Eli Tomac outfoxes field at Pala


Eli Tomac is the second-half hero. After getting poor starts in each Moto at Fox Raceway in Pala, Calif., Tomac took the lead in the second half to win both.

Tomac’s perfect finish that earned him 50 points did not start out that way.

Moto 1 looked like a carbon copy of Hangtown. Ken Roczen grabbed the lead early while Eli Tomac faded badly.

But in these 30-minute Motos, there is plenty of time for fortunes to reverse and just as it did last week in Hangtown, Tomac’s conditioning took over and he surged when it mattered.

“That Moto 2 was really comfy,” Tomac told NBCSN after the race. ” I was in cleaner air at the end there; much better start. Marvin (Musquin) was laying down a really good pace.

“We were just going that first half. And then after the half, I put on a little bit of a charge and kept putting pressure on him, found a good outside line after this double, then I went outside of him and got some good momentum. I was just really happy with my ride. Once I got out front, I just kept riding loose.”

Tomac took the points lead with his perfect day and now holds a four-point advantage over Roczen.

At one point in Moto 1, Tomac was as far back as sixth on the track and more than 10 seconds behind. In the second half of that race he began his march through the field. With time about to expire from the clock Tomac might still have fallen back to fourth, but Roczen became embroiled in a battle with Musquin that cost them both.

“About halfway (through Moto 1) I started feeling a lot better,” Tomac told NBC Sports Gold. “I made a couple of passes and really just kept trucking along. I felt like I held a consistent pace the whole time.”

Musquin finished second overall with a 3-2 and the tiebreaker that is broken by the second Moto.

“I was leading,” Musquin said. “I was in a great position, then I heard someone coming from behind. I tried to hang onto the lead, but there was nothing I could do. I was good enough for second today.”

Musquin failed to make up any ground on Roczen in the season standings, however, as both riders left the race with 42 points.

Roczen finished 2-3 to grab the final spot on the podium in both Moto 2 and the overall.

Coming off last week’s victory, Roczen was concentrating on a clean, uneventful race.

Zach Osborne finished 5-4 to grab the fourth position overall with Jason Anderson continuing his impressive comeback with a 4-5.

The Supercross champion Cooper Webb (6-6) finished sixth overall and now sits sixth in the standings.

Blake Baggett got the holeshot in Moto 1, but it would go bad quickly. Roczen took the lead from him before the lap was over. With five minutes off the clock it turned worse; Baggett broke a front wheel that forced to the mechanic’s area and cost him a lap. He passed seven bikes when he got back on track, but finished well outside the points in 33rd. He would rebound to finish 14th in Moto 2.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

Adam Cianciarulo is riding like a man possessed. After crashing out of the Supercross finale and losing the championship, he knows the only thing he can do now is to win the Motocross championship – and that is where his mental energy is focused.

Cianciarulo won Moto 2 at Pala to took the overall win with a 3-1 to earn his second consecutive victory in MX.

Hunter Lawrence did not make it easy on Cianciarulo. After crashing in Moto 1 and failing to earn any points, he desperately wanted to win the second Moto and re-establish himself. He had the faster times throughout the middle of the race and with about five minutes on the clock slipped around Cianciarulo.

Cianciarulo managed to get back around Lawrence when he laid the bike down a couple of laps later, but Cianciarulo still lavished praise on the second-place finisher in the Moto.

“I can’t say enough good things about Hunter Lawrence,” Cianciarulo told NBCSN after the race. “He rode so good. And when he crashed, I was just trying to be smart. He had a couple of spots where he was fast and I thought he was further back than he was. Then I heard him behind me the last couple of laps and I thought ‘Ah Man, I need to empty the tanks’ “.

Justin Cooper won the first Moto. It was the second consecutive race in which he won Moto 1, but Cooper would have to settle for fourth in the second, and the 1-4 caused him to come up just a little short of the overall win. Cooper settled for second.

With a 7-3, Dylan Ferrandis finished third overall.

RJ Hampshire finished second in Moto 1 in a very spirited battle for second through fourth, but with seven minutes remaining on the clock in Moto 2 he was forced to retire while battling for fifth.

With a 5-5, Chase Sexton finished fourth overall.

Colt Nichols rounded out the top five with a 4-7.

The ride of Moto 1 belonged to Cianciarulo, however. He hit the afterburner with the clock winding down. Riding his Kawasaki like a bucking bronc, he swapped spots with Hampshire and then chased down Colt Nichols. At the line, Cianciarulo nabbed the spot.

