Ken Roczen dominated the first 450 moto at Thunder Valley and rode a smart second moto to take home his second overall win of the season. Check out the complete race recap here!
Official release from Wiseco.
Ken Roczen made it two for three Saturday afternoon as the rider of the No. 94 Honda CRF450R collected his second overall victory in three races to start the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season.
Roczen tallied a 1-2 effort aboard his Wiseco-sponsored Honda CRF in the True Value Thunder Valley National at Thunder Valley Motocross Park near Denver to pick up his not only his second overall win of the season, but his sixth straight top-three finish in as many motos to kick off the 2019 outdoors schedule.
The victory marked the 17th Pro Motocross win of Roczen’s career and positions the two-time series titlist with a two-point advantage over his nearest championship rival heading into the first off weekend of the season.
Denver has long been known as the Mile-High City, which is spot on, given the municipality is situated 5,280 feet above sea level. Following a dominating performance in the first premier 450 Class moto Saturday afternoon and given Roczen’s 35-plus second cushion when he took the checkered flag, it wouldn’t have been much of stretch to call it the “mile-wide” win.
“I’m stoked to come away with another overall win and to get the red plate back,” commented Roczen following his 17th career Pro Motocross win. “The first moto was awesome. I’m honestly not sure what happened, but the gate just dropped and I was on. I like the track and the ruts, so something just clicked. I could really just make something happen quickly in the first few laps and get away from the pack. It was a good feeling to have a gap and finish the moto not having to worry about everything.”
In the second moto, the 25-year-old rider got another good jump out of the starting gate and was back on top of the leader board by Lap 2. Roczen held down the top spot for the next eight laps before yielding the point to championship rival Eli Tomac just after the halfway mark.
“The track was a lot gnarlier in the second moto,” Roczen continued. “I led about half the race but then Eli and I had a good battle, then even when he went by, I tried to stick right behind him. He obviously gapped me a bit, especially when we started to get into some lappers. There were a few sketchy moments with some of them. I tried my best to stay with him but also didn’t want to risk making too big of a mistake, so I just rode solid to the finish.”
Roczen’s Team Honda HRC teammate Cole Seely raced as high as fifth in the opening 450 Class moto but a late-race get-off relegated him to ninth at the checkered flag. The Newbury Park, Calif., native struggled to find his rhythm in the second moto and came up just short in his bid for a top 10. Still, Seely was able to combine for a 9-12 outing to be credited with an 11th-place finish at day’s end.
“This weekend definitely went better than the past weekends, but unfortunately it doesn’t really show that in the results,” Seely said. “The first moto I felt like I had a really good flow and got into the zone. I started setting good lap times and picked my way through the pack. I went from 10th and almost passed into fourth before I fell over. I kind of knocked the wind out of myself because the bike just stopped in the rut and I went forward into the bars. I managed to get up and finish ninth. In the second moto, I definitely didn’t have the same flow. I was just a little off and I think it was a combination of the altitude and being a bit tired from the first race. I just tried to push through it and tried to manage my energy and fight my way through, but I wasn’t able to put together the results I needed. I’m looking forward to continuing to build and getting stronger.”
In 250 Class competition, Wiseco was represented by the four-rider GEICO Honda squad of Chase Sexton, R.J. Hampshire, Hunter Lawrence and Christian Craig.
Sexton led the way for the factory-backed Honda effort, riding a 7-6 showing into a fifth-place overall finish. Hampshire, Lawrence and Craig came home seventh, eighth and 18th, respectively.
Despite the top five, Sexton, the 2019 Supercross Eastern Regional 250SX Class Champion, had greater goals coming into Round 3.
“Definitely not what I wanted, at all,” lamented Sexton. “I struggled with starts and couldn’t get to the front like I wanted. I just want a holeshot, just to see what it’s like. I don’t think I’ve ever had a holeshot outdoors. My standards are high now. You win the supercross title, you expect to at least be on the podium, battling for race wins. I keep ending up top five, which is good, but I’m frustrated. I want to be better than that.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take the weekend off before returning to action a week from Saturday in Mount Morris, PA. The first motos from the Circle K High Point National will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., June 15 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Pacific. Live coverage of the second 450 Class moto will shift to NBC beginning at 3 p.m. EDT, noon Pacific. NBSCN will carry the second 250 Class moto live at 4 p.m., EDT, 1 p.m. Pacific. Fans can also purchase the Pro Motocross Pass on NBC Sports Gold to view all 12 rounds live and commercial free.