Roczen Soars To Thunder Valley Glory
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – For the second straight week, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen claimed the overall victory in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 450 class thanks to a victory in the final moto of the afternoon during Saturday’s 10th annual Toyota Thunder Valley National from Thunder Valley MX Park.
In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett broke through for his first win of the season, becoming just the second winner this season in the division.
In the opening 450 Class moto, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Josh Grant raced to the Motosport.com Holeshot Award but his spot at the front of the field was short lived as Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart assumed the lead just a short time later. Stewart set a fast pace in the opening laps to open a small margin while Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey worked his way into second and set his sights on catching the Suzuki rider out front. Behind them, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard and Roczen also made their way past Grant to take over third and fourth, respectively.
A short time later, a four-rider breakaway put the battle for the moto win amongst Stewart, Dungey, Canard and Roczen. Dungey pressured Stewart throughout the first half of the moto, even making a brief pass for the lead, but was unable to take control of the position. As the battle continued out front, Roczen passed Canard for third and was soon putting pressure on the lead duo. While looking for a way around Stewart, Dungey was passed by Roczen for second on lap 13.
On the following lap, Dungey fell while chasing Stewart and Roczen, losing a position to Canard and slotting into fourth. Out front, Roczen put the pressure on Stewart coming to the white flag but the former champion held him at bay to lead the entire moto and capture his first win of the 2014 season. Roczen followed in second, with Canard third, Dungey fourth, and Grant fifth.
As the gate dropped for the second moto, it was Canard who made the first move by grabbing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award with Dungey, Grant, Roczen, and Stewart in tow. Canard and Dungey took control early on, but Roczen was able to surge past his teammate into second by the end of the opening lap and proceeded to battle with Canard for the lead the next couple laps before ultimately taking control of the moto on lap three.
Canard then fell into the clutches of Dungey, who eventually made the pass for second and attempted to reel in Roczen. Dungey closed in to just about two seconds at the halfway point of the moto, but lapped riders ultimately kept the distance between the two KTM riders consistent throughout the remainder of the race. Roczen crossed the finish just over six seconds ahead of Dungey, while Stewart passed Canard halfway through the moto to finish third.
In the overall classification Roczen’s 2-1 moto results helped him edge out Stewart (1-3) for the win by just two points. Dungey’s strong second moto effort helped secure third overall (4-2). Canard (3-4) and Grant (5-6) rounded out the top five.
“It’s early to really say anything [about the championship],” said Roczen, who won his first career 450 Class race one week ago. “I feel like I’m riding good right now and I feel strong. I got a good jump [in the first moto] but didn’t get up the hill well and had to fight my way through. I made some adjustments to the bike [in between motos] to make it easier to ride and it paid off. I just want to keep clicking [races] away like I’ve been doing and stay healthy.”
Roczen extended his lead in the 450 Class standings and now holds a 12-point lead over Dungey. Stewart moved into third, 30 points behind Roczen, while Canard sits fourth, 31 points out of the lead.