Dungey, Pourcel Win at Unadilla Lucas Oil Pro Motocross
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returned to racing after a brief break in the action this past weekend at Central New York's legendary Unadilla with the Red Bull Unadilla National. Only two rounds remain, and Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey made this round count by tightening up the 450 title fight by earning his third win in the last four rounds and coming within just a few points of Ken Roczen atop the standings. In the 250 Class, it was Valli Motorsports Yamaha's Christophe Pourcel who notched his first victory of the season after a number of great starts in prior rounds. It was Pourcellís first victory on U.S. soil since the 2010 season.
At the start of the first moto it was Toyota Yamaha JGRMX's Justin Brayton who earned the Motosport.com Holeshot Award, with teammate Phil Nicoletti right on his heels. Dungey was also not far off, and he wasted no time passing the Yamaha riders and taking the lead by the end of the first lap. Like so many time before this season, Dungey was chased closely by teammate Roczen, and the two spent the remainder of the race battling for the win.
Although Roczen came close, Dungey was able to keep him at bay. In spite of only be a few bike lengths apart, Dungey earned the wire-to-wire victory and Roczen had to settle for second. GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac rode behind the lead duo to finish with a solid third-place finish. Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard finished fourth, while BTO Sports KTM's Andrew Short rounded out the top five.
Brayton once again earned the Motosport.com Holeshot Award, but this time it was Tomac and Canard who passed Brayton to battle for the lead. Both Dungey and Roczen sat just outside the top five and had to battle back into position and work their way toward the front.
Out front, Tomac and Roczen opened a big gap on the field and battled back and forth for the lead. With the two fighting so hard for the lead, this allowed Dungey to close the gap on the two leaders and pull away from teammate Roczen. Dungey eventually worked past Tomac toward the end of the race and set his sights on Canard. Dungey closed the gap and was within striking distance on the final lap, but Candard held on for a solid finish that earned him his first 450 Class moto win of his career. Tomac finished in third, with Roczen taking fourth in the second moto, marking only his second time off the podium this season.
Dungey's consistent 1-2 earned him the overall win, marking his third victory in the last four races. Most importantly, it puts him within single digits of points leader Roczen.
"It was an awesome day. We just wanted to make the most of the day and not get sidetracked [with the championship]," said Dungey. "There's a lot of racing left still with two rounds to go, but things are going good. It feels great to get another overall, but I made it hard on myself in the second moto and let those guys [Tomac and Canard] get away. Maybe a couple more laps we could have got Canard, but he was riding really good."
Canard best finish of the season at second overall was something heís looked forward to all year. This was the first race he was really able to put everything together.
"I can't tell you how good that feels," said Canard after his moto win. "I'm not going to sit here and cry about what's happened [in the past with injuries], but I am just so thankful to have the opportunity to be here [on top of the podium] again. I'm just so happy to be up here and I'm looking forward to the next two races."
In the races leading up to Unadilla, Pourcel has consistently been one of the fastest racers in qualifying and at the start of races, having earned a number of holeshot awards but not being able to convert the great starts into wins. To start off the first 250 Class moto, Pourcel earned his fifth straight holeshot and used it to earn the wire-to-wire win on the class, marking his first victory on U.S. soil since 2010.
While Pourcel checked out in front, the battle behind him raged on with Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha duo of Cooper Webb and Jeremy Martin battling with Musquin for the second-place spot behind Pourcel. Musquin pulled away from the two Yamaha riders and left them to battle for third. A crash by Webb took him out of the running and allowed Martin to move into the third-place position, which he held until the checkered flag. Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Dean Wilson finished in fourth, with GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle fifth. Webb dropped to seventh.
Pourcel started off the second moto much like he did in the first, as he captured his sixth consecutive Motosport.com Holeshot Award. Points leader in the class Martin began the moto in second with Bogle following in third.
Pourcel looked strong in the first half of the race but started to lose steam and ground to Martin. Eventually, Martin was able to overtake Pourcel and gain the lead, though the two riders stayed out in front of the pack and were never caught.
Martin ended up racing to his eighth moto win of the season, with Pourcel finishing second and Bogle third.
Pourcel made the most of his three-year hiatus from full time competition in America, earning the overall victory with his solid 1-2 finish.
"The first moto was good and we got a good start in the second moto," said Pourcel. "I love the track here [at Unadilla] and it really works for my style. I'm just really grateful to be back up here [atop the podium] and want to thank everyone for the support they've given to me. Jeremy was riding great in that second moto, so I had to give it to him."
Still leading the points, Martin's 3-1 results earned him second overall and extended his double-digit points lead. Musquin rounded out the overall podium in third (2-5).
"I got off to a great start [in Moto 2] and battled with Christophe [Pourcel] for a while, then I chipped by tooth after getting hit by a rock," said Martin. "After that I realized I needed to make my move. I haven't won a moto in a while so it felt good to get back out front. I did make a few mistakes out there today, so I'll do some work during the week to come back stronger next weekend."
The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship hosts the penultimate round of the championship next Saturday, August 16, with the 11th round of the season and the inaugural event from Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Action for the Thor Indiana National begins at 1 p.m. ET.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
Red Bull Unadilla National
Unadilla Motorsports Complex
New Berlin, New York
Results: August 9, 2014 (Round 10 of 12)
1. Ryan Dungey-KTM/1-2
2. Trey Canard-Hon/4-1
3. Eli Tomac-Hon/3-3
4. Ken Roczen-KTM/2-4
5. Justin Brayton-Yam/6-7
6. Andrew Short-KTM/5-8
7. Weston Peick-Suz/10-5
8. Phil Nicoletti-Yam/7-9
9. Brett Metcalfe-Kaw/12-6
10. Fredrik Noren-Hon/8-10
450cc Points Standings (After 10 of 12 rounds)
1. Ken Roczen-447/4 wins
2. Ryan Dungey-440/4 wins
3. Trey Canard-Hon-373
4. Brett Metcalfe-Kaw-280
5. Eli Tomac-252/1 win
6. Andrew Short-247
7. Weston Peick-244
8. James Stewart-226/1 win
9. Josh Grant-218
10. Fredrik Noren-159
1. Christophe Pourcel-Yam/1-2
2. Jeremy Martin-Yam/3-1
3. Marvin Musquin-KTM/2-5
4. Justin Bogle-Hon/5-3
5. Blake Baggett-Kaw/6-4
6. Dean Wilson-Kaw/4-6
7. Joey Savatgy-KTM/9-9
8. Chris Alldredge-Kaw/13-8
9. Alex Martin-Yam/12-10
10. Shane McElrath-Hon/10-13
250cc Points Standings (After 10 of 12 rounds)
1. Jeremy Martin-422/4 wins
2. Blake Baggett-356/3 wins
3. Cooper Webb-348/1 win
4. Marvin Musquin-329/1 win
5. Christophe Pourcel-321/1 win
6. Justin Bogle, Cushing-310
7. Jason Anderson-243
8. Cole Seely-225
9. Jessy Nelson-200
10. Dean Wilson-176