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Images from Motocross Event in High Point Raceway at Mount Morris, Pennsylvania

Adam Cianciarulo keeps on keepin’ on

Jun 182019

Just one month ago the motocross world was still sympathetic to the heartbreak endured by Adam Cianciaruloat the end of the Monster Energy Supercross season. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider as assertively the fastest rider aboard a 250cc, and he appeared destined to finally break through to capture that elusive first career title. Instead, everything came crashing down when Cianciaruloand his Kawasaki hit the dirt inside Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium.

In the days leading up to the summer-long Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, a lot of the discussion centered around Cianciarulo’s ability to move on from the grief of supercross, and focus on the task at hand. He entered the wide open battle for the 250 Class title as the proverbial favorite, largely based on experience, potential, and past success, but the most recent memory was one that forced industry pundits to be cautionary in their expectations.

As soon as the first gate dropped on the outdoor season, it appeared clear that Cianciarulo had himself moved past Vegas and was solely focused on riding to the best of his abilities this summer. By the time the final checkered flag flew at Hangtown, Cianciarulo was back on top of the podium, right where we expected him to be. Since then, he’s only continued to reinforce his championship desires with a string of victories, which has also caused everyone else to forget about the past.

What Cianciarulo has accomplished through the first four rounds of the 2019 season is historic. His four straight overall wins to start the summer hasn’t been done in 15 years, and has only been done a total of four times in history. The riders Cianciarulo now shares this achievement with? Just three of the best riders to ever swing a leg over a motorcycle: Mark Barnett, Ricky Carmichael, and James Stewart.

Cianciarulo’s most recent feat this past weekend at High Point was arguably his most impressive. He had to work for his results in both motos, but prevailed with his fourth straight Moto 2 win to cap off yet another triumphant afternoon.

250 Class

Cianciarulo started the day off with a solid qualifying, where he ended up second on the time sheets, just a tenth off the top. Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis followed in third, while his teammates Colt Nichols, Mitchell Oldenburg and Justin Cooper were sixth, seventh and ninth. Cianciarulo’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Martin Davalos and Garrett Marchbanks also slotted inside the top 10, in eighth and tenth.


When the field stormed out the gate for Moto 1, Cooper did exactly what he’s done all season and put his Yamaha into the lead. Nichol’s was right behind in second, with Ferrandis close in fourth. Cianciarulo found himself mired behind a slew of riders, fighting just to hang on to the top 10. Despite that, he surged up into fifth by the completion of the opening lap.


Cooper and Nichols held onto the top two spots for nearly half the race, but Australian rookie Hunter Lawrence started to pick up the pace, likely due to pressure he started to receive from a hard-charging Cianciarulo and Ferrandis. Lawrence got around Nichols just prior to the halfway point, and made the pass on Cooper for the lead on the ensuing lap. 


The intensity up front continued as Ferrandis and Cianciarulo came to battle Cooper. The Frenchman and his teammate made contact, which forced Cooper off the track briefly and allowed Cianciarulo to move into third. Cianciarulo then went on the attack to wrestle second from Ferrandis. Lawrence went on to take his first moto win, with Cianciarulo second, Ferrandis third and Nichols fifth. Cooper dropped to sixth.


Moto 2 got underway with Nichols surging out to the early lead. Cianciarulo got a considerably better start and tucked in behind in second. Oldenburg started sixth, with Ferrandisin 10th. Cooper started outside the top 10 in 13th.


Nichols did well to hold off the early pressure from Cianciarulo, but it was only a matter of time before the Kawasaki rider found his way to the front. Once in the lead, Cianciarulo was able to comfortably manage his advantage, leaving his rivals to battle for the remaining spots on the podium.


As the moto wore on Nichols came under fire from several riders, including Ferrandis, and eventually dropped out of podium contention. Out front, Cianciarulo cruised to an easy win to remain undefeated in second motos this season, finishing more than six seconds ahead of the Honda tandem of Chase Sexton and Lawrence. Ferrandis just missed out on the top three in fourth, with Nichols fifth. Cooper fought to salvage ninth.


Cianciarulo’s 2-1 results were more than enough to put him on top of the overall classification yet again, and he remains the only rider in the 250 Class to finish inside the top three in every moto this season. 


“I got really lucky in the first moto because I spun out of the gate and had to seriously thread the needle in the first turn to try and stay at the front,” said Cianciarulo. “The track was very tough and I tried to be patient. Coming to the races now compared to the past feels so different. It’s just a whole new vibe. For the first time I really believe in myself. When you hit rock bottom it’s tough but I have so many great people around me. I just would never have thought that I would go four in a row.”


