Ken Roczen Earns 450 Class Pro Motocross Championship
Miller Motorsports Park in Utah hosted the final round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The Zions Bank Utah National on Saturday featured plenty of drama in the premiere class, as all eyes were on Red Bull KTM duo of Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey and the 450 Championship. Only 20 points separated class-leader Roczen and Dungey, so a great battle to the finish was in the cards for motocross fans.
When the first moto started, Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard continued his solid rise in the class with a strong start to jump past GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac off the start and holding off Roczen to earn the Motosport.com Holeshot Award. The top four riders – Canard, Roczen, Dungey and Tomac – pulled away from the pack for a four-way battle for the win. Canard held off pressure from Roczen early in the moto with Roczen almost going down in lapped traffic. Canard continued to extend his lead and pulled away out front, leaving Roczen, Dungey and Tomac to battle for the final two podium spots.
Late in the race, Dungey made a pass on Roczen for second but was unable to make it stick. He fought back and was able to repass him with only a few laps remaining. Unfortunately for Tomac, a bobble put him behind the lead pack. Canard held onto his solid lead out front to earn the win, while Dungey finished in second ahead of Roczen to take back two points from Roczen’s 20-point lead to reduce the championship gap to 18 with only one moto remaining.
As moto two began, it was clear Canard was on a fire in Utah as he jumped out to earn the Motosport.com Holeshot Award ahead of Roczen. The two riders pulled away from the field early on, leaving Dungey to work through the pack after starting outside of the top five and work into the third spot by the end of lap one. Dungey then set his sites on teammate Roczen and passed him on the fifth lap. He closed the gap on Canard but was unable to make a serious pass for the lead. Canard finished off his solid day of racing with a 1-1 sweep of the class. Dungey held on to finish in second, while Tomac passed Roczen for the final podium spot to earn third.
Canard earned the win in four of the last five motos to end 2014 with great momentum for next year, earning his first overall win in the class at the final race of the year.
"I've gotten more comfortable [the last few weeks]. It's no secret we made bike changes and it was instant for me in gaining more confidence," explained Canard. "I really have to attribute that to the team and I've had a lot of fun. I've been through such a roller coaster career I thought that if I didn't win today then it would be hard to win [ever]. I just wanted to put two motos together to give us [momentum] going into next year."
Dungey’s 2-2 finished earned him second overall, while Tomac (4-3) earned the tiebreaker over Roczen (3-4) to grab the final spot on the podium.
Roczen is the first German native to win a Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship title and is the 23rd different 450 Class champion in the series' 43-year history. Additionally, he joins an elite group of riders who hold the distinction of winning the title in their rookie season, including Dungey, Ricky Carmichael and Jean-Michel Bayle.
"I've been trying to play it cool [all weekend] but I'm not going to lie, I've been really nervous about today," Roczen said. "I just didn't want to talk about it and [wanted to] go out there and ride. I just pumped myself up for the motos and went, but it was honestly hard to put it out of my mind. I just went out there and did what I needed to do and made it happen, which is a huge accomplishment."
Roczen's title triumph was the second ever for KTM in the 450 Class and was the brand's second premier division crown in three years. It's also the first 1-2 championship sweep for the team.
Although Jeremy Martin already wrapped up the 250 Class championship title last weekend, he still looked to put forth a serious effort in Utah. Martin’s teammate Cooper Webb grabbed the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in the opening moto, but Martin kept the pressure on him and made the pass on Lap 5. Martin went on to pull away from the field to take yet another moto win in the class.
The battle was basically on for third in moto one, with Rockstar Energy Racing teammates Joey Savatgy and Jason Anderson battling with Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett. Musquin jumped into third early on but lost it to Baggett just one lap later. Although Musquin kept him honest for the entirety of the moto, Baggett withstood the pressure.
When the checkered flag waved, Martin took his ninth moto win of the season over 14 seconds ahead of Webb, with Baggett in third and Musquin fourth. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Chris Alldredge recorded a career-best fifth-place finish in just his third career pro start.
Savatgy grabbed the Motosport.com Holeshot Award over Martin, but it didn't take long for Martin to overtake the lead and pull away from the field again. Sitting in second, Savatgy has pressure from Musquin and GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle, while Baggett and Webb also began their marches toward the front.
Musquin took over second from Savatgy on the third lap with Bogle close in tow. The duo battled until Bogle was able to overtake the second-place spot, and then later Musquin lost most spots to Webb and Baggett as well, who all were in the mix for the final two podium spots.
In the end, Martin won easily by 18 seconds over Bogle, who held off Baggett in third. Webb followed in fourth to ensure his spot on the overall podium.
"I found something with my bike setup that helped last week and I think that played a key factor in how comfortable I felt and how well I did today," Martin said. "To be able to go 1-1 today was nice because it shows why I won the championship. I got good starts and chose good lines and it all worked out really great. I wanted to really enjoy it today and I did."
Baggett's 3-3 scores earned the runner-up spot in the overall classification and also clinched second in the final 250 Class championship standings over Webb, who tied Baggett in points for the afternoon but finished third overall (2-4) following the second moto tiebreaker.
"I showed up and rode my bike to the best of my abilities today. Some days I do that and some days I don't. It's as simple as that," explained Baggett. "The track was much better this year and I was able to fight my way to the front. I just charge all the way to the checkered flag and where I end up is where I end up. Today that was good enough for second."
The 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule was released in conjunction with the season finale and will kick off with the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Rancho Cordova, California, on May 16.
Results - Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
Zions Bank Utah National
Miller Motorsports Park - Tooele, Utah
August 23, 2014
Round 12 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-2)
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (4-3)
4. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM (3-4)
5. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki (7-5)
6. Ryan Sipes, Flaherty, Ky., KTM (9-6)
7. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (6-12)
8. Fredrik Noren, Sweden, Honda (10-9)
9. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki (13-7)
10. Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Yamaha (12-8)
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM, 532
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 518
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 468
4. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki, 334
5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 319
6. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM, 302
7. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki, 290
8. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 259
9. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 226
10. Fredrik Noren, Sweden, Honda, 207
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (1-1)
2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (3-3)
3. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (2-4)
4. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (6-2)
5. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (4-5)
6. Chris Alldredge, Powell Butte, Ore., Kawasaki (5-8)
7. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM (8-7)
8. Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki (10-6)
9. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Honda (7-9)
10. R.J. Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda (9-11)
250 Class Championship Standings
1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 500
2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 421
3. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha, 419
4. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM, 408
5. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda, 368
6. Christophe Pourcel, France, Yamaha, 355
7. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., KTM, 276
8. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda, 260
9. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 252
10. Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki, 230