Race report: Baggett and Savatgy victorious in Colorado!
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (June 3, 2017) – The third round of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, brought the world’s most prestigious off-road motorcycle racing series to mile-high altitude of the Denver area on Saturday for the 13th running of the True Value Thunder Valley National at Thunder Valley Motocross Park. The most competitive afternoon of racing this season produced a pair of new winners, with RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Blake Baggett capturing his first career 450 Class victory and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy coming away with his first 250 Class win of the season.
The opening 450 Class moto produced immediate drama after a first-turn incident involving Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant collected both RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Blake Baggett and Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin, last week’s winner and championship leader. Out front, it was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Martin Davalos who secured his first career Motosport.com Holeshot, ahead of RCH/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Bogle and his Husqvarna teammate Jason Anderson. Opening round winner Eli Tomac started just outside the top five aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki, while Musquin officially began his moto in 19th.
Davalos crashed out of the lead on the opening lap and remounted in ninth, which handed over control of the moto to Bogle. Anderson slotted into second, while Autotrader/Monster Energy/Suzuki/JGRMX’s Justin Barcia moved into third just ahead of Tomac. After patiently waiting for his opportunity behind Barcia, Tomac broke into podium position on Lap 3. The second-place holder in the championship was poised to gain valuable ground on his main rival until a rut kicked his leg off the bike in a turn and caused a tip over on Lap 5. That gave third to Barcia briefly, before giving up the spot to Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely on the same lap. Tomac would need to restart his Kawasaki, falling from third to sixth just ahead of Musquin, who had made an impressive charge through the field. Tomac held off an initial challenge from Musquin and then set his sights on the riders ahead.
Out front, Bogle found himself in unfamiliar territory in full control of the moto and rode consistent laps to not only keep Anderson at bay, but also establish a lead of more than five seconds halfway through the moto. Behind him, Tomac and Musquin’s battle wasn’t finished. After both riders got around RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Broc Tickle for fifth and sixth, respectively, Tomac’s momentum stalled as he fought to get around Barcia for fourth. That allowed Musquin to close in and get back around Tomac before making his way around Barcia as well. Tomac needed an additional lap to finally get by Barcia for fifth and was then forced to deal with pressure from Baggett, who was also successfully fighting back from his first-turn misfortune that relegated him to 26th on the opening lap.
On Lap 10 Baggett passed Tomac for fifth, leaving the Colorado crowd in shock. Baggett’s charge carried him to Musquin’s rear fender, where he and the points leader engaged in an spirited battle for fourth before Baggett made the pass stick. That wasn’t all from Baggett. He continued to set the fastest laps on the track in the late stages of the moto and closed in on Seely for third, successfully making the pass on Lap 13. A persistent Musquin soon followed Baggett by Seely for fourth.
From the moment he took the lead, Bogle easily controlled the remainder of the moto and went on to take his first career moto victory 8.6 seconds ahead of Anderson in second. A hard-charging Baggett finished a close third. Musquin recovered to finish fourth, while Tomac lost a position late to Barcia to finish seventh.
Baggett’s momentum Moto 1 carried over into Moto 2, where he stole the lead on the opening lap from Motosport.com Holeshot winner Tickle. However, his lead was short lived at Tomac surged to the front with a roar from the hometown crowd. Behind them, Barcia settled into third, with Bogle and Tickle rounding out the top five. Musquin started in ninth, but was able to make headway early.
The torrid pace of Tomac and Baggett allowed them to open a significant gap over the field early on, leaving the battle for third to unfold between a handful of riders. As both Tickle and Bogle slipped back, Anderson and Musquin surged forward, with both riders breaking into the top five and setting their sights on Barcia for third. Musquin was able to make the pass on Anderson for fourth on Lap 3, and then moved into podium position by Barcia just a short time later. Anderson followed Musquin into fourth. Anderson went off the track on Lap 7 and lost several positions, falling to sixth.
Out front the battle for the lead intensified right about the halfway point with Baggett applying pressure to Tomac, but unable to generate enough momentum to attempt a pass. They continued to pace each other for several laps until Baggett pulled the trigger on Lap 7, storming along the outside of Tomac up the steepest part of the track and utilizing a mountainside berm to slip past the Kawasaki. Once in the lead Baggett continued to charge and opened up a multiple second lead almost immediately.
