Red plate-holder Roczen extends with Indianapolis 1 win
Nichols goes back-to-back in dramatic 250SX East main event.
Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen has delivered the new CRF450R a first win in Monster Energy Supercross to extend his advantage in the 2021 standings at Indianapolis, as Colt Nichols won again in 250SX East.
Defending champion Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) ripped off to a great start with his teammate Adam Cianciarulo just behind.
Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) and Malcolm Stewart (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) got collected coming out of turn one, while Roczen, Joey Savatgy (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS) and Justin Brayton (Muc-Off Honda) rounded out the top five early.
After settling into the lead, Tomac washed the front-end coming out of the whoops, hitting the ground and letting Cianciarulo and Roczen around. He remounted and only managed to lose three seconds on the duo.
Five minutes in, Roczen began to pressure for the lead, going to work for a few laps attempting to get around which allowed Tomac to close in. A few minutes of follow the leader ensued and Roczen dove to the inside with 10 minutes left making a pass.
Tomac followed him past in the next corner and the front two took a gap quickly with Cianciarulo washing the front a few corners later. As Cianciarulo picked it up and resumed in third, the battle for the last spots in the top five started to heat up.
Despite hitting the gate off the start and entering the first turn dead last, Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) was on a charge toward the top five. He made short work of Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) for sixth and shortly thereafter passed Savatgy.
With Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb just ahead, the two caught Cianciarulo for third. Up front with just over two minutes to go, Roczen had a mishap forcing him to go around the outside of a berm and handing the lead back to Tomac.
The Honda rider didn’t wait long to pass him back, doing so a few corners later, while Webb put a pass on Cianciarulo for third. Crossing the line with one second left on the clock, Roczen started the last two laps with a 1.5s gap.
Tomac made one final push, closing right up to the back of Roczen, but a bobble in the final rhythm section enabled Roczen to hold on for the win. Webb held strong for third, followed by Cianciarulo and Osborne taking the remaining spots in the top five.
Rookie standout Ferrandis brought it home in sixth, with LCQ winner Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) taking seventh, followed by Savatgy, Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha and Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM), who rounded out the top 10.
Tonight’s result sees Roczen now six points clear of Webb in the 450SX title-race, with Tomac a further three behind in third.
Points-leader Nichols has made it back-to-back victories in a dramatic Indianapolis 250SX East final that saw Christian Craig and Jett Lawrence come together on the final lap.
Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha teammates Nichols and Craig came into the round with dual red plates, but it was Nichols who took control tonight.
Into the first turn it was Nichols taking the lead with Craig, Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas) and Mitchell Oldenburg (Muc-Off Honda) close behind.
Team Honda HRC’s Lawrence got a rough start back in 10th, but it wasn’t long until he’d run up into the top six. A bobble running into the back of Thomas Do (KTM) caused him to again drop outside of the top 10, while out front, Nichols began to gap the field after five minutes, putting two seconds on his teammate.
Mosiman, meanwhile, hung onto the back of Craig, keeping the pressure on him through the first five minutes. Lawrence put the first few laps behind him and charged, reaching Oldenburg to take fifth place around the halfway point.
While the Yamaha duo cruised out front, Lawrence closed the gap to Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), taking over fourth place with a minute left and taking advantage of a lap rider between him and Mosiman in the next half a lap to get by for a podium spot.
Not far ahead of Lawrence was Craig and the Honda rider set out to catch him as the white flag waved. With just two corners left, Lawrence attempted a pass around the outside and Craig ran wide, taking both of them off the track.
Craig hit the deck, Lawrence got stuck on his bike and Mosiman and Shimoda slipped by. All of this as Nichols crossed the finish line to take a convincing wire-to-wire victory, while Mosiman and Shimoda landed their first podiums of the year.
A disappointed Lawrence brought it home in fourth position ahead of Craig, as Oldenburg, Do, John Short (BarX Chaparral Suzuki), Josh Osby (Phoenix Racing Honda) and Grant Harlan (Honda) rounded out the top 10.
It’s now Nichols who has taken sole possession of the red plate, eight points clear of Craig, with Lawrence a further four back in third. Round five of the season will take place on Tuesday, 2 February, again at Lucas Oil Stadium.