Overall round winners Osborne and Martin on Saturday's victories.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne made it two in a row at Loretta Lynn’s 2, as Jeremy Martin (Geico Honda) stood back atop the 250MX podium in round two of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Both riders spoke to the media post-race via Zoom press conferences and here’s what they had to say.
Zach, congratulations on another great day. Take us through your day and what it feels like to get back-to-back wins to start the season and extend your points-lead.
It’s awesome to get back-to-back wins, especially with, like you said, the day that we had from the get-go. As soon as the green flag dropped, my bike stopped, so it took them a while to get it fixed. It was just an electrical issue that took some time, that stuff takes time to troubleshoot, so we got it fixed and we were able to go out for the B practice. I think I got three or four laps in that and put in the time and then went racing. The first moto was less than stellar from the start, just because I was so far back and then one of my tear-off pulls broke and I had to stop and kind of fix that, then I was like 35th or something like that. I salvaged a fifth from that and then to go out in the second moto, had really good flow and felt super-comfortable after the halfway mark and to go to the front was super-nice.
That second moto there was smoke coming out of your exhaust, so Weege [Jason Weigandt] and [Grant] Langston were both speculating about power-loss. Did you lose any power in that second moto?
No, I actually had no power-loss at all. I was getting on the pit-board that it was smoking and, typically when it smokes that’s me being hard on the clutch, so I took a couple laps there where I was just really, really easy, riding easy, trying to stay out of the deep spots. When I got to lappers, I wouldn’t panic and try to clutch it and go by them or whatever, so for me there was no loss of power, but it was more like a mix of me just relaxing, being easy on the bike and kind of taking it easy. I’ve had a couple of those situations in my career. Once I got to the front it was quite easy to do actually, but there at the end on the last lap I had a decent lead and got to the Ten Commandments where I had been good and I cased the first one and then rolled a couple, then that shot my lead. The last couple of corners I was back on the clutch pretty hard [laughs].
You qualified 10th, so were you surprised that you were as far towards the inside of the gate as you ended up being in that first moto?
No… a lot of people are, I feel like apprehensive, to be that tight on the inside, especially on that start. It favors the box, or a couple inside of the box, sort of position. I like that tight line a lot on a lot of starts, even ones that don’t favor it, just because you can manage a good start from there, even if you get a bad start, whereas if you’re out in the middle somewhere you can end up 20th pretty quick. I feel like even if you do not a great start on the inside, you’re going to be fifth to eighth or 10th. So I wasn’t super-surprised – I thought I’d be fifth or sixth, rather than whatever I was – second or third, I don’t really remember, to be honest. I wasn’t too surprised.
The 250 guys talked a little bit about it being a race to the first puddle. What was it like sitting on the line and thinking, ‘man, I’ve got to beat these guys or else I’m ruined’?
Yeah, maybe 50 to 60 feet out of the gate there was that huge puddle, so if you got beat there, you were just getting splashed the whole way down and you were blind for a while. It was quite sketchy, actually. That’s one thing I wish they would have done today better, is just prep the start better, because when there is standing water on the start like that, it’s quite dangerous in my opinion, so it was definitely like, ‘I got to get to that puddle first’ and I didn’t manage it in either race.
During the break you went and did the GNCC, you’ve done some off-road stuff and you know how to preserve a bike. Days like today, do you fall back on those traits instead of just hammering it out everywhere?
Yeah, a little bit for sure. Today it was just tough conditions for bikes, period. The water on the start, that’s a nightmare for electronics, then just how deep some of the ruts were you would either hammer to clutch out of it and hope that your bike didn’t stop or just get stuck and get winched out. It was just a tough day in general… I wouldn’t say that I’m some expert at saving dirt bikes or something, because I’m actually quite hard on bikes [laughs], but today was just one of those days where if you could just stay in a rut and do laps, you were going to do good.
You’re two rounds into the season, so it’s still in the early days, but the championship points are looking pretty good at the moment. What are your thoughts on that after the two Loretta’s rounds?
I mean, it’s always nice to be leading points and to have red plates, just being in the position of having 19 points after two rounds is really good, but there’s a lot of racing left – we still have seven rounds left, if everything goes to plan. Right now, the most important thing for me is just getting points every weekend and keeping that lead as long as I can, because we don’t really know what’s going to happen in the next coming weeks or months – that’s the biggest thing, is just to keep hammering away at it and stacking points.
Were you at all thinking overall win today during the qualifying and after moto one, did you even think an overall win was in the cards at all?
If someone would have told me I was going to get two fifths, I would have been like, ‘sign me up’ [laughs]. But to go 5-1 for the overall, that’s not really a common overall win score and then to do it after the events in the morning was just awesome. The whole team rallied around us when we were having an issue this morning and the boys changed three engines between the motos. It was a hard day for everyone on the team, so to reward them with the overall win and RJ [Hampshire] got a moto win, so that was super-good. It felt awesome to kind of give back to the boys.
What was the emotion like when it sunk in that you actually turned a day where you barely qualified into winning? When did that all sink in?
