The 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship hosted its penultimate round of the season on Saturday afternoon, with its third visit to Miller Motorsports Park for the Zions Bank Utah National. For the third straight year a champion was crowned at the facility as Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey capped off a truly memorable season of competition by clinching his third 450 Class title in six seasons, hoisting the Edison Dye Cup with one round remaining. It was another undefeated day for Dungey, who raced to his sixth overall win of the season with a 1-1 effort and his first career victory at Miller Motorsports Park.
In the 250 Class, the highly competitive battle for the Gary Jones Cup once again produced a captivating afternoon of racing as Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin, the defending champion and points leader, and Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin traded moto wins to tie for the overall victory. Thanks to his triumphant effort in the afternoon's final moto, Martin earned the tiebreaker to claim his fifth win of the season and maintain a slim two-point lead in championship standings.
With the title within reach, Dungey began his championship-clinching afternoon by posting the quickest lap of timed practice as the Bud Light Fastest Qualifier. When the first moto got underway, it was Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha's Justin Barcia who raced to his 11th Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season ahead of Dungey and RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing's Ken Roczen, the defending champion. Barcia held onto the lead briefly, but Roczen soon asserted himself out front and moved out to a comfortable margin over the field.
Dungey battled Barcia for second for several laps before finally getting the upper hand on Lap 3. Once into the runner-up spot, Dungey set his sights on Roczen out front. The KTM rider gradually chipped away at his deficit to Roczen and soon was on the rear fender of the Suzuki. Roczen kept his rival at bay for the majority of the moto, but Dungey got the best of Roczen on Lap 13. Once out front Dungey pulled away and crossed the line for the moto win 4.331 seconds ahead of Roczen. Barcia had a solid hold on third for over half of the moto, but then came under fire from RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing's Broc Tickle, who eventually took over the position on Lap 11 and carried it through to the finish.
When the field roared out of the gate in Moto 2, Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha's Phil Nicoletti was the first out of Turn 1 and grabbed the Motosport.com Holeshot Award ahead of Roczen and Barcia, with Dungey lurking in the top five. Roczen seized the moment again and moved out front on the first lap, with Dungey vaulting into second ahead of Barcia. Much like the first moto, Dungey had to overcome a deficit to Roczen and gradually closed in until he was once again able to mount a challenge. On Lap 12 Dungey pulled the trigger and took the lead, pulling away in the late stages to take the checkered flag by 8.862 seconds over Roczen. Barcia rode to a solid third-place finish.
Dungey's 1-1 effort gave him back-to-back sweeps, racing to victory in seven of the last eight motos, including five straight. He also claimed the overall win for the fourth consecutive round.
"This is absolutely a dream come true, to be a champion. This is what you work so hard for but more than anything it takes a strong group around you, with the team, family, trainer and everything," explained Dungey. "This championship feels more special than the others because I feel like we put more into winning it this time around. We had a new bike and I had a new [training] program, and everything worked out to the best it could be. As much as I wanted to clinch the title today, I knew I had two motos ahead of me and didn't want to get ahead of myself. I came here with every intention of winning both motos, no matter what the scenario was. I could have settled, sure, but I wanted to race to win and make sure I wrapped [the championship] up today."
Roczen's strong day landed him in the runner-up spot (2-2), while Barcia (5-3) edged out Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Blake Baggett (4-4) via tiebreaker for third overall.
Dungey brings an insurmountable 93-point lead into the final round, while Barcia and Roczen continue their battle for second in the championship. Currently five points sit between them, with Barcia currently sitting second.
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship comes to an exciting conclusion next weekend with its 12th and final round of the 2015 season. Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana, will be the host site of the Bud Light Ironman National next Saturday, August 22.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
Zions Bank Utah National
Miller Motorsports Park - Tooele, Utah
August 15, 2015
Round 11 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (1-1)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki (2-2)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-3)
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki (4-4)
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (3-7)
- Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (7-6)
- Dean Wilson, Scotland, KTM (10-5)
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki (8-8)
- Christophe Pourcel, Dade City, Fla., Husqvarna (9-9)
- Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Yamaha (12-10)
450 Class Championship Standings
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 500
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha, 407
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki, 402
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki, 333
- Christophe Pourcel, France, Husqvarna, 291
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 287
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna, 283
- Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Yamaha, 229
- Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha, 223
- Fredrik Noren, Sweden, Honda, 206
250 Class (Moto Finish)
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (3-1)
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (1-3)
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (2-2)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (4-4)
- Matt Bisceglia, Tualatin, Ore., Honda (6-6)
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (9-5)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda (7-7)
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (8-8)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (5-11)
- Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM (11-9)
250 Class Championship Standings
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 461
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM, 459
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki, 310
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna, 305
- Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM, 288
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 287
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha, 264
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM, 228
- Matt Bisceglia, Tualatin, Ore., Honda, 225
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha, 221
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