The demanding two-moto format made for an intense opening round of the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship saw the KTM team walk away with mixed results..
In the 450MX racing, teammates Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb were poised to be front-runners at Round 1 at Pala Raceway, CA, and both riders delivered positive moments throughout the day. For Musquin, qualifying was a highlight as he laid down the second fastest lap amongst a deeply stacked field of 450MX riders. In Moto 1, Musquin grabbed a seventh-place start and quickly found himself shuffled back in an early top-10 battle. He diced back-and-forth with some heavy hitters throughout the race, ultimately securing eighth in Moto 1.
In Moto 2, Musquin once again found himself back in 10th off the start and he fought hard to make moves early on. Finding a rhythm later in the race, Musquin commanded a pair of hard-charging passes for seventh and he continued to battle in fast company for the remainder of the race. Finishing seventh in race two, Musquin secured seventh overall at the opening round.
“I knew competition would be very tough and a good start would be key,” Musquin explained. “I was happy with my practice, qualifying second, and felt good going into the motos. In both of my motos, my first lap was no good and I was not aggressive enough and making huge mistakes. After that, I had to fight back but it was very difficult to make passes on this track. I was battling with Tomac in both motos, so that tells you the level of competition in the top-10. I’m not super happy with the result on paper. I did a couple good things but overall, I can do better, so let’s do it again next weekend.”
Coming into the new season with a fresh title in the 450SX class, Cooper Webb had high hopes for the opening round. He came out of the gate in Moto 1 with high energy as he captured the holeshot, settling into second early on. Continuing to challenge for the lead, Webb did overtake the spot briefly when the race leader went down but he was quickly joined by Dylan Ferrandis upfront. Engaging in a multi-rider battle for the podium midway through the race, Webb ultimately came away with a fifth-place finish in Moto 1.
In Moto 2, Webb had another great jump to place himself up front off the start but a small mistake dropped him back to sixth on the opening lap. From there, Webb struggled to put together the laps he needed to make a charge, finishing 11th in the race and eighth overall for the day.
“A tough day at the office with eighth overall to start the season at Pala,” Webb said. “It felt good to line back up outdoors and I’m looking forward to having fans back at the races this summer. We’ll build on this and come back swinging for the next 22 motos.”
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
1 Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-3)
2 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (6-1)
3 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (4-2)
4 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (3-6)
5 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-10)
6 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (10-4)
7 Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (8-7)
8 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (5-11)
9 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (9-8)
10 Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (13-5)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 1 of 12)
1 Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 45 Points
2 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 40 Points
3 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 40 Points
4 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 35 Points
5 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 33 Points
6 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 29 Points
7 Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 27 Points
8 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 26 Points
9 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 25 Points
10 Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 24 Points