Feature photo by: Octopi

The 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicked off on Saturday with the Hangtown National, and it was HRC / Honda’s Ken Roczen taking the win in the 450MX class and Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo winning the 250MX class.

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AC was joined on the 250MX podium by the Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s of Justin Cooper (2nd) and Colt Nichols (3rd). In the 450MX class, Roczen was joined by and Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac 2nd and Rockstar / Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson (3rd) on the podium.

After the racing was over, we gathered numerous quotes from riders about their first outdoor MX race of 2019.

250 Podium. Cianciarulo (center), Cooper (left), Nichols (right). Photo by: Octopi

Ken Roczen: (1st in 450MX) “I’m absolutely stoked. All day, we were on it; qualifying was great, got the first moto win and then the overall. I honestly didn’t think it would go that well because I felt like I had more in the tank and it’s hard to gauge where you’ll be at the first round. What we did today was very important to me, the team and our journey. I didn’t get the best start in the first moto but was able to make some moves early to get out front and have a clear track. We were all hoping we could get one moto in without the rain, so that was great. The second moto was tough and those types of conditions can backfire on you so quickly. Eli [Tomac] and I had a good battle in the beginning. We kind of yo-yoed back and forth. I had some sloppy parts out there though, so I just took it extra easy toward the end and didn’t want to push the envelope to risk a mistake and miss the overall. This is such a great way to start the season, and I can’t wait to keep the momentum going.”


Adam Cianciarulo: (1st in 250MX) “It definitely wasn’t an easy win and the mud was crazy, but man does it feel good to come out on top. I know a lot of people were questioning my focus coming into today’s race, but I think we proved that we’re in it and ready to fight for this championship. The field is stacked this year so it’s going to be a good season of racing, that’s for sure!”


Eli Tomac: (2nd in 450MX) “What a crazy day of racing! I was riding pretty well in the first moto, but I had a hard time getting around some of the guys. We were a little more prepared for the rain in the second moto and I just went out there and gave it all I had, but man was it slick. I definitely had a few close calls, but fought through them and came out on top. I’m so glad we were able to come back and recover; second place overall isn’t a bad place to be! We’ll be ready to fight for first next weekend.”


Justin Cooper: (2nd in 250MX) “Great start to the season with the first moto win and a good day overall. I was able to salvage a decent amount of points in the second moto considering the conditions. It was gnarly out there, so I can’t complain too much on the result, but we want more. I’m looking to take this momentum into next week!””


Jason Anderson: (3rd in 450MX) “My weekend went pretty well. In the first moto, I just tried to figure out my groove since I haven’t been racing. At the beginning, I was a little tight and I ended up stalling the bike one time but all-in-all I was able to come back and make some good progress. Finishing 2-5 for third overall is not bad for the first round.”

Tomac went 4-1 for 2nd overall at the opener. Photo by: Octopi

Colt Nichols: (3rd in 250MX) “Starting off the season is always a challenge to see how you stack up, so I just wanted to see where we were. I’ve felt like I’ve been good at outdoors but have been underprepared the last few seasons so this is a great start on the podium. The track was brutal and the Yamaha felt great today. Everyone who has been helping me out has been awesome and it feels great to get third overall.””


Zach Osborne: (4th in 450MX) “Overall, it was a good start to my 450 outdoor career. I had a silly mistake in the first moto that cost me an overall podium but it was still a good weekend. I started off solid in the motos and I had an epic second moto from basically last to third, so I’m really happy with that and I’m pumped for next weekend and the rest of the series”


Dylan Ferrandis : (4th in 250MX) “he day started out well. I felt very comfortable physically and on the bike during practice. In the first moto I made a late charge to the front to finally finished third. In the second moto I was feeling good. The speed was really good too until I fried my clutch and had to slow down to save the bike to finish the moto. It was really frustrating for me and now I’m really disappointed but we’re onto the next one in Pala next weekend and hoping to get back on top.”


Cooper Webb: (5th in 450MX) “The opening round went pretty well considering the conditions at the end of the day. In the second moto, I struggled in the mud to get a flow going and I fell a few times. Overall, it’s not what I wanted but it’s a good start to the season and we’re in a good position, so we’ll get better from here.”


Chase Sexton: (5th in 250SX) “Not what I wanted, just didn’t feel super comfortable all day. The good side was that my starts were pretty good, but I definitely wish I could have stayed up there a little better. Had a quick crash in moto two and that cost me, but the conditions were pretty tough. It’s okay though, we scored good points, and we will put in the work and come out swinging for round two this weekend.”


Marvin Musquin: (6th in 450MX) “I was super sore after my crash in practice but I tried to regroup and get as better as I could before the motos but the first moto was tough. The feeling was not good and the start was not there, so I was battling with myself, basically, and then the track – I couldn’t find a good flow or rhythm. The second moto was better but it was a very disappointing outcome for me as I’ve gotten second the last two years here. Hangtown is always tough, so we know where we are now and it can only get better.”

Cooper led every lap of moto 1, but a bad start in moto 2 kept him from a shot at the overall.

