Dylan Ferrandis wins Motocross Round 3 at High Point, takes points lead


Dylan Ferrandis finished second in both motos of Round 3 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, and took the points lead.

In Moto 1, Adam Cianciarulo grabbed the holeshot and led flag to flag, but his win was not uncontested.

Cianciarulo visualized the start and jumped out to an early lead, but he could not afford to feel comfortable. The opening laps have not been an issue for him so far this season. He has seen leads disappear with minor mistakes and it appeared the same might be true at High Point when he clipped a banner at the 10-minute mark and almost gave up a two-second lead.

Chase Sexton and Ken Roczen were on his back tire until each of them also bobbled a few minutes later, allowing Cianciarulo to extend his advantage again.

Just as it appeared he would walk away with the win, another rider went down right in front of him just short of the finish line.

“A little fire drill at the end,” Cianciarulo said at the end of the race. “It’s kind of funny. The guy just dumped the clutch right in front of me. I tried to wheelie over his bike. I got up real quick, but it’s memories I guess.”

Cianciarulo righted his bike and walked it across the line to secure the Moto 1 win. This is his first moto win of the season.

Riding second in the closing laps, Sexton buried his front tire in a rut and crashed, handing the runner-up position to Ferrandis.

Roczen rounded out the podium.

Cianciarulo also had the early lead in Moto 2 until Eli Tomac finally found his rhythm for what seems like the first time in 2021.

With a best moto finish of eighth at Fox Raceway, Tomac started the season with disappointing results. At High Point he finally looked like the rider who won the 2019 outdoor title.

But he also faced a late race challenge. As Tomac settled into his pace, Ferrandis and Roczen got around Cianciarulo and started to catch the leader despite being engaged in a fierce contest for second. The battle finally proved to be a distraction, which allowed Tomac to pull away to a three second lead and score his first moto win of the year.

Consistency proved to be the key to Ferrandis’ day and his second-place finish in Moto 2 gave him the overall lead.

Roczen took the final podium spot, going 3-3 on the day, and finished fourth overall. Roczen and Tomac earned the same number of points in the race, but with his Moto 2 win, Tomac earned the tiebreaker.

Ferrandis gained four points on his principle rival and left Pennsylvania with the red plate.

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (2-2)
  2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-4)
  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-1)
  4. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (3-3)
  5. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (4-5)
  6. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (5-8)
  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (9-6)
  8. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (10-7)
  9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM (8-9)
  10. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (7-11)

450 points standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 133
  2. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 130
  3. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 103
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 101
  5. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 101
  6. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 96
  7. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 86
  8. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 76
  9. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 76
  10. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 72
Ken Roczen finished 3-3 at High Point, but gave up the points lead to Dylan Ferrandis. Align Media

It was a career day for Jalek Swoll in the 250 class.

Last week he earned a career-best of sixth in Moto 2 and finished seventh overall. At High Point, Swoll chased teammate RJ Hampshire for most of the race until a chain fell off the leader’s bike. Swoll had to fend off a late-race charge by by Colt Nichols, but did not put a wheel wrong on his way to not only his first top-five, but the moto win.

“I got that second in Supercross and that was great, but geez – an outdoor nationals win is unbelievable,” Swoll said from the top spot on the podium. “It’s one of those things I always dreamed about growing up.

“I’m not going to get too high on this. I’m just going to go out and try to do it again next moto.”

But the question remained if Moto 1 was a fluke. Swoll answered with a resounding ‘no’ in the second race with another podium finish. His 1-3 on the day gave him his first overall win of his career.

“To get a win here in front of all these fans is incredible,” Swoll said at ProMotocross.com. “My tongue was in the spokes, I was so tired, but I dug deep. I knew I could do this (win). We’ve put in so much work to have the opportunity to be here. I’m at a loss for words right now.”

Jett Lawrence finished third in Moto 1 behind Swoll and Nichols. He improved by a position in Moto 2 and finished second overall in Round 3.

