Barcia makes winning GasGas 450SX debut a reality at H1
Emotion-charged victory for Craig in 250SX as Lawrence takes sixth.
Justin Barcia powered to a first-time win by TLD Red Bull GasGas at Houston 1 and made it three opening round victories in a row, as Christian Craig won 250SX East on debut with Yamaha.
Riding the factory MC 450F, a composed Barcia kept Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) at bay to win by 1.015s after 20 minutes plus a lap, that duo untouched as Monster Energy Supercross took off tonight.
A mid-race surge by Roczen wasn’t enough to deliver the new CRF450R a winning debut, but on a night where some of the best in the business faltered, second position was a satisfying start to the 17-round series.
Rounding out the podium was Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) after getting the holeshot in his first 450SX since 2019, but 20 seconds outside of the victory. He was ahead of Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Malcolm Stewart (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha).
Veteran Justin Brayton was quick out of the gates and put in a solid effort for P6 in what was the premier class debut of Muc-Off Honda Racing. Despite missing much of the pre-season with a hand injury, last year’s 250SX West champion Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) rode to seventh.
Ferrandis was directly in front of teammate Plessinger, who appears to be improved now back at Star, while title threats Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) – the 2019 champion – and current Pro Motocross champion Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) overcame a challenging affair for top 10 finishes.
Of the top riders that were further back, defending champion Tomac salvaged 13th following multiple run-ins with Vince Friese (Smartop Bullfrog Spas MotoConcepts Honda), as top qualifier Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) had to settle for 14th after being caught up in a major crash involving Martin Davalos (Monster Energy Team Tedder KTM).
Another former champion Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) was inside the top 10 for much of the final, however, he dropped down to 15th position in the closing laps in a frustrating end to his night at the opener.
Experienced 250SX East contender Craig has delivered a masterful victory at Houston 1 on debut with Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha.
It was a perfect night for Craig in his maiden outing with Star Yamaha, converting his heat race win to victory in the main event at NRG Stadium.
An emotion-charged Craig won his first Monster Energy Supercross final in five years, finishing 5.057s clear of Austin Forkner (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), as Colt Nichols on the second of the Yamahas completed the podium.
While Craig controlled proceedings from the front, the battle for second intensified as the 15-minute plus one-lap final wore on, Forkner moving into the runner-up position by midway and Nichols benefiting from a late error by RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) when he went down while in P3.
A consistent ride meant fourth belonged to Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Hampshire remounted for fifth and Lawrence – who also crashed in the closing stages on the final lap – ended the opener in sixth.
Another who recovered from a fall was Mosiman for seventh, the top 10 also featuring Mitchell Oldenburg (Muc-Off Honda Racing), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rookie Max Vohland in his first-ever Supercross and Joshua Osby (Phoenix Racing Honda).
Australian sensation Lawrence’s P6 came after challenging for the podium at stages. Lawrence, on debut with Team Honda HRC, was quickest in the opening qualifier of the afternoon and was third in his heat race earlier in the night.
The main event proved to be tougher for the 17-year-old, circulating in third through much of the first half and eventually crossing the finish in P6 after a fall on the final lap. He was collected by Hampshire and went down again while attempting to remount.
Monster Energy Supercross will continue this Tuesday, 19 January, with round two of the 2021 season once again to be held in Houston for the second of three events to commence the series at NRG Stadium.