JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin claimed his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 class victory of the season in the tour’s debut at WW Ranch Motocross Park Saturday afternoon.
The opening 450 class moto saw Cooper Webb surge to his class-leading third holeshot over Ken Roczen. The foes went at it over the course of the opening lap, with Roczen attempting several passes that were ultimately defended by Webb.
Webb was able to keep the championship co-leader behind and complete the opening lap with the lead, but Roczen continued to attack and soon seized control of the moto. As this captivating battle unfolded, fellow championship co-leader Eli Tomac was mired in 18th and had to make a series of tough passes in the opening laps just to break into the top 10.
Once in the lead, Roczen was able to assert himself at the front of the field while Webb began to lose ground to his teammate, Musquin. The Frenchman sensed the opportunity to pass Webb for second and wasted little time in taking advantage of the first opportunity he got to drop his teammate to third.
From there, Musquin set his sights on Roczen. Soon enough the former MXGP rivals were duking it out for the lead. Musquin searched for every possible line in his quest to find a way around Roczen, but the German consistently countered those moves. Musquin’s relentless pressure on Roczen almost led to a crash from the Frenchman, but he saved it and never let up, eventually making the pass stick shortly after the halfway point of the moto.
The clear track allowed Musquin to storm out to a comfortable lead over the field, while Roczen settled into second. With about 10 minutes left in the moto the battle for third heated up between Webb and Jason Anderson. The race’s top qualifier appeared to be quicker than Webb, but he was unable to make the pass happen as Webb responded by picking up his pace.
Anderson didn’t give up, however, and regrouped for a couple laps to prepare for one final push, quickly closing back in on Webb’s rear fender before making an impressive pass for the position. Anderson’s late surge pressed on, and with two laps to go he found himself mere bike lengths behind Roczen. However, the German stepped up in response to the pressure.
Musquin was dominant en route to his first moto win since the 10th round at Unadilla last August, crossing the line 7.7 seconds ahead of Roczen, with Anderson right behind in third. Webb soldiered home in fourth, while rookie Zach Osborne was fifth. Tomac never made his presence felt in the moto, but battled through the field to finish seventh.
Tomac seized the moment to start Moto 2 and took his first holeshot of the season ahead of Osborne. Anderson slotted in behind his teammate in third, while the KTM’s of Musquin and Webb, along with Roczen, gave pursuit. With a clear track ahead of him Tomac sprinted in the opening stages in an effort to build a margin that he could manage as the moto continued. Anderson applied pressure on Osborne and made an impressive pass to take over second. Osborne attempted to fight back, but to no avail.
Tomac needed just over a lap to storm out to nearly a five-second lead, which left everyone else to battle for the remaining spots on the podium. Anderson gave chase from second, while Osborne was left to deal with Musquin for third. The rookie held off his training partner for a while, but the Frenchman utilized alternate lines to make the pass and move into third.
The field stabilized through the middle portion of the moto, with multiple seconds between each rider in the top five. However, the big-picture battle in the championship changed after Roczen went down while running fifth. Roczen and Tomac entered the race tied atop the point standings, but Roczen began the second moto with the upper hand. Roczen remounted in seventh, but continued to lose positions. As this unfolded, Anderson’s pace dropped dramatically and he dropped from second to fourth, moving Musquin up to second and Osborne up to third.
Musquin managed to get Tomac in his sights late in the moto, but the reigning series champion responded. As the moto wore on, Musquin’s pace dropped. He lost touch with Tomac and then lost considerable ground to Osborne in third. With just three laps to go, Osborne made the pass on Musquin to take over second.
Tomac managed a perfect moto to take his fifth checkered flag of the season, 4.1 seconds ahead of Osborne. Musquin held on for third.
Musquin’s 1-3 scores carried him to the eighth overall win of his career and ends a six-race winless streak. Despite his slow start to the afternoon, Tomac’s win in the final moto vaulted him to the runner-up spot in the overall classification (7-1), while Osborne’s late pass on Musquin landed him third (5-2).
“I tried [to catch Tomac]. I knew I had the overall, but winning both motos is the best,” said Musquin. “I just kind of ran out of energy there at the end. I’m a little disappointed. I didn’t see Zach coming [from third], but it’s still good. I salvaged third place [in the moto], and that was good enough to earn the overall.”
In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper emerged to take the first professional win of his career.
Cooper’s consistent 2-2 results were enough to give him the first professional win of his career, edging out Dylan Ferrandis (4-1) by a single point. Adam Cianciarulo saw his four-race win streak come to an end in third (5-3).
“[I won] because I got out front, and that felt good. That [Moto 2] was the longest moto of my life. I’m just so spent right now,” said Cooper. “To [win] in this heat really says something, and it feels great to finally get this [the win] off my back.”