Baggett went unchallenged throughout the remainder of the race to secure his first career moto win, making him the fifth different winner in six motos this season. He crossed the line 12.1 seconds ahead of Tomac, with Musquin following in third.
The 3-1 effort for Baggett was more than enough to clinch his first overall victory in the 450 Class, making him the 66th different winner in the history of the division. The win is also the first for the RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM effort. Musquin finished second (4-3), while Anderson’s third-place finish (2-6) puts the same trio of riders on the podium for the second consecutive round.
Baggett’s triumph, combined with Musquin’s win one week ago, gives the 450 Class back-to-back first-time winners. It’s the first time since 2001 that there have been three different winners through the first three rounds of the championship.
“After Moto 2 and Glen Helen [last week] I knew what I needed to work on. I knew what my strong points were. The goal is to win races and everything is new [with the team], so we’re still figuring things out, but I felt good from the first lap of practice today and it kind of went on from there,” said Baggett. “I felt like I had the speed today and I was patient with Eli [Tomac] in the second moto. Once the opportunity presented itself [for the lead] I needed to take it and run with it, so that’s what I did.”
Musquin added to his lead in the 450 Class standings and now holds a 17-point advantage over Tomac, who finished fifth (7-2). Baggett remains third, 19 points out of the lead and just two points out of second.
The first 250 Class moto saw Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Alex Martin grab his first Motosport.com Holeshot of the season with his brother and GEICO Honda rider Jeremy Martin in tow, followed by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne, the championship leader and winner of the first two rounds. A heated battle for second started immediately between Jeremy Martin, Cianciarulo, and Osborne, which allowed Alex Martin to quickly pull out to a comfortable lead. After moving past Cianciarulo for third, Osborne attempted to make a run on Jeremy Martin for second and tipped over, causing him to lose valuable ground and remount in 16th place.
With Alex Martin asserting himself out front, Cianciarulo was able to move past Jeremy Martin for second and set his sights on the lead. However, as he navigated through one of the track’s heavily rutted turns on Lap 1 he brushed the ground and lost all momentum, causing him to lose several positions before continuing in eighth. That misfortune allowed Jeremy Martin to reclaim second, and moved Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Mitchell Harrison into third. Two laps later Martin experienced a bobble of his own, which forced him to veer off his line and allowed Harrison to take over second, dropping Martin to third. As this unfolded, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger closed in from fourth and fifth, respectively.
Harrison ran second for two laps but then came under fire from his more experienced counterparts. Jeremy Martin reclaimed second on Lap 4, bringing Savatgy with him into third. Plessinger followed them on the following lap into fourth. Martin and Savatgy then picked up the pace in their battle for second, soon erasing a multiple second deficit to Alex Martin out front. On Lap 10 the top four riders were all separated by less than three seconds, with Jeremy closing to within less than a second of his brother and targeting the lead. As they navigated through lapped riders, Savatgy was able to take advantage of a bad line choice by Jeremy Martin to take over second. He then set his sights on Alex Martin for the lead. Savatgy got close to the rear fender of the KTM, but Martin withstood the challenge.
As the hotly contested battle for the top spot continued, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner was on a torrid charge of his own through the field after starting sixth. Forkner stormed past Plessinger for fourth and then closed in on Jeremy Martin for third, successfully making the pass on Lap 13. His late-race surge continued and seemingly caught his teammate Savatgy off guard as he made the pass for second on Lap 15. With Alex Martin within reach, Forkner moved to mere bike lengths of the lead with two laps to go. However, a near off-track excursion forced Forkner to lose ground and settle into postion in as Savatgy closed back in from third. Despite losing touch with the lead, Forkner was able to maintain control of second. On the final lap Jeremy Martin was able to get by Savatgy for third.
Alex Martin took his first moto win of the season 1.4 seconds ahead of Forkner, with Jeremy Martin rounding out the podium following what was undoubtedly the most competitive race of the young season. Osborne recovered from his opening-lap fall to finish eighth.