For Lawrence, it was risk versus reward at the end.

“I got into second and tried to put in a charge on (Justin) Cooper, but noticed I wasn’t gaining much ground,” Lawrence said. “I realized I’d rather just settle in and ride for second rather than potentially lose more points. I’m not totally happy with my effort today, but we still finished second and had a good day in the championship.”

Cooper minimized the points’ loss by winning Moto 2. After tipping over in the first race and finishing fifth, he knew he could not give up any ground.

Cooper got out to an early lead and protected the gap between himself and Lawrence to win his first moto of the year.

With his 3-2, Lawrence was able to extend his points lead over Cooper to 11 points.

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (1-3)
  2. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-2)
  3. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (5-1)
  4. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (2-5)
  5. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (10-4)
  6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (7-6)
  7. Ty Masterpool, Paradise, Texas, GasGas (9-10)
  8. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (8-11)
  9. Dilan Schwartz, Alpine, Calif., Suzuki (6-13)
  10. Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., (13-7)

250 points standings

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 132
  2. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 121
  3. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 90
  4. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 88
  5. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 87
  6. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 85
  7. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 77
  8. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 72
  9. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 68
  10. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 68
Jalek Swoll swept the podium at High Point and earned his first overall win of his career. Align Media


Round 1: Dylan Ferrandis, Jett Lawrence victorious at Fox Raceway
Round 2: Ken Roczen’s perfect day as Justin Cooper takes 250s at Thunder Valley

Alexander Rossi ‘fits like a glove’ with his new IndyCar teammates at Arrow McLaren Racing

Alexander Rossi McLaren
Nate Ryan

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – There are more than three dozen fresh faces on the Arrow McLaren Racing IndyCar team, but there was one that Felix Rosenqvist was particularly keen to know – Alexander Rossi.

The driver of the No. 7 Dallara-Chevrolet is the most high-profile new hire for McLaren, which has expanded to a third car to pair with the No. 6 of Rosenqvist and No. 5 of Pato O’Ward.

And there is another layer than Rossi just being the new kid. McLaren marks only his second team in NTT IndyCar Series after seven seasons at Andretti Autosport, where he began with a victory in the 2016 Indy 500 and was a championship contender for several seasons.

Rossi is a mercurial talent, and when things go wrong, the red mist quickly descends (and sometimes has led to feuds with teammates). He went winless during two of his final seasons at Andretti and was out of contention more often than not, often bringing out the prickly side of his personality.

Yet there has been no trace of the dour Rossi since joining McLaren. The pragmatic Californian is quick to remind everyone he hasn’t worked with the team yet at a track (much less been in its car), and there surely will be times he gets frustrated.

But it’s clear that Rossi, who made five Formula One starts in 2015 after several years racing in Europe, already is meshing well with an organization whose England-based parent company has deep roots in F1.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Rosenqvist said Tuesday during IndyCar’s preseason media availabilities. “I think Alex kind of has that bad-guy role a little bit in IndyCar. He’s always been that guy, which is cool. I think we need those guys, as well.

“Actually having gotten to know him, he’s been super nice, super kind. He fits like a glove in the team. I think it fills a role where Pato is kind of like the crazy guy, I’m somewhere in the middle, and Alex is the more engineering guy in the team. I think Alex has more experience, as well. He just feels like a guy who knows what he wants.

“Yeah, good addition to the team and great guy at the same time.”

There are many reasons why Rossi’s transition from Andretti to McLaren should be smoother than his abrupt move from F1 to IndyCar seven years ago. Namely, he no longer is the only newcomer to the team’s culture.

“It’s been kind of a good time to come in because everyone is finding a new role and position and kind of learning who’s who, finding everyone’s strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

But while Rossi might have questions about the team, he has none about the series. Unlike when he arrived at Andretti without any oval experience, Rossi joins McLaren with his IndyCar credentials secured as an established star with eight victories, seven poles and 28 podiums over 114 starts.

