The 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship headed to upstate New York for round number ten and the Unadilla National. In the 450 class, Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin ended Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac‘s latest win streak at five motos in a row. The #25 took the overall away from the #1 with a 2-1 score. Eli landed on the second step of the podium with a 1-2 score, and the defending Champ carries just a 15 point lead into the final four motos of 2018. Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Phil Nicoletti scored the first overall podium of his career with the his third overall in the mud of Unadilla.
In the 250MX class, Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis scored the first 1-1 of his career in the New York mud. Dylan’s Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha teammate Aaron Plessinger grabbed the second spot on the podium and Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Mitchell Harrison joined the two Yamaha’s on the box. With his second overall, Aaron stretched his points lead to 78 points and will look to lock down his first-ever title a week early at Budds Creek next weekend.
After the racing was over, we gathered numerous quotes from riders about their tenth outdoor MX race of 2018.
Marvin Musquin: (1st in 450MX) “That second moto was just awesome, it was perfect. And I had fun! I didn’t know the time [behind me] so I just kept on pushing. Unfortunately, Eli [Tomac] got me in the first moto but the second moto was just awesome. The championship is the same as before the weekend so I will go into the last two rounds focused on winning races so I can hopefully make a dent in that lead.”
Dylan Ferrandis: (1st in 250MX) “For me, it’s [the mud] is something that I’m used to with all my experience in Europe. We did that many times. Like on Saturday we’d have the qualifying race and we didn’t ride the qualifying race and go straight to the race on Sunday. I’m used to it and basically the track was not so much different. In practice the water was everywhere. I was surprised. I was in the truck listening to the rain in the morning and I was like scared we were going to ride in a big pool. Definitely the track here was good. We were really lucky the dirt here was awesome when it’s raining. I think it was a good day of racing.”
Eli Tomac: (2nd in 450MX) “Wow, what a crazy day of racing. That first moto was intense because of all the rain and mud. I couldn’t have pulled off the moto win or the day without the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team behind me, they put in a lot of work today. Obviously, we would’ve liked to take both moto wins today, but winning the championship is the ultimate goal and I felt more comfortable playing it safe and staying on two wheels in the second race to hopefully achieve that goal.”
Aaron Plessinger: (2nd in 250MX) “[On painting his hair red, white and blue for MXoN] I might bring it out at Ironman. I have a photo shoot there, so I might make it happen. We’ll see when I get there. I might surprise some people. (laughs) [On battling his teammate Dylan Ferrandis] We don’t get to battle often, but when we do it’s pretty cool. I like racing that guy. (laughs) It’s pretty gnarly when we battle. He’s a really good rider so I like riding with him.”
Phil Nicoletti: (3rd in 450MX) “Today was great. I felt pretty good in practice before the rain came. I had an OK start in the first moto and made some really quick passes then just sent it. I stalked Marvin for awhile, but then Eli started coming. I had to do one lap without goggles, which hurt me. I ended up third, which I was happy with. The team hustled to get the bike dialed for the second moto. I got a good start and ran third for awhile. I tipped over in the last lap and finished fifth. I’ll take it for the home race. It was a pretty unbelievable experience for me!”
Mitchell Harrison: (3rd in 250MX) “”Today was filled with rain and mud. I got a good start in the first moto and was running right behind Mosiman for awhile. We both went down, unfortunately, and I ended up fourth. I had the lead for awhile in the second moto, but I got together with a lapper. I knew I had to be smart to secure the overall podium, and that’s what I did. It was a great day.”
Ken Roczen: (7th in 450MX) “I haven’t raced a mud race in a long time, so the plan was to just go out there and have some fun. It was definitely on the more challenging side when it comes to conditions. In the first moto I had to come in for new goggles and then I went down twice and could only get up to seventh. The first few turns of the second moto were pretty crazy. I didn’t even make it to the finish line [to end lap one], and there was a dirt clod on my goggles. I tried to pull a Roll Off but it broke, so I had to come in again and get another set of goggles. From there I just tried to make my way up the field. It took a long time until I had a clear track, and once I did I dropped my lap time and could kind of get into a flow. I feel like if I would’ve had better starts today and been up front the day could’ve been a lot better. As it is I’m really disappointed because normally mud is really good for me and I like it.”
