Features 18 Aug 2021

Quotebook: 2021 Pro Motocross Rd8 Unadilla

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 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Unadilla.


Image: Octopi Media.

Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) – First:
Unadilla weekend was really good for us. It seems like it’s a track that suits me well, obviously; it’s starting to become a pattern of me doing well here. I seem to like the long ruts and just the way the track develops and the soil that it has; I feel like it’s something that I kind of grew up with, so I just feel super comfortable here. We had the bike dialed a lot more for the track conditions this weekend, so that helped out a lot. We’ve been doing a little bit of testing to try and get the bike better, and at least for this weekend it paid off. We topped qualifying and I had pole position going into the first moto. I got a super-good start and was leading every single lap to get the first-moto win. Then in the second moto, I got off to another decent start, around fifth, and made some really quick moves happen and settled in behind Chase [Sexton] for about half the moto. He made a little mistake, and I had some good lines and carried a little bit more momentum and made my way by him and then just stayed up front and rode a really solid end of the race. I got into a good flow, and we ended up going 1-1 at Unadilla. I’m super happy for me and the team.

Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) – Fifth:
Round 8 at Unadilla started off pretty good; I qualified first in the first session. I didn’t really feel that great on the bike and ended up third in the second one. I got a good gate pick going into the first moto and got a good start but ended up going down pretty hard in the second corner. It was a tough way to start the day, but I charged back as much as I could. I ended up going down again, which definitely hindered me a little bit. I came out in the second moto and got the holeshot. I tried to run away as fast as I could, but Ken [Roczen] obviously is really good at that too, and he’s faster. I felt like I rode pretty good. Definitely got roosted a lot today, so I’m going to be a little bit sore from that and the crash, but I’m looking forward to Budds Creek and will try and get some wins under my belt before the season’s over.

Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) – Third:
It was a good weekend and I felt good right away, I love Unadilla! In the first moto, I came back to fifth and started fighting with Tomac. I was looking forward to passing him but I landed in a hole on the finish line jump and thought I broke something in the shock or the wheel, so I slowed down big time to make sure everything was fine and I lost connection with him. In the second moto, I put myself in a good position but I was never capable of putting an attack on Dylan for third. Trying to pass the lappers was pretty tough with all the ruts and I couldn’t do much more, so 4-4 on the podium in third place is a good positive.

Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) – Sixth:
Today was a pretty good day. My starts were good in both motos, which helped. I didn’t ride too great in the first moto but I felt a lot better in the second moto – we made a complete bike change for the second moto and it worked out a lot better. So 5-5, it was definitely a better day and we’ll keep building to try and get better for Budds Creek.

Dean Wilson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 11th:
Unfortunately, I had a fall in the first moto and broke my rear brake pedal, so I ended up getting a 15th in that one,” Wilson said. “The second moto was a little bit better with an eighth, which is actually my best moto-score of the year. Two top-10 finishes would have been nice but we’re healthy and walking away.

Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – Second:
I came here to win, but second overall was the best I could do today. The track was just wild! It was so technical and so hard to ride and go fast. We didn’t have the pace, and Ken (Roczen) was way too strong, so congrats to him. We’ve been on every podium so far this season, and I’m really happy about that. We will keep working to be back on the top step.

Christian Craig (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – Seventh:
It was a decent day for me at Unadilla. We struggled in practice trying to find a flow but I was able to put in some good laps in both motos. The track was treacherous, so I’m glad to get out of there healthy and move on to Budds Creek!

Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – 43rd:
We were having such a great day, and I was feeling really good, so it’s such a bummer, but I’m glad it wasn’t worse. We’re going to take it day by day and get checked out again before Budds Creek, and hopefully be right back out there.

Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Fourth:
In the first moto I had a good start going around the first corner but, I had to check up to avoid a crash at the front and got shuffled back a few positions. From there I went straight into the fight and worked my way to fourth before another rider crashed and gave me third. I was riding well, my body felt good, and I was hitting the right lines around the track. Finishing third in Moto 1 put me in a good spot for the overall and gave me solid gate selection for Moto 2. In the second moto I moved further inside for the start, but that choice didn’t pay off because I came out a little further back in the pack and was having a hard time moving forward. It was a difficult track with a lot of ruts that changed throughout the day. In the morning the track was really soft, so ruts formed up all over the place, but later in the afternoon the dirt got hard and dry with a crust on the ruts which required challenging adjustments. It’s frustrating that I only made it up to seventh in the second moto, but at least we had that podium finish in Moto 1.

Max Anstie (Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki) – Eighth:
It was a good day here in Unadilla; it’s my first time here. We ended up eighth overall, so we’re making progress. The team has done a great job in the last few weeks’ break to make some positive steps with the bike set-up, and it definitely was nice to be in the race; I’ve got to get out of the gate faster this next weekend in Budds Creek and we’ll be back at the sharp end with the guys. We’ve definitely made progress so I’m happy.

Brandon Hartranft (Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki) – 15th:
It was a pretty good day. We’re getting better every race. Qualifying went pretty well, I was 12th overall. In the first moto I had a pretty good start; I tucked into the inside of the first turn and would’ve had an even better start if another rider hadn’t crashed after the first turn. At the end I was battling for ninth and ended up with a strong 10th place finish in the moto. I’m stoked on my progression and I’ll just keep working hard and we’ll have good results.


Image: Octopi Media.

Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Sixth:
It was a tough weekend, very frustrating. In the first moto, I made mistakes in the first two corners, and the one mistake in the first turn cost me a bunch of positions. I had a really good start but ended up getting fifth, which was okay; I wasn’t really happy with my riding, and I struggled to pass. In the second moto I got a decent start, but in the fourth turn something happened to my front brake; my brake rotor was that bent it was hitting the caliper, so I had to deal with that for the moto, which was sketchy from the first lap—not ideal. It was pretty sketchy, but nothing we can do, nothing my mechanic could do, so just a bit of an unfortunate racing incident. On to the next!

Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
I got P8 in both qualifiers, but I felt pretty good; I was a little confused but not too worried about it because I really like this track. In the first moto I got a good start and was P3, then quickly moved into second. I had a few goes at first but couldn’t get close enough to make a full pass. I tried looking at some new lines to see if I could make a pass and ended up losing some ground on the leader. I was trying to bring back that time again, but it was so hard because we’re all so close on speed. I ended up getting second in that one, which I’m not too mad about; it’s a good improvement from the weekends before. In the second moto I had another good start and felt really, really strong and was having a lot of fun chasing the boys. I ended up getting [Justin] Cooper, then I made a mistake and he got me back. I was able to get him back a couple laps later and made a charge on J-Mart [Jeremy Martin] in first. I ended up getting him in the same spot and just kept pushing because I felt so good. I ended up getting the win and getting back in this championship chase again, which is really nice.

Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM) – Fifth:
Today went really well. The track was super brutal and I found myself getting shuffled back a lot but I put in good charges in both motos to go 6-5 for fifth overall, which is a career-best for me and I’m looking to carry this momentum into next weekend at Budds Creek.

RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Fourth:
For the most part, the day was pretty solid. I felt like we had more potential to be on the box but on a track like that, it was tough to keep it together and get the results. All-in-all, I can’t complain, it’s a solid weekend. I’m going to take the week to recover and Budds Creek is a good one for me, so I’m excited to go there.

Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Seventh:
The qualifying was good so it started off the day really well. First moto, I didn’t ride my best but I was fine with eighth for how gnarly the track was. The next moto, I felt like my riding was good but I went down with another rider early on and had to come from really far back to finish ninth. I just need two good starts in the next race and we’ll build off that.

