As the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship headed east to Muddy Creek Raceway for the fourth round of the season, the 450 Class had a new points leader entering today – Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, a two-time champion in the premier class. His points lead over his remaining challengers grew even larger today after a strong outing at the Red Bull Tennessee National extended his winning streak.
In the first moto of the day, Justin Barcia grabbed the holeshot but crashed on the opening lap of the race, handing the lead over to his JGR Yamaha teammate Phil Nicoletti. Nicoletti led the first two laps of the race, but behind him Dungey had worked his way around Jason Anderson for second and was on the attack. Dungey aired it out over one of the track’s biggest jumps, using the momentum to move past Nicoletti into the lead, and from there he would open up a comfortable gap and win the moto.
Nicoletti lost two more spots to Anderson and Ken Roczen and would finish fourth. In front of him, Roczen challenged Anderson for second, but Anderson eventually pulled away from the defending champion to earn a career-best moto finish. Roczen would settle for third in the moto, a result which would prove costly later in the day.
The second moto was all about Roczen though – he edged out Cole Seely for the holeshot and from there went unchallenged for the rest of the moto, even as rain began to fall midway through the race, and won by nearly nine seconds.
The moto win was Roczen’s first of the season, however it would not be enough to get him the overall victory, as Dungey bounced back from a poor start in the second moto to work his way up to second place. Although Dungey was unable to catch Roczen, his 1-2 results put him on top of the leaderboard for the overall standings on the day. Roczen (3-1) ended up second overall.
Behind Roczen and Dungey, a trio of rookies battled for positions in Moto 2, with Blake Baggett, Jason Anderson and Cole Seely rounding out the top five. Anderson’s 2-4 moto finishes landed him on the podium in third overall for the second time this season.
After winning the 450 Class championship last year, Roczen struggled early this season after being crippled by a back injury right before the first round. The young German has improved each week since then and is returning to form, however he is currently 37 points behind Dungey in the championship standings thanks to his slow start. With Eli Tomac out for the rest of the season after a dominant start, it looks like Dungey vs. Roczen will be a recurring theme for the next eight rounds.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross resumes next Saturday, June 13th at High Point Raceway.
450 Class Overall Results
1. Ryan Dungey (1-2)
2. Ken Roczen (3-1)
3. Jason Anderson (2-4)
4. Blake Baggett (5-3)
5. Phil Nicoletti (4-9)
6. Cole Seely (8-5)
7. Broc Tickle (7-7)
8. Justin Barcia (9-6)
9. Weston Peick (6-11)
10. Justin Brayton (11-8)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 finishes in parenthesis.