After a 22-year hiatus of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Florida, Round 5 returned to the "Sunshine State" at WW Ranch Motocross Park with Kawasaki landing on the podium in both classes as Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac earned a hard-fought second place overall (7-1) and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo captured third overall (5-3), in their respective classes.
As the 450MX class lined up for Moto 1, Tomac and teammate Joey Savatgy prepared to brave the blistering temperatures that combined with the humidity made it feel well over 100 degrees. As the gate dropped, Tomac was buried in the back but wasted no time making his way up through the field from 18th position. By Lap 3, Tomac was able to break into the top-10 and continued to push forward before time expired, ultimately reaching the finish line in seventh. Savatgy got off to a good start in seventh but as the race went on, he dropped a few positions due to increasing pain in his hands and the heat affecting his pace. He was able to power through the pain and finish 11th.
Moto 2 saw Tomac grab his first holeshot of the season, jumpstarting a perfect moto and a 4.1 second margin of victory as he grabbed the checkers for his fifth moto win of the season. Savatgy got off to another respectable start out the gate in sixth, but continued to have the same struggles as the first moto and had a hard time holding on, finishing 18th and going 11-18 for 13th overall.
Tomac leaves Florida with a six-point lead in the 450MX championship points standings as the series reaches its halfway point next weekend in Southwick, Massachusetts on Saturday, June 29th.
"I got totally buried off the start in Moto 1 and I was struggling with my pace; those are the two major factors that played a role in a seventh place finish but we were able to turn it around for Moto 2. I can't remember the last time I holeshotted like that! I felt good and found my rhythm early on so I was able to put it all together and ride my own race. My entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team worked their tails off in this gnarly heat this weekend. I can't thank them enough for all their efforts. We're all excited to head to the Wick with the red plate."
"Today was a tough day, but we did what we could and got it done. I continue to get better and feel more comfortable on the bike. I'm still making adjustments and trying to play catch up from the time off from my injury. We're headed in a good direction, I just need to be on the bike a little more and keep getting after it. I'm glad to get this one over with and looking forward to Southwick."
After the Florida native qualified with the third fastest lap on the day, Cianciarulo lined up for 250MX Moto 1 accepting the challenge of racing under the sun during the hottest event of the season, thus far. Cianciarulo found himself in eighth as the gate dropped, forcing him to dig deep and begin his charge to the front. By Lap 6, Cianciarulo was able to pass three of his competitors to find himself in fifth, where he would go on to finish the moto.
Another local Floridian, Martin Davalos kicked off the day with his best qualifying effort of the season in fifth. After getting a decent start in the first moto, he ran into some problems early on in the race and was unable to catch up in time, ultimately finishing 18th.
As the gate dropped on the second moto, Cianciarulo shot off the gate aboard his KX™250, positioning himself in fourth. Looking to redeem his first moto finish and land on the podium, Cianciarulo had already made the pass for third by the second lap, where he would go on to finish and earn third overall (5-3). Davalos had a rough start and crashed on the opening lap, but was able to muster up the ability to push forward to pass 21 other riders and finish 18th overall (18-17).
"That was a scorcher! Honestly, I think I over trained this week heading into this race. These Florida conditions are no joke; it was a tough one for us all. I have to give credit to my competition out here; they all rode really well and we were all out here struggling together so they pushed me to fight even harder. It's a long series, I just wanted to be smart and not overdo it so I rode my own race and I'm proud to get my fifth podium."
"I'm a little disappointed in my performance this weekend, especially on a track like this where I can usually perform well. I'll spend some time with the team this week to work on correcting some of the mistakes I made and be ready to fight for a better result next weekend."