Joey Savatgy: (4th in 250MX) “Obviously we would have liked to be up on the podium this weekend, and fell just shy of that, but with all things considered there are a lot of positives to still take away,” said Savatgy. “We started the morning out right by qualifying first, but with the weather conditions the way they were today it was a bit of a free-for-all out there. We are leaving Unadilla healthy and with a fourth place overall, so we will build on this and take it into the final two rounds.”
Weston Peick: (8th in 450MX) “Unadilla reminded me of the second moto at Unadilla last year, where we got a ton of rain and it was very challenging. I tried my best and got out of there pretty happy, considering that I don’t have a lot of experience in those types of conditions. I’m sixth in the points standings, and I like Budds Creek, so I’m excited to do the press day and get more track time in.”
Cooper Webb: (9thin 450MX) “Crazy conditions at Unadilla yesterday but so far my best day yet. Qualified 2nd before the rain. Moto 1 had some crashes, but was was in a good position and caught a rock to the eye without goggles on. Had to rinse my eye out, but got back out to 16th to score points. 2nd moto had some good battles for a podium spot and ended up 4th. Was happy with my riding and hope to have some dry conditions at Budds Creek!”
Kailub Russell: (in 450MX) “The day started off really good, I qualified 12th in practice and in the first moto I got off to somewhat of a decent start but I had a lot of trouble keeping my goggles clean the first few laps and there was chaos everywhere. I made a bunch of good passes, I really kind of surprised myself and got up just outside the top five. I actually worked my way into third and was running there for a while but I had a little crash coming out of Gravity Cavity – I had to throw my goggles off and my gloves got all muddy so I struggled to hold onto the bars for the last ten minutes. I had one more tip-over but I rode it in the first moto to a sixth. In the second moto, I got off to a really good start. [Justin] Barcia got around me and then I think he got a little out of control and ended up looping his bike in front of me, which ended up hitting me, broke my brake pedal and I crashed and went down. I got going in tenth and just tried to feel the track out without the rear brake, which was tough today because it was so sloppy and you needed to rely on the brakes in some of the turns. I was riding really well but ended up having a pretty good crash and the bike tackled me and banged my elbow up – it hurt pretty good. Overall, I was really happy to be here and really pleased with my qualifying results and my first moto, but I’m just bummed with all the chaos that unfolded in the second one.”
Michael Mosiman: (10th in 250MX) “It was a good but chaotic one today, to say the least. I pulled the holeshot in the first moto, led a few laps, then went down after cross rutting. The bike was so heavy after that, then I crashed twice after going down the first time. I ended up sixth. I started in the same gate the next moto, and was really close to the holeshot but I was clipped and went into the hay bales. I got back to 13th, which is good. It was a fun race, and I enjoyed my experience.”
Justin Hill: (44th in 450MX) “I felt good in qualifying. Unfortunately, I caught my previously injured leg in a rut in the first moto and that was it. I had to sit out the rest of the day. My goal is to work hard this week to get the swelling out of my knee and line up for Budds Creek. I have to give a big ‘Thank you’ to my team!”
Austin Forkner: (14th in 250MX) “Man, today was a tough race and the muddy conditions were challenging and fun, but I need to put together two motos. I’m staying positive and we are leaving here in one piece and just going to let it all hang-out the next two weekends to finish out the season strong”
Enzo Lopes: (17th in 250MX) It was gnarly. In the first practice, I didn’t feel the best. We headed out for qualifying and I felt good. It kept raining harder and harder. As soon as we got on the gate for the first moto it was a complete mud fest. I had a good start, but before the Skyshot I ended up crashing. My helmet was so heavy that I could barely see and breathe! Between the motos we had an issue with the bike, and I couldn’t race the second moto. That’s how it goes sometimes. We will come back stronger for Budds Creek this next weekend.
Jordan Bailey: (21st in 250MX) “Unadilla was a mud fest. I went down a few times, but I’m looking forward to next week.”
Photos by: Simon Cudby (KTM & Husqvarna Images)