The seventh round of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing made its way to northeastern Florida for the annual GEICO Motorcycle WW Ranch National. With hot and humid weather at WW Ranch Motocross Park, the world’s best riders faced one of the most physically challenging rounds of the season. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne emerged victorious by sweeping both motos in the 450 Class, taking a class-leading fourth victory of the season and extending his championship lead. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis swept both motos to take the overall win for the second consecutive week, extending his lead in the championship standings.
As the gate dropped on the opening 450 Class Moto, Osborne grabbed the Motosport.com Holeshot, closely followed by Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo and Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton. The premier class rookie duo of Cianciarulo and Sexton quickly sprinted around Osborne on the opening lap, shuffling the championship point leader to third. Following a hard crash in the final qualifying session, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin started just behind the leaders in fourth.
While Cianciarulo and Sexton paced one another at the head of the field, Osborne trailed by just over three seconds, keeping the leaders within sight. At the halfway point of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap moto, Sexton saw an opening and struck by pulling alongside Cianciarulo and taking second. Cianciarulo instantly retaliated with a move of his own to reclaim the lead.
Entering the final stages of the moto, Osborne inched his way closer to the lead duo and used his aggressive riding style to pass Sexton around the outside of a corner. Just one lap later Osborne dove to the inside of his closest championship rival Cianciarulo and took control of the race lead.
Osborne’s late-race charge helped him secure his fifth moto win of the season by 2.7 seconds over Cianciarulo. Musquin took advantage of a late-race mistake by Sexton to complete the podium in third, followed by Sexton in fourth.
The final 450 Class moto of the afternoon saw Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia launch out of the gate to grab the Motosport.com Holeshot, followed by Musquin and Cianciarulo. Exiting the first turn, Cianciarulo grabbed a handful of throttle to blitz his way around Musquin and Barcia to take the race lead. Prior to the completion of the opening lap, Barcia would lose the front end entering a corner, allowing Anstie to take over third, just ahead of Osborne in fourth.
Cianciarulo continued his strong early moto form out front, while Musquin looked to keep the Kawasaki rider in his sight in second. A mistake by Anstie allowed Osborne to sneak by and into third. With just under 20-minutes to go, Musquin saw an opportunity to make the pass for the lead, which saw the two riders collide entering a corner and Cianciarulo hitting the ground. Musquin was able to stay up and take the lead, while Osborne and Sexton moved into second and third. Cianciarulo would remount in seventh.
Osborne made an attack on the Frenchman Musquin and took over the race lead at the halfway point of the moto. Shortly after, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac latched onto the rear fender of Sexton to pass him for third. Tomac continued his charge forward, working his way up to and around Musquin for second.
Entering the final lap, Osborne and Tomac were wheel-to-wheel in the battle for the moto win. Osborne fended off the multi-time reigning champion to take his sixth moto win of the season. Tomac crossed the checkered flag to finish second, followed by Musquin in third.
Osborne went 1-1 for the second time this season, capturing his fourth overall victory of the season in the premier class. Musquin’s consistency rewarded him with second overall (3-3), edging out Tomac who made his return to the podium in third (6-2).
“It’s an unreal feeling to get back on top” explained Osborne. “A week ago we were faced with some adversity, but we responded with two moto wins today. This is what makes all of the hard work and tough times we face during the week worth it. I had to fight for that second moto win, Eli [Tomac] was on it, but we dug deep and managed to get the job done.”
The overall win helped Osborne extend his championship lead to 29-points over Cianciarulo who finished fourth overall (2-7). Musquin maintains his third position in the standings, just a single point behind Cianciarulo.
The first 250 Class moto saw Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Shane McElrath emerge with the Motosport.com Holeshot, just edging out his teammate Dylan Ferrandis and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ hampshire. The opening lap saw Hampshire quickly go to work to steal second from Ferrandis, while Ferrandis’ championship rival Jeremy Martin started in fourth on his GEICO Honda.
As McElrath led the 40-rider field around the sandy circuit, Ferrandis managed to regroup and close the gap on Hampshire, reclaiming the second position. Just moments later, Ferrandis would continue his push towards the front as he overtook his teammate McElrath to become the new race leader. The podium battle behind Ferrandis began to heat up as GEICO Honda’s rookie Jett Lawrence found his way by both Hampshire and McElrath to move into second.
With Ferrandis dropping the hammer and looking to break away from Lawrence out front, Hampshire put in another charge that allowed him to muscle his way by McElrath for third. With five minutes remaining, the final podium positions tightened up as Lawrence, Hampshire, and Jeremy Martin were separated by just seconds. A huge mistake by Hampshire saw him eject from his motorcycle off of one of the large infield jumps, moving Jeremy Martin into third.
Ferrandis would go on to take a dominating fifth moto win of the season by 9.6 seconds over Lawrence who earned a career-best second. Jeremy Martin crossed the finish line a distant third.
As the gate dropped for 250 Class Moto 2 it was Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper who emerged with the Motosport.com Holeshot ahead of JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Racing’s Alex Martin and Ferrandis. The red plate holder Ferrandis quickly went to the front to lead the opening lap over Cooper, and McElrath. Jeremy Martin started the moto in seventh.
Like we’ve seen many times this season, Ferrandis used the clear track to his advantage by putting in fast laps to open a comfortable lead over his fellow competitors. Behind Ferrandis, Star Racing Yamaha teammates Cooper and McElrath remained steady in second and third. With just under 10-minutes remaining in the moto, Jeremy Martin engaged in a battle with McElrath for the final podium spot.
Ferrandis remained unchallenged en route to his six moto win of the season by 15.3 seconds. Cooper held on to take a season-best second, while Jeremy Martin made a pass on McElrath in the final laps to finish third.
For the third time this season, Ferrandis swept both motos (1-1) for the overall victory. Cooper landed on the overall podium for the first time this season in second (4-2), edging out Jeremy Martin in third (3-3).
“It’s a great feeling to get another win,” said Ferrandis. “Every race and moto is really important. To go 1-1 today is huge and it’s great to show how strong I am when the conditions are tough. My starts were much better overall, so it’s quite a nice feeling to have it pay off with a good overall result. There are two races left and it’s going to be important to keep this momentum rolling for the championship.”
The win helped Ferrandis extend his championship point lead to 13-points over Jeremy Martin. Jeremy’s brother, Alex Martin, finished sixth overall (5-7) on the day and moved to third in the standings.