As the field stormed into the first turn to start Moto 2, it was Savatgy who emerged with the Motosport.com Holeshot over the Yamaha duo of Harrison and Plessinger, with Jeremy Martin and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis right behind. Alex Martin started in seventh, with Osborne eighth.
Plessinger was able to get by Savatgy on the opening lap and fended off a counter-attack, while Ferrandis began to apply pressure on Harrison for third, successfully taking over the position on Lap 1. With a strong hold on first Plessinger lost control of his motorcycle on Lap 3 and flew off the track, handing the lead over to Savatgy. Ferrandis moved into second, while Jeremy Martin took control of third after getting around Harrison. Forkner followed into fourth. The lead group then stabilized through the mid portion of the moto, sitting within four seconds of one another. Behind them both Osborne and Alex Martin made their way around Harrison to take over fifth and sixth, respectively. Just a short time later Osborne bobbled and went off the side of the track, allowing Martin to move into fifth.
On Lap 7 Jeremy Martin applied pressure on Ferrandis for second and successfully made the pass. With the battle for the overall victory coming down to he and Savatgy, Martin then made a push for the lead. The leaders traded fast laps, staying about a second of one another throughout. Every time Martin would make a run, Savatgy was able to counter, and successfully used lapped riders to his advantage as the race wore on. Behind them Ferrandis dropped out of podium when he fell on Lap 10, giving up third to Forkner and allowing Alex Martin to take over fourth, which added intrigue to the overall classification. At that point Savatgy and Alex Martin sat tied for the overall win, with Jeremy Martin needing to get past Savatgy to steal the win for himself.
Despite the high tension, no further passes occurred at the front of the field. Savatgy narrowly took his first moto win of the season by less than a half second over Jeremy Martin, with Forkner in third just ahead of Alex Martin.
Savatgy (4-1) and Alex Martin (1-4) finished the afternoon with identical moto scores, but Savatgy’s crucial victory in the final moto was enough to give him the tiebreaker for the win. Jeremy Martin finished just a couple points from the win in third (3-2), while Forkner was left off the podium despite identical finishes to Martin (2-3), missing out on the tiebreaker.
Savatgy became the first rider to win back-to-back races at Thunder Valley Motocross Park, and gave Kawasaki its 10th victory at the track in 13 seasons. It’s the fifth win of his career, and his first since the fourth round last season.
“I definitely struggled myself [to start the season] with a few things. There were a couple areas on the bike that could have been better [as well] and we made a lot of progress,” said Savatgy. “I felt like we’ve improved each week and I know from my experience last year it’s a long series, so consistency is important. I was hoping to come away with a strong result before heading east, where I feel more comfortable, and we did that.”
Osborne’s fifth-place finish (8-5) was enough to maintain the points lead, which sat at 21 points entering the day. He heads into the first off weekend of the season nine points ahead of Alex Martin, who moved from third to second. Jeremy Martin vaulted from sixth to third in points, and sits 18 markers back.
The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will observe its first break in action next weekend before returning on Saturday, June 17, for the fourth round of the season at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania. First motos of the Red Bull High Point National can be seen live on MAVTV at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, while the second 450 Class moto will mark the 2017 debut on NBC, live at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the final 250 Class moto can be seen on NBC Sports Network at 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
True Value Thunder Valley National
Thunder Valley Motocross Park – Lakewood, Colorado
June 3, 2017
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (3-1)
Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM (4-3)
Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (2-6)
Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki (1-9)
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (7-2)
Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (5-10)
Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna (9-7)
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (8-8)
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Suzuki (6-12)
Martin Davalos, Quito, Ecuador, Husqvarna (10-11)
450 Class Championship Standings
Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM – 127
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 110
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 108
Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 93
Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki – 86
Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna – 84
Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 81
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki – 79
Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki – 76
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Suzuki – 69
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (4-1)
Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM (1-4)
Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (3-2)
Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (2-3)
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (8-5)
Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha (9-6)
Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (6-12)
Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha (11-8)
Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM (10-9)
Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., Husqvarna (12-10)
250 Class Championship Standings
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 119
Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM – 110
Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 101
Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 93
Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 89
Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 89
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 85
Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 78
Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha – 66
Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha – 64