RJ Hampshire: (6th in 250MX) “Had a crash in the opening laps of that first practice which tweaked my bike up so my qualifying wasn’t that great. Got a good start first moto and then ran into some issues just before half way and it took a little bit to clear up. Also had a close call with my teammate! [Lawrence]. Ended up making a couple passes late to get sixth. I didn’t get a great start second moto but made a bunch of passes early. I caught that lead group, not the leader, but the podium guys, but I went down every time I got close. I ended up going down four times in that moto! I really wasn’t happy about that because I felt like I was riding the track well for how gnarly it was, I just made too many mistakes. Sixth overall on the day which is my best Hangtown result yet but I should be better than that”


Justin Barcia: (7th in 450MX) “I haven’t been able to ride too much and this was the first day doing a 30-minute moto so I think it was a good day. I just wanted to get through it, let alone be in the top 10 all day, so that was nice. In the first moto I got a good start but got shuffled back to eighth. The second moto it was really coming down. It was difficult on my wrists for sure. We have some work to do but I’m glad to get through the first one and wasn’t even expecting a top 10. I obviously want to be up there, I just know it will take some time. We’ll put in the work.”


Michael Mosiman: (7th in 250MX) “It was really gnarly conditions in Moto 2. I think I rode well aside from the mistakes and I look forward to round two.”


Dean Ferris: (9th in 450MX) “I’d say the day started really slow but we reverted back a bit to what we knew. I messed up my start a little in the first moto and had to come through the pack. Toward the end I found my pace. I had a better start in the second moto but it was chaotic with the mud and rain. The track was treacherous with the rain, but I think eighth (from Moto 2) was where I should have been today. I’m sure round by round we’ll keep improving.”


Alex Martin: (8th in 250MX) “I was very happy with my second-place finish in the second moto at Hangtown. Qualifying and my first moto did not go well at all. I was struggling to find the comfort needed to hang it out on the bike. A couple of crashes didn’t help things. Huge props to the team, as I feel we made great changes throughout the day. I’m really bummed to be in a points deficit to start the series, but I feel that we can be up front from here on out.”


Cole Seely: (14th in 450MX) “The opening round had its ups and downs for sure. I think I qualified pretty good for not having raced an outdoor in almost two years. I was a little nervous going into the day and anticipating the rain. I was happy we were able to get at least one moto in before the storm actually rolled in. I was also happy with how I rode. I felt like I managed the race well and had more energy at the end of the moto than I normally do. The second moto was tough; I fell way too many times and just didn’t have very good luck. If there was a way to build some more skill for muddy races then I would but the only time we really get to practice that is in race situations. Moving forward I think I know what I need to work on and that will help set some additional goals to push through the season.”

The track was a sloppy mess for moto 2, but Roczen was solid in it.

Christian Craig: (10th in 250MX) “This year has been nothing short of a struggle for me so to just get through the day felt so good. I have a way to go to get where I want to be but being able to get a top 10 overall was a good start. First practice I was far off but we changed my bike setup after and felt way better second practice. First moto was a bit of a struggle but we got through it and had a better second moto. I’m just happy to be back at the races and looking forward to improving each weekend.”


Hunter Lawrence: (11th in 250MX) “It was okay, just stayed warmed up and took some pain killers to be ready for the second moto. Tough first weekend at Hangtown, but despite the race results I’m happy with where I’m at. There were lot of positives, speed and fitness is there just my starts let me down this weekend forcing me to take a lot more risks on a track with a lot of lines but one main line. I was taking blind lines and just more risks in general, and that’s not the best thing especially when it’s muddy. Moving onto the next one. Can’t wait to go racing next weekend at Pala!”


Justin Hill: (21st in 450MX) “Hangtown did not go as planned. I was really looking forward to starting the outdoors off well. I qualified ninth fastest, but had two rough motos. It’s all mental for me right now. I have to crack the code and learn what makes me tick again.”


Garrett Marchbanks: (13th in 250MX) “I’m a little disappointed with how things went in Moto 2, but I’m happy to be leaving without any injuries. After qualifying fastest and my top-10 finish in the first moto I was feeling really confident, but the rain and mud proved to be my toughest competitor and caused me to make some big mistakes. We’ll regroup this week and be back next weekend to fight again”


Ty Masterpool : (14th in 250MX) “Our plan is that this is going to be a growth year, getting used to the tracks, the high level of competition, the long motos, and the busy schedule of racing every weekend. So I’m looking to stay focused on that growth and gaining experience more so than worrying about results. It was tough out there today, but I feel like I learned a lot already. I can’t wait to get back at it at Pala.”


Martin Davalos: (15th in 250MX) “The track was difficult today, but it felt good to be back racing the young fellas out there again. I had a good first moto and felt really good about things, but I had some issues with my goggles in the second moto I and couldn’t really see so things went south quickly. I had a pretty hard crash and I just couldn’t continue, unfortunately. I’m going to check in with the doctors this week and make sure everything is okay, and just hope to be back on the line next weekend.”

The Australian transplant Hunter Lawrence was heading to the front in moto 1, but a crash and a footpeg to the back halted that momentum.

Kyle Peters: (18th in 250MX) “We made some progress as far as bike setup. Really, the results don’t show how good I felt throughout the day. Qualifying didn’t go well. The track was flat and everybody was going fast. I had a decent start in the first moto and was too timid in the opening laps. Still, my fitness was there. I had a really good start in the second moto and struggled with vision and went backwards.”


Jordan Bailey: (20th in 250MX) “My starts were good, I just felt like I was struggling and not gelling with the bike or the track all day. We’ll go back and work on some things but at least we can take positives with the starts and head to the next round.”


Thomas Covington: (26th in 250MX) “In the first moto, I didn’t get a very good start at all and I ended up going down on the downhill. The second moto in the mud, I went down several times – it was deep in some spots and in other spots slippery so it was really hard to stay up. It wasn’t a great start but we’ve got 22 motos to go.”


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.