Assorted racer comments following the eighth round of the season.
In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out at round eight of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross championship, the second of two races at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) – First:
This one is huge, back-to-back wins is amazing! It was a great race battling with AC [Adam Cianciarulo] and great points for tonight. Marvin [Musquin] was riding great. I knew he was coming there at the end and I know how strong he is because we ride and train together every day. I felt like start to finish I was in my comfort zone just clicking laps away and it felt really good. KTM going one and two is incredible, this is an awesome feeling.
Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) – Second:
It feels really good to be running up front. The whoops started to be very tough so I was trying to be careful but at the same time, I wanted to gain time on Cooper [Webb]. I felt like I was a little bit quicker at one point but I didn’t want the track to bite me and go down. At least I had a great feeling out there. I want to thank the team for their hard work, I felt better today.
Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Eighth:
It was a little bit of a tough night for me. I kind of tweaked my back in the last practice and I really struggled with it tonight. I had a mediocre start and an eighth-place finish, which is not really anything to write home about but I’ll get it sorted and be ready for Daytona.
Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Fifth:
My night was a lot better. I had a good practice and ended up P1, had a good battle in the heat race and got first in that. In the main event, I kind of had a bad start and worked my way up to fifth. I’m getting better and feeling better, so hopefully, we’ll have an even better weekend in Daytona.
Dean Wilson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 12th:
“In the main event, I was all over 10th and I got a little bit traumatized from the blue flags and I thought the guy behind me was the leader so I let him by, which put me back to 12th. It’s disappointing but I’m looking forward to these next couple of weeks to really heal up and get my body healthy. It’s tough to try and race injured but we’ll be back at Daytona.
Malcolm Stewart (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) – Seventh:
We struggled in practice and made a few changes and got the bike really good for the heat race. The heat race was great, but I didn’t get the best start. My starts have been struggling a little bit all year long. Even in the main event, I didn’t get the best of starts, but I still made some passes on the first lap and put myself in a great position. Then I had a couple of sketchy moments on the track. I landed on a hay bale. I tried to do a quad and landed on a hay bale again. You know how people say cats got nine lives? I think I used every bit of those nine lives out there. It’s just one of those deals when the track goes away, and there are potholes, and the whoops are kind of sketchy. It turns into more about survival mode out there. We ended Orlando 2 in seventh. The way practice went, we turned this whole day all the way around. Hats off to my guys. They have been busting their tails all year long, the whole team. I’m looking forward to the week off. We’re going to do some more testing and start swinging for Daytona. That’s another hometown race for me, so I’m excited for that – three hometown races. Let’s just keep the ball rolling.
Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) – Ninth:
It was a so-so day. I started out not feeling comfortable in qualifying. We made some changes, and then we decided to go back to what I ran here last weekend. That was better in the heat race. I got a really good start and was up there in fourth and then passed [Broc] Tickle for third. I think I messed up on my gate selection and didn’t pick the right one, and did not get a great start in the main. I put my head down and tried to do what I did last weekend but only came back to ninth. The track was like glass out there, like wet glass. I went around one corner, and I barely even leaned over, and my back end almost spun around all the way on me. It was so hard-packed and so rough. The whoops were so edgy and slick and blue grooved. It was crazy. It was worse than the test tracks. So ninth on the night, I can’t be too mad, being that this class is as stacked as it is. It’s not where I want to be, though. I want to be up front and battling for that top spot, the top three spots at least. I know we can get there. Last year we had a pretty good race in Daytona, so I’m going to get back on my horse and ride on.
Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – 11th:
It was a tough two races in Orlando. I am not happy, but I gave everything I had to come back after hitting the tough block and losing a lot of time in the race. I’m happy to have the weekend off to do more work and get ready for Daytona.
Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Sixth:
Today was just not my day. The track conditions were rough at the start, but I had no issues finding traction and qualified in fifth aboard my KX450. In my heat race, I got a terrible jump out of the gate and this track was extremely difficult to pass on, I had to settle for seventh going into the main event. In the main event, I had a decent start and was able to get into a good position inside the top five where I had a solid three-way battle going with [Justin] Barcia and Ken [Roczen]. I fought as hard as I could tonight, but it was only good enough for sixth place. We have the next weekend off from racing, so we will regroup and come out swinging at my favorite place to race, Daytona.
Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – 21st:
Well, today certainly didn’t go the way we would have liked it to. We had some great momentum all day long. I qualified in sixth, finished second in the heat, and in the main event, I got such a great jump out the gate on my KX450 and was able to just lead some solid laps. Once Cooper [Webb] got by me, I was able to see some lines where he was a touch quicker than me and felt like he wasn’t getting away from me, but as I began to look for lines to try and make a pass back, a lapper threw off my whoop section and I miscalculated my jump into the whoops that resulted in me going down. It was not the way I wanted to end the night, but I can’t thank the Monster Energy Kawasaki team enough for their support on the good days and the bad days.
Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
Orlando 2 was a good night for us, even though it may not look like it on paper. I felt really good in the heat race, getting the holeshot and first gate pick in the main event. The 250 riders were racing, and as soon as they moved the tuff blocks, I noticed that my rut was actually very rough and had a big kicker in it. As the gate dropped, I fed my clutch and my front wheel just hit that kicker dead on and my front popped up and really messed me up. I went around the first turn in 22nd, and by the first segment I clocked in at 17th position. I really had to do some work, and then I got behind [Eli] Tomac and [Justin] Barcia. I definitely had more speed, but I just couldn’t quite make the pass happen right away. Once I got by Tomac, I tried to reel in Barcia but just didn’t have enough time, so ended up getting fourth. I felt like I was riding really well, even though I always had someone in front of me. Ideally, if I could’ve made a couple of passes to have a clear lap, I could’ve really put in some good time, but that just wasn’t in the cards tonight. We did some damage control and came in fourth and I’m really looking forward to Daytona. I’ve always wanted to win that round, so I’m going to put all my focus on that.
Max Anstie (Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki) – 18th
It was nice to be under the lights racing my first ever 450SX event. It was a dream to ride into the stadium with the best supercross riders in the world. I came into this race without much preparation time so to leave with some points on the board and laps under my belt was all I could ask for. The team and I will get to work and make progress and I’m looking forward to Daytona in two weeks!
Brandon Hartranft (Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki) – DNS:
Orlando 2 was okay. The track was tough all day. I’m slowly getting back to where I was. In my heat race I didn’t ride well until halfway. In the LCQ I got the holeshot, which was great, but made a few mistakes on the first lap. I got right behind [Dean] Wilson and tried to follow him but made a mistake in the whoops and got passed out of the transfer spot. I’m going to take the positives from this weekend and go back to work for these next two weeks before Daytona.
Mitchell Oldenburg (Muc-Off Honda) – DNS:
We were fast enough to be in the final, but I didn’t capitalize on my speed. My start in the Heat race wasn’t where it needed to be and I battled for 11th. In the LCQ, I came together with another rider on the first turn and had to make my way back from 15th. It was super sketchy and I could only manage a 6th. In all, though it was a great experience and I hope to do it again at some point.
Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Fourth:
It was a pretty decent night. The heat race was a little hectic and I got shuffled back a bit and finished sixth. That didn’t set me up for a very good gate pick in the main event but I made the best of it. I felt like toward the end of the moto I started coming around but by that point, it was kind of too late. I’m a little disappointed but we’ll be back next weekend.
Stilez Robertson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 18th:
We had a smooth start to the day with seventh in qualifying and fourth in the heat race. In the main, I got a decent start about 10th through the first jump but Jeremy Martin rolled and I thought he was going to jump and I ended up landing on him. I crashed and bent my bike up but I still gave it a go in the main and just tried to salvage what we could, so not too bad thanks to the team.
Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Second:
Tonight was a great way to start the season and we are in a good position going forward. It feels good to see all our hard work pay off. We’ll keep at it over the next two weeks and come out swinging in Daytona.
Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Sixth:
I can’t say I wasn’t nervous with it being my first supercross race, but I felt like I handled it well. I felt good all day and qualified second which I was happy about. It was nice to be able to get the holeshot and lead some laps in my heat race where I got second. The main event was wild and I already had to do my first restart. I got a decent start in the main and then got taken out on Lap 4. I got up and never gave up to get back up to sixth. Not bad for a fall and working my way up. Definitely something to build off of.
Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 20th:
The end result wasn’t what I was looking to accomplish in this first round, but thankfully I’m okay and just a little banged up. The whole day was going great and I just lost some of the needed strength for the whoops. I have a lot of positives to build on and I’m thankful I was able to walk away okay.
Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) – First:
It feels awesome to get the win. That’s definitely the way you want to start the series. I had a foot injury coming in, so I was a little bit nervous about that, not having enough time on the bike, but it all started out well. I was fastest in all of the practice sessions. I just didn’t have my starts down. We didn’t really practice too many of those at home, so that was a struggle until the main event. Luckily, we pulled it off twice, so I’d say they came around at the right time. It was good to get out of this place safe. There’s always a lot of hype around the season opener. You don’t really want to throw away the championship at the first round. I got myself in a good position where I could ride my own race and was able to take it easy to the finish line. It was a pretty perfect night for me. I’m excited to keep building on tonight and getting stronger since I didn’t have much time to prep for this round. I want to be on the podium every weekend and do the best I can. I’m glad to have a weekend off before Daytona. We can definitely work on some things to be a little bit stronger heading into the second round.
Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) – 11th:
It was good, first supercross. We had some good qualifying times and came out swinging with a good start in the heat race. I almost had the holeshot but got tangled up and went down there in the first turn. So I had to go through the LCQ and just rode smart to put it in the main. Then we just clicked away laps. I had really good endurance and got better every lap. That’s the goal. We ended up 11th, so that’s not bad for a rough night. We’ll just keep getting better every weekend.
Jarrett Frye (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – 19th:
My first supercross race didn’t really go to plan. I made it in the main but kind of struggled all day to find a flow with the track being so hard-packed. Then in the main, somewhere a little over halfway, I made a mistake in the whoops, went down, and got some stuff tangled in my wheel that cost me the race. It was a tough day, but we’re going to go back to work and come back at Daytona.
Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Fifth:
My Supercross season debut was pretty good; I’m pretty happy with it. We checked off a lot of the goals we had set during the preseason, with the limited time we had coming back from my shoulder recovery. That held me back a little bit to be honest. The strength was a big issue, but cardio and fitness have been great and I’m feeling really good; I need to keep building strength. We just finished the sixth week on the bike, so I can’t complain. My starts were good until a restart in the main event. I put in some good, hard laps and was able to charge all the way back up to fifth from a pretty bad start. I’m content with the night. I got a solid one on the board and I’m looking forward to gaining more strength in my shoulder and coming back swinging at Daytona in two weeks. Massive shout-out to the team and all the fans supporting.
Garrett Marchbanks (ClubMX Yamaha) – Third:
I’m really happy to start the 2021 season on the podium. It has been eight long months since I was last behind the starting gate, so I couldn’t be more proud of the effort and work that we’ve been able to achieve since I joined Club MX. The track conditions were tricky all day and my SCORPION™ MX tires did a great job of making sure I had the traction that was needed. I was able to get the win last year at Daytona, so I’m really looking forward to heading there for our next round.
Sean Cantrell (Bar X Chaparell ECSTAR Suzuki) – DNS:
I went into round one not really knowing what to expect, but I just knew I was comfortable on the bike, which is the biggest thing. In the two qualifying sessions I felt good on the bike, I felt that the speed was there, I just had trouble putting together a whole lap. I was actually shaking the cobwebs off after not being in the stadium for about two years. Once I got behind the gate I knew I was back at home. I knew that I was meant to be there and all the work I put in was about to pay off. In the first corner of my heat, I got pushed wide by another rider and a lot of guys snuck around the inside. After that, I made some pretty good passes and got into qualifying position. The white flag came out and then I made just the slightest mistake in the whoops and it bit me. I left Orlando with a broken collarbone, hopefully, we will get it plated and make it to one of the Arlington rounds.
Dilan Schwartz (Bar X Chaparell ECSTAR Suzuki) – 17th:
Orlando definitely was a tough day. It didn’t really go the way we planned. I was making rookie mistakes all day, which cost me to miss out on qualifying straight from the heat so I had to go to the LCQ; that race was pretty hectic. In the main, I was running in fifth place and unfortunately, the race got red-flagged. On the re-start, I didn’t get the greatest start and then ended up tangling with another rider and going down. I’m happy to come away healthy and I am looking forward to improving at the upcoming rounds.
Mitchell Harrison (Muc-Off Honda) – 14th:
This is on me; I was impatient and I crashed trying to make a pass. My times in the final were okay but I struggled in some areas of the track. I am glad we have two weeks until Daytona and I am thankful I didn’t hurt myself in the crash. I know what I need to work on, it was frustrating because I rode tight and nervous. I have already put this race behind me and am focused on redemption at the next round.