Features 22 Jun 2021

Debrief: 2021 Pro Motocross Rd3 High Point

Overall winners Ferrandis and Swoll recall third round in Pennsylvania.

Round three of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season is in the books with Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) taking the 450 overall and Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) grabbing his first moto win and overall in the 250 class. Both riders were made available to the media following the race for this Debrief interview.


Image: Octopi Media.

You mentioned that it’s been kind of surreal to battle with the guys at the front in your rookie season. Today you went toe to toe with Ken Roczen, is it getting more real? Do you feel like you’re part of that front group now and how was the battle with Roczen?

I guess I’m part of the group now, for sure. Like I explained before, it takes time to realize that you’re riding with such high competition and yeah, it was a little hard to figure it out in supercross, but yeah I feel like I’m in the group. The battle with Kenny was really intense. He was on me both motos and I’ve kind of known Kenny for a long time, in Europe I was watching him in MX2 when I was riding the European championship. So yeah I kind of known him for a long time and know what he’s capable of, so yeah, there’s no room for mistakes.

Did the second moto come down to just digging deep? It looked like at one point Roczen was maybe going faster and he actually made a pass, then you ramped it back up, what did it take to get that done and get back ahead? 

Yeah, he passed me because I had a bad line around the start and he was really good there. So yeah he passed me and I found a new line on the tunnel jump and I was [jumping] the double. So yeah, we passed him and I just tried to put the hammer [down] and try to put some strong laps. Then we came upon Adam [Cianciarulo] and he tried again when I passed Adam, I mean he pretty much passed me but I kind of closed the door in the next turn and yeah it was pretty intense. Honestly, fighting with Ken is no joke, and yeah, a big, big battle.

You had a moment in the second moto with a lapped rider where you nearly crashed, can you walk us through that moment?

That was really scary. I was expecting him to let me by and he didn’t, and at the last moment I tried to get out of the rut but I couldn’t so I hit him. Then my visor hit my handlebar so I kind of lost vision for a half-second and that’s where I [did] a superman or whatever. I kind of just sat on the back and was like ‘okay I’m not crashed’ and just cracked the throttle and got back to racing. So yeah, that was really scary, and yeah I don’t know, we’re used to it, it’s happening every time I get close to lappers but it’s part of the racing.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming two-week break? Does it help or hurt your momentum and at your level what do you work on for two weeks?

It doesn’t really matter for me if there’s a weekend off or not, you can always improve physically or on the bike. I think for us as a team, we use this time to try new parts on the bike, because we are still at this point where we are trying to improve the bike, learning the bike, so there is still room to be better on that. For me, physically I’m feeling great, so right now [the plan] is to stay fit but not do too much, but also try to stay in shape. So yeah we mix a little bit of this but also trying to ride on conditions that we’ll have at the next race. I know next race is Red Bud and Southwick so maybe we’ll start trying a little bit in the sand. So doing that and try some stuff on the bike in the sand so I think that’s what every pro rider [will do] during the weekend off. Maybe some do more fun stuff, but for me now I’m in the position where I’m chasing this championship so weekend off is going to be all about either workout or recovery so nothing really fun.


Image: Octopi Media.

Jalek, the most obvious question ever, where did this come from? I know Thunder Valley was better, but it was a sixth in one moto. How did you go from that to winning?

If I’m going to be quite honest with you, I don’t even know. I think today I just felt a lot better and meshed a lot better with the track to be honest with you. I never really felt comfortable on outdoor tracks and stuff like that, especially these pro nationals, they’re a lot different from what we were racing on in amateurs. So I think today I just felt a little bit more at home and yeah everything clicked.

Were you aware of the situation to clinch the overall in moto two as Garrett Marchbanks caught you or did you just want to fight to get third? 

I actually had no idea what was going on. I didn’t see the pitboard at all any moto, I was so focused, end of the moto I wasn’t even paying attention. I knew if I stayed in third that would be a good spot, I didn’t know it would be for a win but I figured 1-3 would be good for a podium so I just wanted to stay there. I had some pressure from Marchbanks towards the end and yeah I was just comfortable on the track and everything was working well. So I found a little bit of a gear and held off for third and yeah it got me an overall. I’m just thankful to be on the podium to be honest with you.

Was there anything specific about the track today that played to your strengths?

I knew the day was going to be good when I had pretty good times in qualifying, that’s my biggest issue is qualifying and then I have a bad gate pick and that whole shebang. But it was good, I’m usually not that good in the ruts, so today was just one of those days where I felt like I was just riding like myself to be honest with you. Like I said, everything clicked off, I don’t even know. I finally got some good starts and was just able to see the front group and that was one of the biggest things that was different from the first two races.

After you win the first moto and you’re heading back to the truck, what’s it like to balance between riding that high of getting a moto win and regrouping for the second moto? 

I’ve been saying all year I’ve just been really focusing on having fun and letting the results come. I don’t know I wasn’t too high on the win, I was obviously pumped, you know, first win and all that stuff but I know if my teammate didn’t have the issue that he had I would have got second. So I wasn’t like too stoked, I feel like I have the ability to go out and win a moto straight up, so I’ll celebrate that one a lot more than I did the one today. But nonetheless, still happy and we’re on the box, that’s all we shoot for.