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Dylan Ferrandis competes in the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in Southwick, MA

Dylan Ferrandis Finally Through

Jul 022018

Ever since he brought his wealth of MXGP experience to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship it’s seemed like only a matter of time before Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis finally broke through for his first win on U.S. soil. In just his third start of the summer the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha rider did just that, emerging triumphant after yet another wild 250 Class battle at the Southwick National.
Despite missing the first three rounds of the season in his continued recovery from a slew of injuries suffered in Monster Energy Supercross, Ferrandis has been at the forefront of the division from the moment he saw his first gate drop at High Point. He’s finished no worse than fourth overall this summer and has an average finish of 4.7 in just six motos. Combine that with his trio of podium results during his first full season of American motocross last year and you have a rider destined to be a winner. On top of all that, he’s got the same unwavering confidence as the highly successful Frenchmen that paved the way. For Ferrandis this victory wasn’t a matter of if, but when.
"I'm so happy to finally get my first overall win today. I've been working really hard to come back from injury, and it's always a battle, but I think that we're finally getting back to where we belong. It's really cool to see [fellow Frenchman] Marvin [Musquin] win today as well. I think that it's something that's very good for France and gives the fans something to cheer for."

250 Class Moto 1
As the only sand track on the championship schedule, Southwick is know for producing unpredictable action and some exceptional performances, and given how the first moto of the afternoon unfolded it appeared as though a different Monster Energy rider was going to stand atop the podium at the end of the afternoon. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner put on a clinic in a march to the front, slicing through the ever-changing track surface with ease and maintaining an unparalleled level of speed and momentum.

After starting fifth, Forkner methodically worked his way forward and broke into podium position by Lap 3, just behind Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha rookie Justin Cooper. Forkner made quick work of his fellow Monster rider and set his sights on leader Shane McElrath, who enjoyed a margin of more than eight seconds. Within a matter of laps Forkner had completely erased the deficit and was hounding McElrath for the lead. An bomber of an outside line allowed Forkner to seize control of the moto just past the halfway point, from which he never looked back.

In his battle for a spot on the podium Cooper encountered misfortune, but point leader Aaron Plessinger was there to take his place aboard his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha.  It took a while for Ferrandis to get rolling after he started 10th, but he was patient and took advantage of opportunities as they came, eventually climbing all the way up to fourth behind his teammate.

Forkner took his and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s first moto win of the season by 1.2 seconds over Alex Martin, while Plessinger and Ferrandis helped Monster Energy occupy three of the top four spots.


250 Class Moto 2
With momentum on his side Forkner wasted little time putting his Kawasaki back out front in Moto 2. Although he missed out on the holeshot, Forkner had the pace to surge into the top spot and begin distancing himself from the field. His Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Joey Savatgy was just a few spots behind in fifth, while the Star Yamaha riders all jockeyed for a spot in the top 10.

With Forkner well in control out front, Plessinger and Ferrandis teamed up to climb up the standings, making passes on several riders until they closed in on Savatgy in fifth. At this point Ferrandis began to mount what would be his winning charge to the lead. After working his way around Plessinger, the Frenchman then got by Savatgy and found himself in the top five. He continued to pick off one rider a lap until he jumped into third place in the late stages of the moto.

At this point Forkner’s lead had been erased and he found himself in a fierce battle with Martin for the top spot, in what became a battle for the overall win. With mere minutes left in the moto Martin’s impatience got the best of him and he forced the issue with Forkner. The lead pair made contact and both riders fell to the ground, with Forkner receiving the worst of the situation. That allowed Ferrandis to go from third to first with just a few of laps remaining.

While the overall was still in flux, Ferrandis put his head down and charged to the checkered flag to take his second win in the past three motos by just under a second over McElrath. Fortunately for Ferrandis, Martin was unable to recover enough positions to clinch the overall, which gave the Frenchman an unlikely, yet well-deserved maiden victory.

Ferrandis’ 4-1 scores were enough to edge out Martin’s 2-4 results in the overall classification. When all was said and done, no rider was more disappointed than Forkner, who had a surefire podium finish and likely a win taken away from him. After getting the wind knocked out of him in the incident with Martin, Forkner managed to get back into the action and earn the final point-paying position in 20th.

“I’m happy with the way I’m riding and I really expected to at least be on the podium today. We’ve put in a lot of work, particularly for Southwick, and I couldn’t have been more prepared for the sand. It’s disappointing for things to end the way they did because I was doing everything I could to run clean and just put two solid motos together. We had a really good shot at the win, so it’s hard to swallow having that taken away from us like that.”

Plessinger’s up and down 3-7 results landed him fifth overall, while teammate Colt Nichols followed in sixth (8-8) just ahead of Forkner in seventh (1-20). Savatgy and Cooper both endured through some hard luck, with each collecting a top-15 result.