Even in his swan song with Andretti, Rossi still managed a farewell victory last July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course that snapped a 49-race, three-year winless drought. It seems reasonable to believe he immediately could re-emerge in his 2017-19 title contender form.

“I know the series, and I know kind of everything that goes into American open-wheel racing vs. the European open-wheel racing, which is really the biggest transition,” Rossi said. “Certainly it’s the largest kind of team switch. I’ve obviously driven for different teams in the past in Europe, in sports cars, whatever, but never really in my full-time job. I’ve driven for the same organization for a very long time and have a lot of respect and fabulous memories with those people.

“So it has been a big kind of shift, trying to compare and contrast areas that I can bring kind of recommendations and experience to maybe help fill the gaps that exist at Arrow McLaren. Again, all of this is in theory, right? I don’t really know anything. We’ll have a much better idea and plan going into St. Pete (the March 5 season opener).”

He has gotten a good handle on how things work at its Indianapolis headquarters, though, and has been pleased by the leadership of new racing director Gavin Ward (who worked in F1 before a championship stint with Josef Newgarden at Team Penske). McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown also seems omnipresent on both sides of the Atlantic, making appearances at IndyCar races seemingly as much as in the F1 paddock.

“I think what’s very cool about Arrow McLaren is we do have the resources of the McLaren F1 team,” Rossi said. “They very much are being integrated in a lot of respects. It’s not two separate entities. McLaren Racing is one organization that has its people and resources and intellect in kind of everything. It’s been pretty cool to see how that can be an advantage to us in terms of people, resources, simulations, software, kind of everything. We’ve been able to kind of rely on that and use that as a tool that maybe other teams certainly don’t have.”

That will be helpful for Rossi with the methodologies and nuances of racing a Chevrolet for the first time after seven seasons with Honda.

And of course, there will be the relationship with O’Ward, who has been McLaren’s alpha star since 2020.

Rossi was in a similar role for Andretti, which raises questions about how McLaren will handle having two stars accustomed to being the face of the team. But O’Ward said IndyCar regulations should allow each driver to maintain their own style without being forced to adapt as in other series.

“At the end of the day, as much as teammates will help in order to gather data, it doesn’t mean they’re going to specifically help you in what you need because it’s a series where you can really tailor the car to what you want,” O’Ward said. “Rather than in Formula 1, (it’s) ‘This is the car, you need to learn how to drive this certain car.’ In IndyCar, it’s very different where you can customize it to what you want it to feel like or drive like.

“From past experience, I think Alex likes a car similar to what I do. I do think we have a very strong car in certain areas, but I definitely think he’s coming from a car where that other car has been stronger than us in other racetracks. I feel like if we can just find gains where we haven’t quite had a winning car, a podium car, that’s just going to help all of us.”

Though Thursday at The Thermal Club will mark the first time the trio works together at a track, Rosenqvist said he’s hung out a lot with Rossi (both are 31 years old) and deems his new teammate “well-integrated” in the simulator.

“I think the fit has been good with him, me and Pato,” Rosenqvist said. “On a trackside perspective, it’s obviously huge to have always a third opinion on things. Every driver’s opinion is valuable in its own way.”

Said O’Ward, 23: “It’s been great. (Rossi has) been great to have around. I think he needed a fresh start. I think he’s excited to really work with all of us, create the strongest package.”

Ever the realist, though, Rossi still is tempering some of his enthusiasm.

“Again, we haven’t really done anything yet other than some meetings and some team activities together,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for what they’ve done in IndyCar and also their prior careers. I think that we all bring something a little bit different to the table, which I think is really unique in terms of not only personalities but driving styles and experience levels.

“I think we have the ingredients to really be able to develop the team and continue to push the team forward to even a better level than what they’ve shown in the past. It’s been a really positive experience. Really I have nothing at all negative to say and can’t actually wait to get to work, get on track and start working together.”