 seconds. But Cooper would bring home the overall win going 2-2 on the day. Lawrence brothers would round out the podium with Jett going 4-1, and Hunter Lawrence going 5-3.
Overall Results for 250 Class:
No. 32 Justin Cooper: 2-2
No. 18 Jett Lawrence: 4-1
No. 41 Hunter Lawrence: 5-3
No. 30 Jo Shimoda: 6-4
No. 64 Colt Nichols: 9-4
No. 48 Garrett Marchbanks: 7-7
No. 47 Jalek Swoll: 10-6
No. 6 Jeremy Martin: 1-40
No. 90 Dylan Schwartz: 8-12
No. 24 R.J. Hampshire: 3-19
No. 94 Ken Roczen– Honda HRC (1-1 for First overall)
An absolutely perfect day for Roczen at altitude in Colorado. Each of his moto wins was impressive in their own way, on his path to claiming the points lead. After getting punted out of the lead by Adam Cianciarulo and then passed by Dylan Ferrandis in Moto 1, Roczen proceeded to put on an impressive charge. he got by Cianciarulo then forced Ferrandis into a mistake with two to go to secure back-to-back moto wins. Moto two would essentially be over as soon as it started. Roczen was consistently putting up lap times two seconds faster than the field and had a 15-second lead at a point. Now Roczen is the series points leader and has three straight moto wins.
One of Roczens best performances in some time. If this Roczen shows up for the next 10 Nationals as he did at Thunder Valley, it may be a wrap. But I remember saying something along those lines after his Indianapolis Supercross sweep, so take that for what it’s worth. Regardless, this Motocross season could not be going off to a better start for both Roczen and Honda. They have a ton to be happy about and Roczen looks very comfortable on the bike. Now it is just a matter of duplicating good results on a weekend to weekend basis.
No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis- Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (2-2 for Second overall)
Despite having a late lead in Moto 1, and never really having a shot in Moto 2, Ferrandis should still be happy about his performance on Saturday. He ended up going off track late to lose the lead and win to Roczen in the first Moto. However, the caveat is that after the race, is that Ferrandis said he ran the final 10 minutes without a rear brake. That makes his charge to even getting the lead all the more impressive. Ferrandis’ Moto 2 charge from outside the top five into second place could also pay dividends down the line depending on how the rest of his season goes. Losing the points lead is a bummer, but an excellent start outdoors in 2021 for the Frenchman.
No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo- Monster Energy Kawasaki (3-6 for Third overall)
After a disappointing result last weekend in Pala, Cianciarulo was able to steer clear of any major issues and had himself a very solid day. He made a big-time power move to take the lead from Roczen in moto 1 in the corner coming back to the start stretch. Unfortunately, his lead would not translate to a win, as he would lose first and second in a late-race skid. Despite finishing outside of the top five in Moto 2, Cianciarulo was able to still nab his first overall podium of the year with a 3-6. A nice way to bounce back after a disappointing season opener.
No. 29 Christian Craig– Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (6-7 for Seventh overall)
It has been a very solid start to the outdoor season for the 250 Supercross rider. Craig now has three consecutive top 10 moto finishes. Craig also only missed out of four straight by one spot in the opening moto of the season. And keep in mind, Craig is just around a month off of an ankle fracture in Supercross. All things considered, this has been a good story to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Craig is higher in points than both Eli Tomac, and Zach Osborne as of now.
No. 1 Zach Osborne- Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (12-DNF for Sixteenth overall)
Osborne’s championship defense efforts are not starting according to plan at all. He now has three moto finishes outside of the top ten, and finished dead last in Moto 2 at Thunder Valley. Around 10 minutes into that moto, Osborne was said to be in the mechanic’s area and was then shown as out of the race on the score bug. There has been no reason given as to what happened, but this ended his day regardless of what it was. Osborne now has dug himself a massive hole in the points, 57 points back of Roczen in 11th place. Not an impossible hole to dig himself out of, mainly due to 20 Motos still left to run, but not the way you want to start a season in Motocross at all.
Top 10 Overall in 450 Class
No. 94 Ken Roczen: 1-1
No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis: 2-2
No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo: 3-6
No. 51 Justin Barcia: 7-3
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger: 5-4
No. 23 Chase Sexton: 4-5
No. 29 Christian Craig: 6-7
No. 2 Cooper Webb: 8-8
No. 25 Marvin Musquin: 9-9
No. 3 Eli Tomac: 11-10
If you are wondering why there is not a Tomac section, give me a few days. Not the most thrilled fan of his at this point and Saturday was certainly bad. Otherwise, next week is an off-week in the AMA Motocross Series before High Point on the 19th. But if you are looking for a Motocross fix, The MXGP season finally kicks off in Russia next weekend. Tim Gajser looks to three-peat in the World Motocross Championship, with a slew of riders looking to deny him. Including the likes of Jeffery Herlings, Romain Febvre, Jorge Prado, Antonio Cairoli, and Glenn Coldenhoff.
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
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