Who impressed: AMA MX RD 1

Dylan Ferrandis: This was a brilliant day for the Frenchman. Plagued with a lot of bad starts in supercross Ferrandis had two decent starts in his 450 motocross debut and the 250 national champ showed he was going to be an instant title threat outdoors on the bigger machine. Ferrandis took the lead after AC crashed and pulled away until Chase Sexton made a late race charge and nearly got the Frenchman in the line, but Ferrandis held on to take the win – and surprised himself with the victory! His start wasn’t quite as good in race two but it was still good enough to get to third and secure the overall and the red plate. This was brilliant from Ferrandis, he showed speed and patience when required plus his starts appear to be good enough to give him the platform to challenge for this title.

Ken Roczen: It might be the first ever time Ken Roczen was surprised at a win! Normally extremely self-confident, Roczen confessed he could not believe he won the second moto and admitted he was five seconds off the pace of his rivals during the week! But come race-day, Roczen had the pace all day and some brilliant roll speed in the turns. Arm pump reduced his result to sixth in race one but the pace was evident early in the moto until his arms filled with lactic acid. But in race two he set a pace only Plessinger could match, he thwarted every pass attempt by the Yamaha man and when Aaron made a mistake Roczen regained control to take brilliant win under the context of how his supercross season ended and the “disconnect” he revealed he felt about outdoors coming into the season – he looks connected with it now!

Justin Barcia: The Gas Gas rider wasn’t high on the list of title contenders but Justin Barcia was really impressive at Pala – especially in the first moto. A not so great start put Barcia into Bam Bam mode and despite a comparatively one-line track, Barcia made some aggressive moves on Tomac, Webb and Cianciarulo to blast his way into fourth. Race two was solid even if Ferrandis did find his way past but in a class with a string to ten, Barcia showed he can come from behind and stay up front if he gets the start to post two strong fourth place finishes on a day where consistency of result wasn’t consistent amongst most of the big bitters!

Max Vohland: What a showing by Max Vohland! I’m not sure anyone expected Vohland, who was around the top ten in EMX125 a year ago and just solid in supercross this year, to come out and lead his first pro National for 20 minutes! Vohland looked brilliant out front and appeared to have a top three secured with a couple of minutes to go until his bike expired. Amazingly, Vohland didn’t even look angry and was even smiling as he walked back to the pits. An outside gate pick didn’t deter the rookie in race two and he gated third and once more was on the pace in the top five until a collision with Hampshire saw them both hit the deck. From there Vohland showed guts and speed, he didn’t let his head drop with the misfortune, and fought back through to seventh, and prove his first moto speed was no fluke. Vohland might just be for real this summer.

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Jett Lawrence: Speed, style and patience got Jett Lawrence the win at Pala as the teenager showed maturity beyond his years. A bad start saw Lawrence ride through the field to second in a great moto one performance in a scenario that could easily has seen Lawrence become frustrated and hit the deck. In race two he got a better start but didn’t rush things taking his time to get around his title rivals, Justin Cooper and Jeremy Martin, to beat them straight up and send a warning to the rest of the field. His emotions after the win showed how badly he wants this title and how much it means but on the track Jett is cold and calculated, feet on the pegs with a great style in some ways similar to Stefan Everts. Jett of course spent a bit of time around Stefan growing up in Belgium being good friends with Liam – who also looks on his way to being one of next stars of the sport!

Article: Jonathan McCready

Images: Align media