Assorted racer comments following the ninth round of the season.
In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out in the ninth round of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Unadilla.
Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM) – Sixth:
Unadilla was pretty nasty today – the track was pretty gnarly and more unique than it has been in the past. I feel like we had two good starts but my first laps didn’t execute as good as I should have. I had little mistakes and got passed by a couple guys, which made it harder for me to work in the moto and passes were tough for me today. All things considered, I was really happy with my riding and the bike setup was good for such a nasty track. I’m honestly just really excited to finish out these last three and just keep building.
Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Fourth:
It was a pretty good day! I got a pretty good start in the first moto and kind of pumped up in the middle, and went from fifth to seventh. We didn’t really make too many changes in the second moto and I got a really good start – I was right there with Eli [Tomac], and then Chase [Sexton] got by me and I was trying to follow his lines but he was on another level today. I kind of dropped back a bit in the middle and with about five laps to go, I really, really picked it up and tried to get Jason [Anderson] back. I made up good time but still finished up fourth. It was really good, better than my last few motos, and we’re making really good progress with the bike, so I’m really pumped and looking forward to Budds Creek.
Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – Eighth:
Going into the first moto, I was feeling good! I got off to a decent start and unfortunately had a crash and found it a little hard to regroup, so I ended up getting 10th. It’s frustrating because I felt like I didn’t ride to my ability but I came back, made a couple more bike changes and ripped a pretty good holeshot in the second moto. I rode behind Aaron [Plessinger] a lot of the race and we were pushing each other hard; I was trying to catch him really bad but just couldn’t make it happen. I was really happy with the change we made on the bike and I was happy with the finish. Wish I would have had a better first moto but we’re definitely going in the right direction and headed towards that podium in these last few races!
Malcolm Stewart (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 15th:
First outdoor race back in eight years and I think it was a good day just being back. Of course, the results didn’t show it, but just having that race back there again was really good for me. I’m happy to be back, but we have some work to do. I’m really looking forward to Budd’s Creek because that’s obviously one of my favorite tracks. I learned a lot, and you can’t replicate racing, so this is just a good race just to come back to – to get through it.
Dean Wilson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 16th:
On paper, it wasn’t very good but it was a long time off, I think it was five months off total, so it’s great to be back. I really struggled with the track, it was so choppy and I feel like I’m not quite in shape where I should be yet. I got arm-pump really bad in the first moto so I told myself to just get through it and the second race was a little bit better. I think I’m going to get better every moto, it’s just tough coming back, especially when all these guys have been racing and they’re in the flow. By the end of the summer, hopefully I’ll be where I should be.
Christian Craig (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 10th:
The day started off pretty rough. About the third lap of practice, I had a big crash. It caught me off guard and slammed me to the ground pretty hard. From there, it was just survival mode. I was debating whether or not to sit out and rest for a couple of days, but we gutted it out, and I got through the motos. The first moto was definitely rough and I pretty much rode around in 11th. In the second moto, I got off a little bit better on the start and was able to get up to ninth. Now I’ll just need to recover and get ready for Budds Creek.
Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Second:
It was a decent day for us. I had really good starts in both motos today, so I was happy about that. With the racing, I put myself in a great position in both motos, but I felt like I was just kind of the second fastest guy today. I did what I could and made some adjustments between the first and second moto, but I had the same result. With that being said, it was definitely an improvement over what I’ve done here in the past few years, so I’m happy about that. I’m chasing Chase again for the overall, so we will keep pushing and see if we can get it back next week.
Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Seventh:
It was a tough track to come back on. I had a good first moto and it was good to get the holeshot, but unfortunately, in moto two, I ran out of strength in my hands due to my injury. It was a positive day overall and was good to be back racing.
Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) – Sixth:
Unadilla was somewhat of a step in the right direction. I definitely showed some speed on the day, but I really struggled with riding super-tight and my right arm being extremely pumped up, to where I had a very hard time holding on, especially with how choppy it was and the speed of the track. That unfortunately made me go backwards, especially in the first moto. I made some passes and was leading for a little bit, but I had to let it go. It’s a bummer, but I’ll try and work on it. We went fifth and seventh for fifth overall. Obviously, I was looking forward to trying to get on the podium; that didn’t happen, but I’m working hard at home to try and come back and hopefully put it on the podium at these last few rounds. Thanks to the team; they’ve been supporting me really good.
Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) – First:
Today was awesome. I liked the conditions, which were similar to what I grew up riding on. In practice I was really struggling with trying to adapt to it being dryer and choppier than usual. We had to make more bike changes than I have been, but I didn’t change it from moto one to moto two. I felt pretty comfortable for the race, even though the track could bite you really easily; I had a few close calls in the first moto. You really had to be on your game, and today was one of those days where I felt like I was in control and flowing really well. This means a lot, as this is one of my favorite tracks to come to; it has a lot of history. I’ve been wanting to have a good race here for a long time, and I’m pumped with how today went.
Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Third:
The track conditions were different than what we’ve come to expect from Unadilla, so getting comfortable on the fast edgy sections was the big challenge of the day. I’m happy with how my KX450SR handled in both motos and we put together two solid races for another overall podium. I’m still getting better as we go on and I’m going to continue pushing toward the front through these final three rounds.
Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Ninth:
I definitely started the day out strong with the third fastest lap in qualifying and looked to contend for a spot in the top five. I had a minor fall while trying to make a pass in moto one that ended up costing me quite a bit of time but, altogether, I had two pretty consistent motos for another top-10 overall. I’m still making steady progress with the team, and we’ll look to clean up the mistakes and improve the result next weekend.
Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – First:
In the first moto I had a good start and passed a couple of riders ahead quickly before putting in some sprint laps to get away. Once I established a gap I focused on maintaining my pace and controlling the race from the front. In the second moto, I got an okay start before a small tip over cost me a few positions. I had to make a comeback through the field to get to the podium but, I feel both motos were good for me. It feels great to back up my first overall motocross win from earlier in the season with another one here at Unadilla.
Ryder DiFrancesco (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 15th:
In moto one I felt like I was putting in a really good ride early to make my way up into the top-five. It’s great experience for me to keep racing up there with the top guys so I was happy with that and ended up finishing the moto in eighth. In moto two, I was way further back early and I knew I had a tough race ahead of me. I was making forward progress until I got a big rock to my shoulder part way through the moto and it just took away my strength. I wasn’t able to hold on and maintain the pace safely, so I headed back to the truck to regroup for next weekend.
Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Fourth:
It’s always tough to jump back into racing this late in the season when everyone already has their rhythm and has been racing with that intensity every weekend. That said, I built up throughout the day to make a strong ride through the pack after a bad start in moto one and I battled for the podium with Jo until the very end of moto two, so I’m happy with this as a starting point. It’s great to be back out there battling and I’m ready to bring the fight again next weekend.
Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Third:
It was an okay day. The first moto wasn’t too bad; we had an average start and then fought back to second, which was really good. In the second moto we were in a great position—we had the overall—and then ran into some issues mechanically, which funnily enough resolved themselves. We were able to finish the race, thankfully, and salvage what we could. I’m not happy by any means, but we’ll take it.
Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
If you want an example of when it’s not your day, it was not my day today! [laughs] The riding side of things was great—I felt really good—but I think in the first moto I was just pushing too much. I was riding the track faster than it was supposed to be ridden at that point in time; I was washing a lot everywhere, and over-leaning. I had two crashes, but thankfully I was okay apart from some road rash on my back. The second moto I got a really good start but again pushed too hard and went down again—not an ideal day.
Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Second:
It was a good day overall, I just had the one mishap in the first moto while leading, and that kind of threw away my chances to win the overall. The bike was pretty messed up from that, so I just tried to salvage what I could in the first moto. Then in the second moto, I got the holeshot and was able to manage the race. It was a good day overall. I’m just bummed about the little crash I had that cost me the overall. I’m feeling good though and looking forward to Budds Creek next weekend.
Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Ninth:
Unadilla was a fun one. I didn’t have my best ride, but we will keep building for the next three races.
Nick Romano (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Seventh:
My first Unadilla was an awesome time. I ended up 4-9 on the day for seventh overall and had some really good battles in that first moto with the top guys. The second moto was a solid ninth, so I’m super stoked on how it went, and I’m already excited for Budds Creek next weekend.
RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Fifth:
We had positives today, I was fast in qualifying, which I haven’t been. First moto, I felt like I got into a really good flow early and was clicking good laps off and landed back on the podium for the first time since round one. Second moto, I got a decent start and then just split out right after the finish. Someone went into the line I was going for and I tried to get out of it and just swapped the front. It was a bummer but we’ll definitely take the positives out of today.
Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 11th:
My starts were good, I just kept finding myself on the ground. I was trying to push but every time I fell, it was just a huge gap – so I was kind of just in no man’s land. I feel like my riding was okay, I just have to get those starts again and just be a little bit better and we’ll be fine.
Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM) – Sixth:
Another solid weekend for me, I went 6-6 for sixth overall. I feel like I rode really good today and feel like the bike is in a really good spot and my endurance is in a good spot. The only thing I’m missing is getting some good starts, so we’re going to go back to Florida this week, really hone in and try to figure something out. I’m looking forward to going to Budds Creek next weekend.