“It was crazy,” Cianciarulo said after the Moto on NBC Sports Gold. “I took a big gamble going on the outside. Basically the thought behind that was they’d ripped the start so deep, but on the outside it was a little drier.”

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Points Leaders

Eli Tomac (93 points) (1 win)
Ken Roczen (89) (1 win)
Marvin Musquin (74)
Jason Anderson (72)
Zach Osborne (70)

Adam Cianciarulo (92 points) (2 wins)
Justin Cooper (86)
Dylan Ferrandis (70)
Colt Nichols (68)
Chase Sexton (65)

Overall Top 5s

Ken Roczen: 2
Eli Tomac: 2
Jason Anderson: 2
Zack Osborne: 2
Cooper Webb: 1
Marvin Musquin: 1

Adam Cianciarulo: 2
Justin Cooper: 2
Colt Nichols: 2
Dylan Ferrandis: 2
Chase Sexton: 2

Moto Wins

[3] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I, Pala II)
[1] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I)

[2] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I)
[2] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II)

Next race: Thunder Valley Motocross Park, Lakewood, Co. June 1

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Motocross season opener: Jett Lawrence rockets to the top

SuperMotocross Rankings season opener
Align Media

As the SuperMotocross season heads outdoors, the NBC Power Rankings change significantly with results from the Motocross opener at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. The Power Rankings assign a numeric value to each individual moto (90 points maximum) as well as the overall standings (100 points) and averages that number over the past 45 days. Included in the Power Rankings are results from the final five Supercross rounds, which fit into that 45-day timeframe.

Dylan Ferrandis finished on the podium in his first race back after experience a concussion in Supercross Round 4 at Houston. – Align Media

It didn’t take long for Jett Lawrence to rocket to the top of the SuperMotocross rankings – only about 74 minutes in fact. Lawrence dominated his first moto and beat his teammate Chase Sexton, the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross champion, to the line by 10 seconds. He had to fight a little harder for the second moto win as Sexton stalked him throughout the race and ended up less than a second behind.

Beginning this week, we have added the SuperMotocross points’ ranking beside the rider’s name and in one fell swoop, Lawrence went from being unranked in the 450 class to 26th. To qualify for the inaugural SuperMotocross’ guaranteed 20 positions that automatically make the gate for the three-race championship series, Lawrence needs to be inside the top 20 in combined Supercross and Motocross points. The bubble is currently held by Justin Starling and Lawrence needs to make up 44 points to overtake him.

Sexton’s second-place finish in the overall standings at Fox Raceway marked his ninth consecutive top-five finish. After the race, Sexton compared the battle he had with Lawrence to the one he experienced with Eli Tomac in last year’s Pro Motocross championship. These two riders had a significant advantage over the field in Pala, but there is still a lot of racing to be completed.

MORE: Jett Lawrence wastes no time, wins first 450 race

After missing 13 rounds to a concussion, Dylan Ferrandis told NBC Sports that he was not going to do anything risky in the season opener at Fox Raceway. If he dialed back his effort at all, one would be hard-pressed to notice. He finished third in both motos and was third in the overall standings. Ferrandis began the weekend just outside the top 20 in combined SuperMotocross points and climbed to 19th. In the next few weeks, he will get a little more breathing room over the cutline and then challenge for wins.

Adam Cianciarulo’s three-race streak of top-five finishes ended with a sixth-place overall at Fox Raceway, but that was enough to advance him one position in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings and land him eighth in the combined points standings. His individual motos were moderate, but Cianciarulo is still battling the effects of injury and a nagging loss of strength in his wrist.

Aaron Plessinger returned from injury in the Supercross season finale to finish second at Salt Lake City. He added another top-five to his season total and now has six of those in the 13 rounds he’s made. With Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac not currently racing in Motocross, Plessinger has an opportunity to rise to the third seeding in short order.