Ferrandis was the next Monster Energy rider in fourth, narrowly missing out on a podium result, while Nichols put a trio of Monster athletes in the top five. An up and down day for Cooper ended in ninth overall, with Davalos a couple spots behind in 12th and Oldenburg in 15th. An injury in the first moto left Marchbanks sidelined for the remainder of the afternoon.


The win for Cianciarulo, combined with Cooper’s worst outing of the summer thus far, vaulted the Kawasaki rider to a 26-point lead in the 250 Class standings. Ferrandismaintains a firm hold on third, 42 points behind Cianciarulo, while Nichols is fifth.


250 Class Results

1. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (2-1)

2. Hunter Lawrence, Honda (1-3)

3. Chase Sexton, Honda (4-2)

4. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Star/YamahaRacing (3-4)

5. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing(5-5)

9. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing (6-9)

12.​Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (15-12)

15.​Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing (10-19)

41.​Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (40-DNS)​


250 Class Standings

1. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 186

2. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Star/YamahaRacing – 160

3. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Star/YamahaRacing – 144

4. Chase Sexton, Honda – 134

5. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing – 126

10.​Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 63

16.​Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 47

23.​Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing – 13 

450 Class

Eli Tomac’s quest for a third straight 450 Class title has gotten off to a solid start. With four moto wins this season Tomac has been as good as you’d expect, but longtime rival Ken Roczen has kept Tomac’s total dominance in check. This duo has put on a show virtually every time the gate dropped, and at High Point we were witness to the most intriguing race of the season, from which Tomac emerged triumphant for his second overall victory of the season.


What was interesting about Tomac’s winning effort this time around was that he didn’t need to be dominant. He didn’t even need to win a moto. He simply needed to be consistent, something Tomac has never had a problem doing, and it carried the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider to victory.


Tomac got off to a bit of a slow start to the day, by his standards. He posted the fourth-fastest time in qualifying, which still led the way for Monster Energy. Tomac’s rookie teammate Joey Savatgy was seventh, with the Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Justin Barcia and Dean Ferris in 11th and 12th.


Off the start in Moto 1 Tomac positioned himself right behind Blake Baggett, and he put heavy pressure on the lead throughout the opening laps. Baggett withstood the threat, but it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the champ got by. As he searched for lines in his quest of the lead, Tomac lost his balance in a rut and tipped over. While he remounted quickly, Tomac had dropped from second to fourth and needed to fight back. Similar misfortune struck Savatgy, who was in the lead group until he too went down and dropped several spots.


Tomac did well to claw his way back into the mix and made a pass to reclaim third within a few laps. He went on to finish third, behind Baggett and Jason Anderson. Savatgysoldiered home to eighth, followed by Barcia in 10th and Ferris in 11th.


When the field emerged from the first turn to start Moto 2 it was Savatgy who led the way for the Monster squad in second, with Barcia in third. Tomac had his work cut out for him from sixth, while Ferris was just outside the top 10 in 12th. In just his second race in the division Savatgy was impressive. He kept sight of the lead for nearly half the moto, but soon had to contend with the divisions’ elite, including Tomac.


Tomac got around his teammate and set his sights on the lead, which was held by none other than Roczen. However, time ran out on Tomac and by the time he made his way into second, there simply wasn’t enough time to close the deficit.


Although he was forced to settle for second, Tomac still prevailed in the overall classification with his 3-2 scores. It marked the first time in his career that the champ grabbed an overall victory without winning a moto, but a win is still a win, and Tomac wasn’t any less satisfied with the result.


“In racing a win is a win, and although today wasn’t the prettiest win, we will take it. In both motos we were a bit buried off the start and between the race lines and lappers, it made it difficult to go forward. I was disappointed with my tip over in Moto 1 because I felt like we had what we needed to move into first but that obviously set us back. I am proud of the fight we showed today and that we are leaving here today tied for the championship.”


Savatgy finished eighth, with Barcia 10th and Ferris 11th.


With his second win Tomac also returned to the top of the 450 Class standings, where he and Roczen now sit tied for the lead. Barcia remains in a solid seventh, while Ferris also sits inside the top 10 in ninth. Savatgy has already climbed his way up to 18th after just two starts.


450 Class Results

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki (3-2)

2. Ken Roczen, Honda (6-1)

3. Jason Anderson, Husqvarna (2-5)

4. Cooper Webb, KTM (7-3)

5. Zach Osborne, Husqvarna (5-4)

8. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki (8-6)

10.​Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (10-10)

11.​ Dean Ferris, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (11-11)


450 Class Standings

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 176

2. Ken Roczen, Honda – 176

3. Jason Anderson, Husqvarna – 144

4. Zach Osborne, Husqvarna – 144

5. Marvin Musquin, KTM – 139

7.​Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 99

9. Dean Ferris, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 89

18.​Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 28