Well, Marv [Marvin Musquin] got close to me on the last lap and I think, according to my math, he would have won the overall if he would have passed me, so whenever I turned the right to the finish line, I knew there was no possible way he could get me. I had done the math that no one from the first moto was in front of me was in the top five, well enough to beat me overall. So I was like, ‘dang’, It kind of hit me. I still wasn’t sure that I had won the overall, but either way, just after the way things were going and to turn that… We talk about momentum a lot as a group or as an industry and to make that snowball stop after the practice deal and go out there and win is a big thing. That’s probably more momentum for me than the win, just to kind of right the ship and make it happen on a day where it could have been a flop.
How did you keep calm or did you keep calm, during the qualifying deal?
I was pretty calm. I didn’t know what was going to happen or whatever, so what do you do? There’s nothing you can do, it’s out of your control – you just stand there and be ready to do your job when you’re called upon.
Did you even know about the B practice deal, like how did that all come about and when did it all come about that it was an option?
No, I didn’t know. I had no clue what the rule was – I didn’t know anything about it, to be honest.
You’ve won the last three professional races, you’re kind of on a roll here, so how do you keep that momentum, but not be overly excited and make a mistake? How do you balance that?
My age [laughs]. I’ve been through a lot of highs and a lot of lows, I think that helps me keep things into perspective. It’s just as we saw today with the practice thing, it’s all within a moment, going away. For me it’s just focusing on what I’m doing, staying in the moment, I was able to go back to the truck today after the practice thing, do some deep breathing and just kind of calm my mind and know that there was a job to do. That’s what I always try to do, is just show up every day and be the same that I am and if I win, I win. If not, then I can go home and practice and be better the next time.
Jeremy, a great day for you. A good 3-2 to get the overall win, you were up front all day long, and obviously it’s your first win since you came back from your injury, which is a huge accomplishment for yourself… Tell us what it feels like to finally get back on top of the box – you’re right in the thick of the championship now.
I knew it was going to rain and that it was going to be muddy, but I was actually pleasantly surprised that when I went out for practice it was nowhere near as muddy or as crazy as it was the first Loretta’s, so I was pretty happy about that. Then they were saying a thunderstorm was coming at 2:00pm and then all of a sudden it just monsooned on us, basically for 20 minutes right before moto one. I was like, ‘oh boy, this is going to be gnarly’ and, sure enough, it was. I got halfway down the start straight and I couldn’t see nothing going into the first turn, I’m like, ‘where do I turn’? I just had so much water in my goggles and stuff, so I was able to get through there… I went down twice in the first moto – once at halfway and then once with three or four laps to go. I had one glove off, one glove on, no goggles and I managed a third somehow, so I was pretty blown away. Going into moto two, I was happy, at least I got third in the first moto, then Alex was going really, really fast, for sure. I knew that Dylan [Ferrandis] and RJ [Hampshire] weren’t around me, I was kind of watching my pit-board and I just did the best I could. I knew Alex was going fast and I just conserved the bike as best as I could – the thing was smoking so bad. I was like, ‘I hope to god I can make this’, sure enough, I did and I was able to get the overall. Not a win today, as far as a moto win, but got the overall and that was a big deal. t’s been a long road to get back to the top step of the podium.
Up on the podium, how confusing was it? We went through one round of awards where Dylan got the overall, so what was going through your head? Were you trying to do all the math? What was happening there?
I’ll be the first one to admit I’m not the smartest cat, but I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure Dylan went 2-3 and I went 3-2’, so I’m like, ‘the better second motos will beat it and then I’ll get the overall’. I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure I got it’, because I celebrated like I got it and I was just like, ‘if you didn’t win it, you’re a knob’, you know? So, I was fortunate enough, there was a little bit of a hiccup there, but as long as it’s right on paper, that’s all that matters, right?
We didn’t obviously see normal conditions today, but did you feel like during the week or coming into the weekend, that you had made some progress considering you had a race under your belt from last weekend?
Yeah, definitely, I felt better this weekend. I made an adjustment before the series even started, the week before, on a shock change and I thought it would be a little bit better for hard-pack conditions and stuff like that. I was doing a bunch of local riding at my parents and stuff, the track was really, really rough, but the way the bumps form at a local level are so much different than a national. When I raced on the weekend the first Loretta’s, I was like, ‘I made a big mistake’ and I knew right away, but I just had to get through the weekend. Then I went back to the old OG shock that I had and I was like, ‘yeah, okay, this shock’s more for a national-style track’. So just a little lesson to be learned there. The guys are good, Dylan is really, really fast, he’s smart, so it’s going to be really, really tough, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I just love being at the races.
To start the season you’ve had four moto podiums, so top three every time. As a former champion, how important is it to start the season like that, especially considering the conditions at Loretta’s?
Yeah, like you said, to be able to manage… for the conditions at Loretta’s 1 and Loretta’s 2, they were both pretty muddy and they were really gnarly, just ruts and the whole day of everything, so to be able to get on the podium for all four motos so far is definitely a big deal. When you’re battling a guy like Dylan, he keeps you on your toes, so it’s a war, for sure – kind of reminds me of when I was battling Marv back in 2015.