Despite not being much of a factor in either moto, Plessinger still maintains control of the point lead and currently sits 23 points ahead of Martin in the 250 Class standings. Cooper is on the verge of breaking into third in points, while Forkner is just a single point out of fifth.


250 Class Results

1. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (4-1)

2. Alex Martin, KTM (2-4)

3. Shane McElrath, KTM (6-2)

4. RJ Hampshire, Honda (7-3)

5. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (3-7)

6. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (8-8)

7. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (1-20)

14. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (32-5)

17. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (17-9)


250 Class Standings

1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 233

2. Alex Martin, KTM – 210

3. Jeremy Martin, Honda – 176

4. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 174

5. Shane McElrath, KTM – 170

6. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 169

10. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 128

11. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 111

15. Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 72

21. Colt Nichols,  Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 3

450 Class Moto 1

Entering Southwick Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac could seemingly do no wrong. He was undeniably on another level of performance compared to the rest of the 450 Class field, which allowed him to consistently charge through the field and ultimately win the first five rounds of the season. On top of that, Tomac was headed to arguably his best track at Southwick, where he had amassed a perfect undefeated record since the series returned to legendary The Wick 338 in 2016.


In the opening moto Tomac was able to overcome a tough start out the gate and position himself just outside the top five on the opening lap. While he battled up the standings, fellow Monster Energy rider Justin Barcia was making a run for the lead aboard his Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing machine. Barcia hounded early leader Ken Roczen for several laps, but eventually put his Yamaha on point. His time out front was short lived, as Marvin Musquin then took control of the moto.


As this unfolded, Tomac was already in podium contention and applying pressure on the leaders. He made his way around Barcia for second and then put on a relentless pursuit of Musquin for the lead. The gap between the bitter rivals ebbed and flowed throughout the moto, based on the drastically different line choice in addition to navigating through lapped traffic. Tomac attempted to make a pass several times, but was unable to gain enough momentum to take the preferred line away from Musquin.


As time ran out on the 30-minutes-plus-two-laps moto Tomac knew he had to drop the hammer and make something happen in the final two laps. He successfully got alongside the Frenchman and the two appeared to make slight contact, but Tomac kept it pinned and carried the momentum into the next corner, effectively completing the pass. Musquin gave chase in retaliation, but crashed while doing so on the final lap.


Tomac took his ninth moto win of the season by 27.2 seconds over Musquin, with Barcia in third. In his first race of the season after returning from injury, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb finished eighth.


450 Class Moto 2

Tomac got a better jump to start Moto 2 and was able to make enough quick passes on the opening lap to emerge in second, right behind Musquin, who made his way into the lead quickly. Barcia sat fifth, while Webb completed the opening lap in 10th.


After eating sand for the majority of the first moto Tomac didn’t want to waste any time in making his move for the lead and he aggressively pushed his way to the front. Musquin had no match for the pace of Tomac and in no time the champ had a seemingly insurmountable advantage over the field.


Unfortunately, Tomac’s journey became more complex after he lost the front end and went down. He remounted quickly and still had a couple seconds to spare on Musquin, eventually building that lead back up a bit at the halfway point of the moto. Misfortune struck Tomac yet again and he was forced to pick up his Kawasaki for the second time. He didn’t have quite as luxurious a lead following the second incident, which allowed Musquin to inherit the lead while Tomac remounted in second.


At this point Tomac’s bike was not nearly has dialed in, and it prevented him from being able to mount any sort of comeback. He held a significant gap over Barcia, who worked his way into third, and settled in.


The mistakes ultimately cost Tomac his shot at a sixth-straight win, but despite having to settle for the runner-up spot, he didn’t lose a single point in the championship battle.


"We have to be happy going 1-2 at Southwick, but I know I let this one get away. I didn't get the start I needed in either moto but I was able to battle and put myself back in contention. Moto 1 was a real battle until the end and I was happy to be able to make the pass on the final two laps to take the win. In Moto 2 I made a couple of mistakes that put me on the ground, but leaving here with a second overall and healthy after two crashes is pretty good.”


The second-moto tiebreaker went to Musquin by virtue of his win, which gave him his first overall victory of the season. Tomac grabbed a bittersweet runner-up finish, while Barcia put forth yet another exceptionally consistent effort to finish third (3-3). Webb kept things clean and earned a pair of solid results to finish eighth (8-9).


Tomac’s lead in the 450 Class standings remains at 32 points over Musquin, while Barcia continues to assert his hold on third.


450 Class Results

1. Marvin Musquin, KTM (2-1)

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

3. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (3-3)

4. Blake Baggett, KTM (4-4)

5. Ken Roczen, Honda (5-5)

8. Cooper Webb, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (8-9)


450 Class Standings

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 289

2. Marvin Musquin, KTM – 257

3. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 224

4. Ken Roczen, Honda – 201

5. Blake Baggett, KTM – 200

26. Cooper Webb, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 25