Stilez Robertson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 19th:
We came in knowing that we were a little but under the weather, so I tried to put my best foot forward in the first moto. After moto one, the team made the call for us to just call it a day. I wasn’t myself; I went down the first lap and came back to 17th, which is definitely not what we want but we just need to get healthy and get back to where I belong.

Pierce Brown (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – 36th:
I felt really good on the bike during qualifying, so I was stoked for the day but the first moto started out pretty rough. I fell on the first lap and then a couple laps later, I kind of had a big one and it shook me up a little bit but I got back up and finished the moto in 29th. For Moto 2, I was ready to come out swinging but it was a tough one as well. I came together with some guys off the start and went down. I was already buried, so I was trying to be calm and make my way through the pack and a couple laps in, I hit a really bad kicker in one of the jumps in the back part of the track and went over the bars. I tried to save it but I just couldn’t pull it through. It was a big one. I hit my head pretty hard and my left shoulder, so that put me out for the day. I’m super bummed on how the day went and how it had to end but we’re going to see some specialists next week to make sure that my body is good and if not, we’re going to take the right precautions to get back as soon as possible.

Austin Forkner (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 13th:
I’m thankful we had a second moto to show some speed out there. I felt good all day and just made a mistake that cost me in that first moto. We are keeping our head up as we make this final push through the rest of the season.

Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 16th:
I felt really good out there and thought I would be able to get a top 10, but I tweaked my hand near the end of the race. It’s a bummer because I was finding a good flow and passing people. We just need to work on starts and the first half of the moto to hopefully be competitive for another podium.”

Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 17th:
I am definitely bummed to have thrown away a great overall score today, but to be mixing it up after being away from the high intensity of race pace is a huge positive I’ll be taking to the next race. It was my first gate drop in over two months so while I wanted a great result, I knew I had to manage the race the best I could. Overall it was a good day, just hoping to keep it on two wheels next race.

Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – Second: 
The track was very difficult all day with the long choppy ruts. I had a really good first moto, but I was really fighting the bike in the second moto. I lost my flow pretty early, and once you lose your flow on this track, it’s pretty dangerous. I’m glad to be out of here safe, and we’ll keep coming out swinging and going for this championship.

Jeremy Martin (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – Third:
I was very excited to race Unadilla since my last race there was in 2017. It was definitely a really technical race track this year, with minimal track prep. I got arm pump really bad in the first moto but held on for third. The bike and I were better for Moto 2, but I just couldn’t quite get the job done.

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – Eighth:
I’m pretty happy with how the motos went after how bad qualifying was. That track is very unique and technical! My first goal as a pro was to check a top-10 finish off of the list, so to get eighth overall was awesome. We look to keep building on that next weekend.

Jarrett Frye (Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing) – Ninth:
It was a better weekend of racing for me. The track was gnarly, but I had some fun and was able to get ninth overall. I’m looking forward to my hometown race next weekend at Budds Creek!

Preston Kilroy (BarX Chaparral Ecstar Suzuki) – 12th:
Overall today was pretty good. Moto 1 started a little rough with a bad start off the gate, but I was able to squeeze on the inside of the first two turns and make a few moves. I rode a little tight midway through so I tried to take good lines and not make any mistakes. In the second moto I got off to a pretty good start and was up with all the fast guys. I was able to see the fast lines and I got some good laps in. About halfway through the moto I struggled a little bit to find my flow, but then started to use some lines that were working. I was able to put in some good laps and ended up 10th. I’m excited to keep learning and keep building each weekend and am relieved to have my first National of the year under my belt!

Dilan Schwartz (BarX Chaparral Ecstar Suzuki) – 14th:
I don’t think I could’ve made Unadilla any harder for myself. I crashed on the first lap in both motos and had to come from dead last. But I’m happy with my riding and fitness to be able to end up with 15-12 moto scores, and I really enjoyed how technical the track was. Hopefully I can keep it on two wheels next weekend and get better results.