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Monster Energy® Kawasaki Riders Win Both Motos and Finish on the Podium at High Point
After a weekend off, the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship resumed racing on Saturday for Round 3 from High Point Raceway, where both Monster Energy® Kawasaki riders Adam Cianciarulo and Eli Tomac grabbed their first moto wins of the series and finished second and third overall, respectively in the 450 class. In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Austin Forkner finished a season-best sixth place overall, with Jo Shimoda ending the day 11th overall.
Round 3 marked the 44th time a national motocross event was held at High Point Raceway. Despite overcast clouds and heavy rain in the forecast, only a drizzle would fall throughout Saturday’s race, keeping the track in perfect racing condition. Cianciarulo set the tone early for the team after putting his impressive speed on display during qualifying and coming away with the second-fastest lap time of 2:00.960. His teammate, Tomac, also had a good showing in qualifying with a 2:02.363 fast lap, good enough to qualify in fifth place.
From start to finish, the first 450 class moto belonged to the No. 9 KX™450. Cianciarulo rocketed out of the gate off the start to snag the holeshot. After rounding the first corner in the lead, he used the clear track to build a comfortable gap from the rest of the pack and pull away en-route to his first moto win of the 2021 outdoor season. Despite colliding with a downed lapped rider and falling to the ground in the final turn of the last lap, it was a near-perfect moto for the No. 9 machine. Tomac started the first moto inside the top-10 on the opening lap and immediately charged through the field. The No. 3 showed a glimpse of his familiar, championship-winning form and closed the gap on the riders ahead of him advancing to sixth place, where he would ultimately finish the race.
Moto 2 for the 450 class provided some of the most exciting racing fans have seen all season long. The race began with Cianciarulo and Tomac both battling for the holeshot, which led to the Monster Energy Kawasaki duo making quick work of the lead riders and began pulling away. Much like the first moto, Cianciarulo was out front early and building a comfortable gap ahead of the rest of the field, but his pace this time wasn’t enough to keep the three-time 450 class champion behind him. Tomac chased down Cianciarulo and, after a brief back-and-forth battle, the Colorado native blitzed the back section of the Pennsylvania track in classic Tomac style, wide open, to blow by his teammate and take over the lead. From there, Tomac was in a league of his own and rode away comfortably to collect his first moto win of the season, finishing third overall (6-1) on the day. Cianciarulo, on the other hand, would find himself in a three-way battle for second place in the moto and the overall win. Despite his best efforts, Cianciarulo would finish the moto in fourth place, which earned him second place overall (1-4).
The Pro Motocross series takes another break this coming week before returning to action on July 3rd at RedBud in Buchanan, Michigan.
“It sure feels good to get that first moto win under my belt. I thought I had a decent-sized gap in the second moto, but Eli was flying and caught me a bit off-guard. Fair play to him and the others, they rode amazing. I’m stoked with how awesome my bike has been feeling lately. I honestly believe with a little more endurance, I can be a regular winner this season. Thanks to everyone at Monster Energy Kawasaki for giving me a great bike to ride and always supporting me. We have another break coming up, but I’m ready to build off of this and get back to racing.”
– Adam Cianciarulo
“This was a big one for us. I’ve been in a bit of a slump these last two races, so to get a win and feel like myself on the bike again is huge. After I got off the gate in Moto 2 and saw I had a good jump, I knew it was going to be a good moto. I was able to catch Adam rather quickly and once I was in the clean air, I rode my own race and started pulling away. This was an exciting race, and I can’t wait to keep this momentum rolling into RedBud. Thanks again to the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki squad for all the hard work this weekend.”
– Eli Tomac
After the weekend off, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team of Forkner and Shimoda were back and ready for a solid performance at High Point. Forkner led the charge for the team in qualifying with a fast lap of 2:02.82, placing him fifth in the class. After momentarily jumping to the top in the second qualifying session, Shimoda qualified just behind the leaders in eighth with a 2:03.667 lap time.
The first moto for the 250 class saw Shimoda start inside the top-10, while teammate Forkner was caught up in the back of the pack. After quickly moving his way up to sixth place during the opening laps, the Japanese rider was caught in a four-way battle for third place most of the race. The No. 30 KX™250 of Shimoda was able to capitalize on mistakes from riders in front of him and crossed the finish line in fourth, tying his best moto finish of the season. Challenged with a poor start, Forkner was forced to battle his way through the back of the pack. The No. 38 machine once again showed impressive speed, fighting his way up to 10th before the halfway mark and eventually crossed the finish line in seventh.
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo got off to better starts in Moto 2, but a run-in with another rider on the first turn left Shimoda’s bike mangled and damaged. Uninjured, Shimoda remounted as quickly as possible to try and salvage whatever points he could. Still, the damage to his motorcycle proved to be too much, and he was forced to retire from the race early on and settle for 11th place overall (4-40). Utilizing a good start, Forkner was able to ride inside the top-10 for most of the race before picking up the pace late in the moto and moving his way up to sixth place. Forkner ended the day with a sixth-place overall finish (7-6), a personal best this season.
“I definitely made life hard on myself with the poor start in Moto 1 but I’m happy with the way I rode. I’m getting better and better each week; I just need to keep working hard so I can be up there battling for podiums like I know I should be. I plan on practicing starts during this off weekend and coming in better prepared for RedBud. Thank you to all the fans that showed up today, hearing you cheer was awesome, and to the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for all the hard work.”
– Austin Forkner
“I’m a bit disappointed in today. I was riding well all day and after a solid Moto 1 result, I was really excited to get out there and perform during Moto 2. I never like to leave a race early, especially if it’s out of my control but the bike was too beaten up after the crash at the beginning of the second moto, so we all decided it was best to set our focus on the next round. I’ll be back stronger and ready for redemption at RedBud.”
– Jo Shimoda