Supercross

Eli Tomac Happy With Perfect Start To AMA Supercross Title Defence

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Photo of Eli Tomac at the opening round of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Eli Tomac (1) got off to a great start, taking the runner-up spot in qualifying and grabbing the holeshot in the first 450SX heat race en route to a dominant victory

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing enjoyed a stellar debut with the all-new YZ450F at the opening round of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season.

Eli Tomac added Anaheim 1 winner to his list of career achievements, taking a thrilling victory at last Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross season opener.

It was a stellar first outing for the 2023 YZ450F at the Angels Stadium of Anaheim, with teammate Dylan Ferrandis also showing strength and narrowly missing the podium in a drama-filled 450SX Main Event.

Photo of Eli Tomac at the opening round of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Tomac with the first silverware of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship

Riders were met with challenging conditions after Mother Nature drenched Southern California in the lead-up to the opening round of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship series. Tomac got off to a great start, taking the runner-up spot in qualifying and grabbing the holeshot in the first 450SX heat race en route to a dominant victory. In the main event, he took over the lead on Lap 3, but unfortunately, before the halfway point, he crashed on the tunnel jump and was shuffled to sixth. The reigning champ put on a masterclass performance, making his way back to the front in the final laps to score his first Anaheim 1 victory at the debut race for the all-new YZ450F.

Photo of Eli Tomac at the opening round of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Despite this small acrobatic effort in the main event Eli Tomac rebounded quickly and went on to with the season opener. Photo: Align Media

“It was an amazing Anaheim 1! It’s pretty special for us to do this at round one with a new platform, and for me, it’s been 10 years that I’ve been in the 450 class, so it feels good to get this win,” Tomac said.

“It was an unbelievable day for us as a whole,” he continued. “I was P2 in practice and was very close to first place there, and then in the heat race, I got the holeshot and ran away with that one. That was awesome. In the main event, there was so much that happened there. I was really close to the holeshot again. I was right there and battled with Justin (Barcia). I made a pass for the lead and then made a mistake. I had a crash on the tunnel jump and ended up washing out. At that point in time, I thought the chance at the lead again was maybe over, but thankfully my bike was still straight, and everything was good. I somehow made it to the front of the pack again, so it was a wild turn of events, but overall the bike worked so well today. We’re off to the right start.”

Photo of Dylan Ferrandis at the opening round of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Dylan Ferrandis also enjoyed a great start to the new season with fourth palce.

Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis also enjoyed a great start to the new season. The Frenchman qualified sixth and took a runner-up spot in the heat race, giving the team a stellar 1-2 finish. He got off to a solid start in the main event and made his way from ninth to fifth by the halfway point. With his eyes set on a podium, he kept charging but, unfortunately, made a mistake in the challenging conditions and ended up just shy of the final podium spot in fourth.

“It was a good day. Honestly, it was the best opening round for me in the 450 class,” the Frenchman said. “I had a chance to be on the box tonight. I was third at some point in the main event, but a small mistake cost me the podium. In the end, I finished fourth and was right on the wheel of the third guy, so it’s a good result, and I’m really happy with that first race. Honestly, after two very bad seasons in supercross, it’s good to be back in the mix and back to fighting for podiums. I know what I’m capable of, and I think tonight, I didn’t race to my full potential. I know I have a small margin to improve, and I’m ready for next week. The new bike is just so much better for me in supercross. I think we proved it tonight with Eli. He won, and I finished fourth. It’s a good start to the season for us.”

Next weekend, the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team heads north to the RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, California, for Round 2 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship on Saturday, January 14.

Photo of Dylan Ferrandis at the opening round of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Dylan Ferrandis qualified sixth and took a runner-up spot in the heat race

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