Dylan Ferrandis resets expectations with solid fourth-place finish in 2023 SuperMotocross opener

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After a disappointing 2022 season in both the Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross seasons, Dylan Ferrandis is ready to reset expectations with a bid to be the first 450 champion in the 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship.

Leaving the 250 ranks behind in 2020, Ferrandis was riding as high as possible. He won the 2019 250 West division in Supercross and finished second in the outdoor series. The following year, he swept both championships, and had the SuperMotocross World Championship existed then, he would have been to top seed to walk away with the guaranteed $500,000 dollar prize.

What he earned was arguably more valuable as he secured a ride in the 450 class. That first season at the top level, Ferrandis showed a lot of consistency. Without a win to his credit, he scored four top-fives and 11 top-10s. He finished second to Eli Tomac in the second Houston race to land seventh in the points’ standings. That galvanized the rider and when the outdoor season began, he was on a mission.

In 2021, Ferrandis stood on the podium in 12 rounds and won the overall in half of those attempts on his way to the championship.

Last year was not nearly as successful. Ferrandis missed races in both series and finished outside the top 10.

But now it’s time for Ferrandis to reset for the 2023 SuperMotocross season.

“Every season is a reset,” Ferrandis told NBC Sports the day before the opening round of the 31-race combined season. “You start the first race with everybody at the same point, nobody has a point in the championship so everybody’s on the same page. So, for sure it’s a reset, but you also learn from the past season. I plan on not doing the same mistake and I want be better and the new Yamaha bike is a big step up for me and I’m sure it’s going to help me a lot to be better this season.”

On the opening lap of Anaheim 1, Ferrandis was not thinking about that reset. He completed Lap 1 in the middle of the pack, riding ninth among 22 competitors. He did not blaze his way to the lead. On a gnarly track that rutted quickly because of a week’s worth of rain, he meticulously worked his way forward, moving into seventh on Lap 4 of 21 and fifth by Lap 10. With six laps remaining, he climbed to fourth.

One reason for his precise procession through the field was likely the two injuries he suffered in 2022.

MORE: Dylan Ferrandis lands fourth on NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings

“It was two different injuries,” Ferrandis said. “In Supercross, it wasn’t too bad. It was a bone bruise. It didn’t need surgery whatsoever, but I couldn’t ride my bike. I was out for two weeks and then the championship was over.

“And then in Motocross I dislocated and broke at my left thumb. I couldn’t ride with that kind of injury and needed surgery. Two unfortunate injuries that cost me two championships. It’s the sport. It happened.”

Those missed races and poor showings in the points might have hurt his confidence, but racers have an uncanny knack for putting the past behind them. After finishing with a best result of seventh in two Motocross races in the middle of the season, Ferrandis gave himself a month to heal. He didn’t wait for the Supercross season to launch.

Ferrandis finished third in open competition at the Motocross of Nations, and was part of the French team that finished second in the Nations’ results by giving them a fourth- and sixth-place result.

“I raced in the Motocross of Nations,” Ferrandis said. “That was my last race and it wasn’t a long time ago, and I did good, so I still know I can do it.

“It’s not like I’ve been out for full year.”

A solid testing session in October added to his renewed confidence and now the reset is complete. Ferrandis has his eye set on the 2023 SuperMotocross title – and he has the memory of his 2021 Pro Motocross title to override any negative thoughts about last year.

Dylan Ferrandis in concussion protocol after Houston Supercross accident, Tampa status undetermined

Ferrandis Houston accident
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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After suffering a frightening accident at Houston in the Monster Energy Supercross race, Dylan Ferrandis reports he is okay, but will be on concussion protocol and his status for Tampa this week is not yet determined.

Two laps into last week’s Main, Ferrandis was engaged in a battle with Ken Roczen for eighth place. Ferrandis landed on the back Roczen’s bike and was thrown, landing headfirst on the track. Ferrandis momentarily lost consciousness and the race was red flagged so he could be attended to by the Alpinestars medical team.

“I’m okay after my crash in the main event. I hit my head first and got knock[ed] out for some minutes,” Ferrandis posted in an Instagram story. “Everything else is fine and I am okay now fortunately. Will follow the concussion protocol and will see when I can ride again.”

Ferrandis regained consciousness, the medical crew fitted Ferrandis with a neck brace and he was able to stand and walk to the cart under his own power. Ferrandis was sitting up when he left the track with a member of the crew stabilizing his neck.

“It was an awesome ride [for Eli] and a good way to come back from last weekend,” said Jeremy Coker, Team Manager for Star Racing Yamaha at RacerXOnline.com. “It was also the lowest of lows. Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport, but to see one of your guys crash the way Dylan did and to see him lying there was pretty tough. Fortunately, when I got to him, he was able to open his eyes and looked at me and said my name, and it was a huge relief to see him stand up and walk away.”

Ferrandis was off to a strong start in 2023 with a worst finish of sixth at San Diego in the first three races. He entered Houston sixth in the standings, one point behind Jason Anderson.

Ferrandis’ teammate Eli Tomac went on to win the race.

Also riding for Star Racing Yamaha and making his 450cc Supercross debut, Justin Cooper advanced from 13th at the end of Lap 1 to finish seventh.