Tomac and Cianciarulo on their up and down AMA opener
The opening round of the 2020 AMA Pro Motocross Championship kicked off Saturday at the inaugural Loretta Lynn’s National in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee as Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider and three-time defending 450 class champion, Eli Tomac, captured third overall on the day after earning 7-2 moto scores while teammate Adam Cianciarulo earned 12th overall in his premier class debut. In the 250 class, Cameron McAdoo claimed seventh overall (9-6) in his Pro Motocross debut with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team with his teammates Mitchell Harrison and Darian Sanayei scoring 15th and 18th overall respectively.
Due to the heavy downpour of rain the day before, the Kawasaki riders found themselves struggling with the rest of the field to make their way through the sloppy conditions as Tomac spent a vast majority of the second 450 class qualifying session trying to free his bike from the mud after getting stuck during the opening laps. He eventually managed to qualify seventh, three spots behind his teammate and 450 class rookie Cianciarulo who qualified fourth in his debut 450 class ride.
By the time the gate dropped on Moto 1 in the 450 class, the mud began to dry up, leaving behind some deep ruts presenting additional challenges as Tomac battled to seventh in the first lap with Cianciarulo in 10th. Halfway through the moto, Tomac and Cianciarulo raced their KX™450 motorcycles through similar lines at a good pace as they made their way up to fourth and fifth respectively. The teammates began to struggle with the changing track conditions in the latter portion of the moto, losing a few positions as Cianciarulo finished sixth and Tomac in seventh.
Moto 2 saw the reigning 250 class champion, Cianciarulo seize the lead early as he grabbed the holeshot, while Tomac found himself mid-pack off the gate before swiftly making his way up to eighth in the first lap. Tomac capitalized on the bike adjustments made in between motos as he charged forward to cross the finish line in second place and land on the podium for third overall (7-2) on the day. Just as it looked like smooth sailing for Cianciarulo, he caught a rut on the face of a jump and crashed hard, forcing him to roll off to the mechanic’s area to eventually withdraw from the moto resulting in a 12th place overall finish (6-38).
“Third overall on the day and the best way to put it is it was hot and cold. I was up front with the leading group in Moto 1, but I just went backward because I was struggling a bit and with the track. I just wasn’t comfortable, so the team and I made some changes to the bike between motos and I was able to improve and push to the front to be in the fight for the win in Moto 2. We’ll take this result on the day, but we’re looking forward to getting better when we get back out here again next weekend.”
– Eli Tomac
“The Loretta’s track was nothing like I remember. I had zero sense of nostalgia out there. The track was ripped way deeper and you need to ride so much harder than I ever did as an amateur here. Obviously I’m tired of crashing, but I felt really good in Moto 2 and even grabbed the holeshot. We’ll keep working hard over the week and suit up for better results for Round 2 at the Ranch.”
– Adam Cianciarulo
In their Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Pro Motocross debut rides, McAdoo and new teammates Harrison and Sanayei were greeted with hot and humid weather in typical outdoor national fashion. In addition to the weather challenges, the trio fought through their first-race jitters as Harrison qualified 13th, McAdoo 14th and Sanayei 22nd in the 250 class.
As the gate dropped on Moto 1, the teammates battled the 40-rider field to grab positions near the front as Harrison pushed forward in eighth on the opening lap and continued to gain positions, even breaking into the top-5 at one point before making a critical error towards the end of the moto and dropping back to finish 23rd. Both McAdoo and Sanayei found themselves further back in the pack but maneuvered their way onward as they went on to finish ninth and 14th, respectively.
Moto 2 saw all three Kawasaki teammates running in the top-10 before misfortune struck for Sanayei as he injured his shoulder during a mid-moto crash, ultimately retiring early to finish 18th overall (14-34). Harrison made sure to improve on his first moto performance as he crossed the finish line in ninth for 15th overall (23-9). It was the No. 29 of McAdoo with two solid and consistent motos for the day after racing to a sixth-place finish for seventh overall (9-6).
Round 2 of the 2020 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, originally scheduled to be in Washougal, Washington, will now continue next weekend on Saturday, August 22nd at the same beloved location of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
“All things considered, I am happy with today’s result. I tipped over early in the first moto which ended up costing me, but I was proud we were able to fight back up to ninth. In Moto 2, I got a much better jump out of the gate and was able to put in a solid ride from start to finish. I know what I need to work on and clean up for next week and we’ll come back out swinging again. I can’t thank my entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team enough for giving me such an amazing bike, my KX™250 was an absolute beast!”
– Cameron McAdoo
“Well, I can’t be too mad about today. We showed some great speed and consistency throughout the entire day. In Moto 1, I was running top-5 and then I made a boneheaded mistake in the back sand sweeper as I was trying to protect my line and went down. It took me a bit to get going again which ended up hurting my overall. We bounced back in Moto 2 with a ninth place to finish the day out 15th overall. I can’t thank Mitch (Payton) and the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki team enough for this incredible opportunity to race this amazing bike each week. We are going to continue to improve and push each week and put this bike where it belongs, on the podium.”
– Mitchell Harrison
“Loretta’s was a tough one for me and I was just off all day. In the first moto, I fell around 10 minutes into it and had to work my way up from 20th to 14th. The second moto I started off good, but I made a few mistakes and I just wasn’t riding at a good pace. Later in the moto, I crashed and popped my shoulder out, so I wasn’t able to finish out the race. I’ll go get it checked out and hope to be back on the bike and ready for Round 2.”
– Darian Sanayei
Words and images: Kawasaki