Heading into the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship nobody really knew what we would see from Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo. Fresh off a heartbreaking crash at the 2019 Las Vegas SX that cost him the Championship, many wondered if he had the mental strength needed to put that behind him. Well, we are now seven rounds into the series and he has five wins, a second overall, a third overall and a 25 point lead, so I think he has put those questions to bed.
While Adam has been the dominant force in the 250MX Championship so far this season, that domination has not come without some controversy. In Colorado, the Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha team—with two Championship contenders under their tent—protested Adam for leaving the track and reentering in a place the thought was unsafe. The protest was denied and Adam was able to keep his moto win. In my eyes, I thought that protest was completely unwarranted and according to the press releases from the AMA and MXSports they thought the same way, but the lingering effects of the controversy seemed to unjustifiably carry over into RedBud last weekend when Adam went off the track a couple of more times during moto 1.
During the chaos of the opening lap of moto 1, Adam went off the track twice while racing for positions and after the race, the protests came in hot and heavy once again. This time, though, the officials decided to dock Adam two positions (from 3rd to 5th) for what I saw as an obvious no call situation. The problem was, rather than look at this incident by itself, I think they let the lingering effects of the Colorado incident and the pressure from Star Racing dictate their decision on this one. While I agree that the rules about going off the track may need some looking at, in my eyes Adam once again followed the rules. Officials should not let emotions and pressure from team managers dictate a penalty and it is hard to argue that, that did not happen here.
You can watch both of AC’s off track excursions in the GoPro Video below. Both in the first 2 min and 20 sec of the video.
After the race, Adam answered questions about the race and the incident in the press conference. You can read his PC yet upset answer as well as the rest of his Q&A below.
Let’s talk about moto one and just get it out of the way.
Yeah, so I made the first lap was hectic as always and of course after Colorado—everything that happened there and I still obviously felt like I was in the right there—but obviously you’re going to be under more of a microscope. I mean, that’s just common sense. I felt that the first time I went off the track on the first lap, Dylan kind of came from the inside and he kind of gave me a little bit nowhere to go. I was already kind of committed to jumping in the air and it was like kind of a toss up. My argument there when they said I shouldn’t accelerate when I’m off the track, I’m like, “okay, so say I shift down to second gear right there then I hopped back in the track while everybody else was going 60 miles an hour.” I mean, to me, that’s not going to end too well. I just try to use common sense the best I can. I feel like I’ve been good at that in the past. But I mean with that being said, I understand that I need to stay on the track. I don’t think that I can just go wherever I want out there. You know, I know I got sketchy a couple of times on their first lap, but I’m just out there trying my best. You know what I mean? I’m definitely not looking to try to cheat or anything like that, but they saw it how they saw, I didn’t agree. It is what it is. When you work that hard for a moto, I mean I felt terrible. I just kind of grinded it out. I was in survival mode out there and ended up with a third. It’s frustrating to get the news that you got pushed back a couple of spots. We work really hard for these points and I was happy I was able to kind of put that behind me and not let it frustrate me, ’cause I could have let it ruin my day. I could’ve gotten out there in second moto and rolled around and got seventh or eighth and did what I did, but I put it behind me, did my best and it’s just unfortunate I guess.
Is there anything different with having your main competitors also good and they’re all on the same team?
No, I mean I feel a little bit lonely out there. I kind of wish that Austin Forkner’s knee was doing a little bit better so we could have another green bike up there. You know, I think all these guys are riding good. Obviously, they’re a great team. I got a lot of respect for them, but I don’t think it’s any different for me. I mean, I kind of look at everybody the same. Honestly, when I’m out there, I feel like I’m a nice normal dude off the track, but when I’m on the gate—when I’m racing—it’s like they’re all the same to me. Teammates or not, I want to beat them just as bad, my friends, whatever it is. I wouldn’t say it’s too much different.
The last three races have been three of the gnarliest tracks on the series. How ready are you guys for the week off and what’s your plan for the week off? Business as usual or kind of get some R&R [rest and relaxation]?
I think for me it’s probably business as usual. Historically in the past, this has kind of been my target going into this year, is to try to fix these middle couple rounds cause I’m normally…I mean I’ve been pretty mediocre in the past, in outdoors in general, but my best finishes and where I felt the best, is kinda the beginning of the series and the end of the series. This middle portion, I think my average finish here in Southwick and all those places probably be like 10th or 11th. I mean I’ve kind of terrible here, so I kinda feel good to get out of these couple of races here. Obviously, winning Southwick was a big surprise for me. Even on a day like today where I don’t necessarily feel the best, kind of coming in here and getting a second place, you know, it’s hard to beat those guys out there man. They’re tough. So it’s a good time. I think in regards to the off weekend, just business as usual. Getting an extra little recovery in on the weekend and maybe play a round of golf. I don’t know, a little playstation. We’ll see.
You mentioned earlier, comparing today versus years past. Have you kind of done that up often this year? Like compared to where you’re at this season versus other seasons? Just because it’s been so long since you kinda like had an outdoor season in a row.
Ah, yes and no. I mean, it’s funny how fast the standard for yourself changes. A couple of years ago, I get a second at RedBud, and dude, I would be so stoked. I’d have the best weekend off ever—you know, just awesome—and now you get second after winning five of the first six and all you want is to win. It’s like a drug. It’s everything you think about. You hate seeing anybody else [win]. I’m happy for Dylan obviously winning, but you hit, you hate to see anybody else win. You want it so bad, you feel like it’s yours. I think it just goes to show… I’ve always put my heart and soul into what I do and I’ve always felt like I’ve worked really hard, but this last year I really took a big look in the mirror and be like, what am I, what do I really want to get out of this? You know? And so I think the standard for myself has changed. I, I hold myself to a higher standard all the time, 24-7. Second sucks now, I hate it. I’m grateful. You know, a lot of people wish they were here. I’ve come a long way, but I certainly have a long way to go.
Last year we started basically at Hangtown with the question, but now we’re a few few weeks away from the announcement. If you were called from the AMA to ride for the Motocross of Nations to represent Team USA, would you be part of it?
Yeah, I mean absolutely. It would be an honor to represent the USA. I haven’t done it before. I’d love to get a chance.
Photos by: Octopi – Kawasaki