A season that began in dominant fashion for Eli Tomac has come to an abrupt end.
After suffering injuries to both shoulders as a result of a brutal crash last weekend at Thunder Valley, Tomac is out for the remainder of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the GEICO Honda team has announced. His right shoulder was dislocated in last weekend’s crash (although the medical team put it back into place at the track), his left shoulder suffered a rotator cuff tear, and he will likely need surgery on both.
Prior to the crash, Tomac had looked unstoppable. He won the first five motos of the season without facing much of a challenge – his smallest margin of victory was 14.5 seconds. Everything was coming together for a rider who was always full of vast potential.
Tomac looked like he was on his way to a sixth straight moto win on Saturday, leading the second 450 Class moto by a comfortable margin, when the crash occurred. He made no attempt to reenter the race, instead getting checked out by the medical staff immediately after. Just like that, the unbeaten streak, the points lead, the overall win at Thunder Valley – it all disappeared, and he will instead have to shift his focus to 2016.
With Tomac out of the running, the always-consistent Ryan Dungey has inherited the 450 Class points lead, and the rest of the field will be chasing him when the series resumes this Saturday at Muddy Creek Raceway. 450 Class rookie Blake Baggett is currently third in the standings, 29 points back of Dungey, and last year’s champion Ken Roczen is next in line, 35 points back. Roczen struggled early in the season because of a back injury, but has looked much better with each passing week and should be the biggest remaining threat to Dungey.
ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).
“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.
“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”
For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.
“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.
“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”
Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.
“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.