The first two rounds of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross are in the books as the series heads out of California and leaves Hangtown to rest for another year.
It’s Chase Sexton, Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson leading the 450 class to Thunder Valley, Colo., with a field full of other riders waiting for their turn to finish on top.
Roczen Shows The Fight
Roczen earned a second-place overall score at the opening round of Pro Motocross at Fox Raceway two weekends ago. After three months away from the sport, the podium finish gave him a solid foundation to build on for the coming rounds.
“I can’t complain about a 2-2, obviously with how my Supercross season ended,” Roczen said. “So, for me, it almost felt like a win.”
Roczen took a hiatus mid-way through the Supercross series due to struggles with his health and did not return to racing until the end of May when Pro Motocross began.
So heading into the season, it was more about the effort and less about the result for Roczen, who came away from Fox Raceway happy on both fronts.
Regardless, he’s continued to put in the work during the week and chase his hunger to race.
“I have a strong feeling that it’s going to pay off,” Roczen said.
The Honda HRC rider has been known for his unwavering determination throughout his career, even in the face of major injuries that have sidelined him for months at a time and made his future in the sport uncertain.
Every weekend, he continues to show up and compete.
His performance at Hangtown was no exception.
Roczen maintained a third-place position throughout the first moto and kept up his battle face throughout the second moto as he was challenged by teammate Sexton, Supercross champion Eli Tomac and moto-one winner Anderson.
Roczen settled for a fourth-place overall finish at Hangtown — another week of hard work ahead of him.
“I’m not always talking about like winning, winning, winning, but it’s more so my hunger and determination and my will to do really good,” Roczen said.
Barcia’s Here For A Good Time
Justin Barcia has a loose perspective when it comes to motocross: He’s just here for some good racing.
With tracks that lend themselves to freestyle riding and creative line selections, Barcia is confident rolling into the motocross season that he’ll be a podium contender.
His result in the opening round of the season was affected by a bad start in the first moto and a minor crash in the second moto of the day.
“I had great charge and fitness felt good,” Barcia commented. “Stoked to be here this weekend and show people what I got.”
Right now, the main goal is to finish on the podium.
In the recent Monster Energy Supercross season, Barcia dealt with some controversy over his aggressive riding style, which resulted in a significant points deduction from the AMA that moved him to fifth in the championship standings after the last round.
However, at 30 years old and at this stage in his career, he’s found it easy to put the situation behind him and focus on having fun on the race track.
“In the moment, take it, and then leave it and move on to the next thing,” Barcia said. “I just want to go out there, give it my all like I always do, give some whips to the fans and have a good time.”
The No. 51 finished in 10th overall at Hangtown, but still has more left to give in the upcoming rounds.
“I think people can underestimate whatever they want, but I just kind of do my thing,” Barcia said.
The Only Martin Out On The Track
It’s like it was back in the late 2000s, when Alex Martin was the only Martin brother racing motocross professionally. It took Jeremy Martin four years to catch up to his older brother, when he joined the professional ranks in 2013.
Now, with Jeremy out with injury until 2023, Alex is the only one in the paddock representing the Martin family name.
“It’s fun when we do get to ride together, but at the same time, it doesn’t change too much,” Alex said. The brothers have ridden on different coasts during Supercross seasons and currently compete in different classes, so the dynamic on race day isn’t all that different for Alex.
It’s his rookie season in the 450 class and his focus is on making it through the next 10 rounds of motocross healthy, after successfully finishing the 17-round supercross season without injury.
With a 14th overall result at Fox Raceway and a 12th overall result at Hangtown, he’s also inching closer to his goal of being a top-10 rider.
“If I could squeak that, a couple top-five finishes and maybe a podium at the home race, that would be pretty cool,” Martin said.
His rides at Fox Raceway and Hangtown weren’t quite what he had hoped for, but he’s looking for redemption on the East Coast leg of the series where he’s spent the majority of his time training.
“We’re just learning race to race, trying to get our feet wet and get better every weekend,” Martin said.