Assorted racer comments following the eighth round of the season.
In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out in the eighth round of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Washougal.
Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM) – 12th:
We had a great week and made some good progress with the bike, which was really positive and it really translated today. I got the start in the first moto and man, it was nice running up there with Chase [Sexton] and Eli [Tomac]! We had a little bit of a bike malfunction – you know, it’s dirt bikes – it happens and it’s nobody’s fault. Second moto, my gate pick was terrible but I tried to salvage a decent start. The good thing was that I felt really good and the bike was really working, so I could apply myself on the track and start picking those people off. I got up to fourth and I made a run on third but just ran out of time. It’s not where we want to be overall but a positive moving forward is that we’re in a good spot with the bike and the riding was good, so we’ll take it.
Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Ninth:
Today was a mellow day – not great but not horrible. The track got rough in the first moto and I tightened up at the end, so I ended up eighth. I made some bike changes going out for moto two and it was better. I got a really good start and I was running up there for a bit but I kind of just faded back. I’ve got a lot of homework to do these next few weeks and we’ll come back swinging for Unadilla.
Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – Sixth:
First moto, I had a really hard charge! I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts and I came from about 14th up to fifth. I had a really good battle the whole moto, it was pretty intense. Second moto, I got off to a decent start and just couldn’t find my groove – I just felt a little bit uncomfortable with the bike. We’re going to get after it during these off weekends and try to find a little bit more for the final rounds. My goal is to get up on that podium and battle for wins, so it’s back to work!
Shane McElrath (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 13th:
Washougal was a tough race day. I had pretty good qualifying session but as the track developed more, I struggled on finding a flow out there. I’m happy with my effort and the progress that we’ve made. It’s not easy out there. I’m content with where we’re at but I know I have some more to give and I’m going to keep working regardless of what the future holds. I’m just happy for this opportunity and it’s definitely taught me a lot, so I’m excited.
Christian Craig (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Fifth:
Overall, it was a good day. Unfortunately, I crashed on the first lap of both motos and was playing catch-up the whole time. I’m happy with my speed; I just need to be better in the opening laps.
Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Second:
It was a solid day for us! As usual, the conditions were technical and slick at Washougal. I had a great first moto making passes to the lead and holding on for the win. In the second moto, I struggled to find another second fast line for passing, but overall we did okay with breaking even on points for the championship.
Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
I was ready to give it my all. Unfortunately, it seems like my immune system kind of let me down a little bit. I started feeling iffy on Thursday and especially Friday; I came down with a fever and massive headache through Friday night. I probably picked up some kind of illness, so that made my day a lot tougher. I got lucky that the weather wasn’t super-hot, and I guess I have to be happy with a 4-6 for fourth overall. I know I belong on the podium, but poor starts were definitely not helping me out. I’m pumped with the effort the team has given; they keep believing in me. We’re going into a couple of off-weekends, and first and foremost, I want to get my body back in check, then put in some good work and come out swinging. I really like Unadilla and have done well there in the past, so my spirits are high—looking forward to finishing up the season strong.
Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) – First:
That was gnarly! I felt really good from the get-go. I didn’t qualify the fastest, but my feeling on the bike was good, which is all that matters. Then it was just an hour and 10 minutes of battling. The first moto was a battle, and we had a little scuffle: he fell down, and I ran right into the back of him. The second moto was mentally challenging, with him behind me and not making any mistakes. I’m stoked that I was able to persevere and just keep him behind me. That’s how I want to win. You don’t want to win by a guy getting a bad start; it’s obviously easier, but you want to win when the guy is on you. Today we stuck together both motos. That was cool for me, and something that I’ve been dreaming of. I’ve been wanting to have that battle at the end of races, and it’s come together to where I could push and have a little bit of a gap. These next races are good for me, so hopefully we can have a good finish.
Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Third:
Being the third-best guy out there is hard to accept. I expect to be up front every round and I’ve proven I have the speed to do it, but we just didn’t have it today. The guys up front were running a crazy pace. All in all, it was still a good day for us and we made up points in the race for third in the championship. We’ll try to keep this podium streak going as we head into the final four rounds.
Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Seventh:
I had a scary moment in practice after I caught my foot in a rut coming off the face of a tabletop. It could’ve been really bad but I’m happy I was able to save that one. Overall, seventh is right around where I expect to be right now. Obviously, I’d like to be up front with the leaders, but we’re making progress. If I can keep fighting for the fourths, fifths and sixths until the end of the season I’ll be proud.
Seth Hammaker (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Sixth:
It felt good to mix it up with the guys inside the top-five for as long as I did in both motos. My goal is to keep progressing with each week and hopefully, after the two-week break, we’ll come back recharged and ready to battle for podiums.
Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Fourth:
Overall, it was a good day with me getting the holeshot and leading in moto one. I was able to stick with the leaders for a long time and win some hard battles which is nice because I think my speed was off today. Next week we’re going to do some more practicing before taking a little break to recharge during the off weekend so we can finish the season strong.
Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Third:
Ugh, third overall. Not gonna lie, on paper it should’ve been better for me, but that’s how she goes. I’m stoked with my bike and riding. I’m going to come out swinging for these last four rounds.
Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
It was a weird day—different; I went second all day, but still got the overall win. I’m lucky I got it, and I would’ve liked to have gotten at least one moto win, but we’ll take it. The biggest thing here is always the shadows—I think I’ll come up here in the off-season and burn the trees! The second moto, I felt good, but I pushed and had a few sketchy moments in the shadow spots. I thought, ‘You know what, I already know I have an overall win unless Hunter [Lawrence] passes Jo [Shimoda]; I’m just going to stick with this and play it safe.’ The main thing is I just wanted to go back home safe. Now we get a bit of a break, and then we go to some tracks I really like, like Unadilla and Budds Creek. Hopefully we can keep that win streak going.
Pierce Brown (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – Eighth:
We’re definitely treading in the right direction. We had a good first moto in sixth. Second moto, I got a good start and got caught behind some guys on the first lap and I ended up getting passed by a couple people. I fought through the pack as much as I could, I just didn’t have it at the end of the moto and I got passed by a couple more guys for ninth. We’re getting better, but we want more!
Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Second:
We are feeling a lot more comfortable each weekend, and I think it’s showing. The bike and team were awesome today, and the weather and track conditions were great. I hope that I have that same moto one feeling from now on, and we can keep this momentum rolling and finish the year strong.
Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Ninth:
It was another new track for me, but I had a good qualifying and was feeling good going into the motos. In the first moto, I got a bad start and had a tip-over, and just struggled from there. I got a better start in the second moto but still had a hard time making passes and ended up ninth overall. It’s not the results we’re looking for, but we’ll keep working during the break and come back at Unadilla
RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Seventh:
It was a long day for me, my starts were terrible. First moto was a bit of a struggle and second moto, I felt like I found some comfort mid-way through. I felt like I rode decent for the second half of the moto but all-in-all, it was just kind of a struggle of a day. We’ve got two weekends to figure some things out and I’m hoping to come back at Unadilla with a fighting chance and hopefully we can knock out a couple podiums.
Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 11th:
Qualifying was a lot better today, it’s nice to finally get in the mix and be there speed-wise. My riding was pretty good in moto one but I’ve been struggling to get up there in the first few laps and on a track like this, you don’t want to find yourself in the back because it’s really hard to pass. I got a better start in moto two but somebody else’s mistake costed me and I went down. I was at the back of the pack and only could get back to 12th. It’s not where we want to be but we’re going to keep plugging away and making improvements.
Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM) – Fifth:
Today went pretty well. I didn’t get a very good start in the first moto but surprisingly on this track – which is very hard to pass on – I was able to move up pretty quickly. I just kept chugging along and picked my way up to seventh. Second moto, I really focused on the start and I got up into that top-five and just kind of stayed there – I was in no-man’s land there for a bit. I went 7-5 for fifth, which is matching my best result again this year. Now we have two weeks off and we’re going to put some work in and try to get on that podium.