450 Rankings

Driver (SMX rank) Power
1. Jett Lawrence (26) 93.33 NA
2. Chase Sexton (1) 92.36 1 -1
3. Dylan Ferrandis (19) 89.00 NA
4. Adam Cianciarulo (8) 82.89 5 1
5. Aaron Plessinger (5) 81.20 9 4
6. Justin Hill (9)
Not racing MX
79.75 8 2
7. Ken Roczen (4)
injured | Not racing MX
79.13 3 -4
8. Jose Butron (30) 75.67 NA
9. Lorenzo Locurcio (29) 75.00 NA
10. Eli Tomac (2)
74.50 2 -8
11. Dean Wilson (10)
Not racing MX
72.88 7 -4
12. Cooper Webb (3) 71.17 6 -6
13. Jerry Robin (32) 70.33 NA
14. Justin Barcia (6)
70.00 4 -10
15. Kyle Chisholm (15) 65.36 11 -4
16. Dante Oliveira (36) 65.00 NA
17. Shane McElrath (11)
Not racing MX
63.63 12 -5
18. Ryan Surratt (38) 63.33 NA
19. Josh Hill (13)
Not racing MX
62.38 13 -6
20. Justin Starling (20)
Not racing MX
62.13 19 -1

Motocross 450 Points

A bad start to Moto 1 at Fox Raceway was not enough to deter Hunter Lawrence. Neither was the fact that he was riding with sore ribs after experiencing a practice crash earlier in the week. He was a distant 10th to start the first race and for most of the 30 minutes, it seemed he would finish off the podium. Lawrence did not win the 250 East Supercross championship by giving in to hopelessness or pain, however.

Lawrence picked off one rider and then another until he found the battle for the top five in front of him at the halfway point. Once the field started to lap riders, Lawrence used the opportunity to continue forward through the grid. He passed third-place Jo Shimoda with two laps remaining and challenged Maximus Vohland for second on the final trip around Fox Raceway, but had to settle for the final spot on the podium. Lawrence dominated Moto 2 and claimed the overall victory in Pala.

Justin Cooper made his first start of the season at Fox Raceway and earned enough NBC Power Average points to climb to second. Partly this was due to consistently strong runs in both motos and a 5-4 that gave him the fifth position overall, but he is also not weighed down with moderate Supercross results. It will take a week or two to see where his strength lands him on the grid.

Motocross 250 Points

In only his third Pro Motocross National, Haiden Deegan scored a second-place finish in the overall standings. – Align Media

RJ Hampshire may feel he has something to prove after finishing second to Jett Lawrence in the 250 SX West division. He certainly rode like that was the case in Moto 1 and easily outpaced the field on his way to victory lane. In Moto 2, he crashed twice on Lap 1 and dropped back to 39th. It took half of the race to get inside the top 20 and salvage points. By the end of the race, he was 11th and while that was enough to get him on the overall podium, it cost him points in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

Haiden Deegan surprised the field in Houston in his 250 Supercross debut by finishing fifth. At the time, he said his strong result was because there were no expectations. He echoed that statement after the Motocross season opener. His second-place finish in the overall standings was enough to project him five positions up the SuperMotocross Rankings. In 11 rounds in the combined series, Deegan has earned seven top-fives and a worst finish of eighth.

Jo Shimoda did not make his first Supercross race of 2023 until late in the season. He finished fourth on the hybrid track of Atlanta, which had some similar elements to Fox Raceway. His fourth-place finish in Moto 1 of the Motocross opener made it seem likely he would score an overall podium, but a sixth in the second race cost him points in the NBC Power Rankings in a field that promises to be extremely tight.

250 Rankings

Driver (SMX rank) Power
1. Hunter Lawrence (1) 89.56 2 1
2. Justin Cooper (42) 84.67 NA
3. RJ Hampshire (3) 83.67 3 0
3. Haiden Deegan (4) 83.67 8 5
5. Jo Shimoda (16) 82.33 7 2
6. Guillem Farres (46) 79.33 NA
7. Levi Kitchen (6) 79.11 5 -2
8. Max Anstie (5) 77.83 12 4
9. Max Vohland (8) 77.50 14 5
10. Enzo Lopes (10) 76.00 11 1
11. Mitchell Oldenburg (13) 74.25 16 5
12. Carson Mumford (19) 71.22 17 5
13. Jordon Smith (7) 70.56 9 -4
14. Ryder DiFrancesco (48) 70.33 NA
15. Chris Blose (12) 67.00 13 -2
16. Chance Hymas (27) 66.00 19 3
17. Tom Vialle (9) 65.78 18 1
18. Jett Reynolds (55) 63.33 NA
19. Michael Mosiman (28) 62.33 20 1
20. Garrett Marchbanks (64) 59.00 NA

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner in Supercross and overall winner in Motocross. It awards 90 points for each Moto, Heat and Triple Crown win. The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 13 AT ATLANTA: Justin Barcia leapfrogs the Big 3
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 11 AT SEATTLE: Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT DETROIT: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 8 AT DAYTONA: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Eli Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 5 AT TAMPA: Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb close in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Ken Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage