Ken Roczen started the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series much like he ended the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season - way ahead everyone else.
Roczen led every lap in both Motos on Saturday for Round 1 at Hangtown making a resounding statement to start the season and take the early lead in points.
"Like everybody says, 'You don't really know where you're at until you go racing,'" he said. "I've been feeling really good. The track was very different today, it had a really hard base and got super choppy. The weather held up today. It's awesome to get two Moto wins. We actually did some little changes in between (Motos).
Those changes apparently worked as Roczen beat defending Champion Ryan Dungey by six seconds in the first Moto and nearly 15 seconds in the second Moto taking advantage of a Lap 1 mistake by Dungey to grab the lead and pull away from the field. The sweep helped erase last year's rough start when Roczen rode through a stress fracture in his spine and finished 12th overall.
Nobody had answers or came close to Ken Roczen on Saturday at Hangtown
It wasn't too bad a day for Dungey who took second-place in both Motos for second overall. Though he had no answers for Roczen, Dungey hasn't exactly ruled Hangtown over the years. He last won a Moto in 2011 but lost out on the overall to Chad Reed who took the checkers in Moto 2 that day as both riders swapped first and second. It was the closest Dungey has finished on top of the box at Hangtown.
"I guess the history kind of shows, Hangtown's never been a win but a lot better than last year, we were struggling last year," he said. "I was really happy with everything (this year). We were right there, just wasn't able to make time and Kenny was riding good today."
Roczen and Dungey posted the same finishes in 2014 when Roczen won the Championship. That day Roczen won Moto 1 by more than eight seconds and Moto 2 by 11 seconds.
Ryan Dungey went 2-2 for second overall
Eli Tomac finished third overall after taking fourth-place for both Motos. Perhaps a bit disappointing for the rider who blistered the field last year winning Moto 2 by 90 seconds and won the first five Motos of the year before a season-ending crash. Like Roczen, Tomac showed life near the end of Supercross after struggling to make the podium all year.
Tomac said he pushed as hard as possible but couldn't find his groove and his starts didn't help. In both Motos he worked his way into the Top 5 after starting outside the Top 10. Jason Anderson took fourth overall and Trey Canard rounded out the Top 5 with a (7-5) performance.
Other notables include Marvin Musquin the runner-up for the 250 class Championship last year, taking eighth overall in his first year on the big bikes and Justin Barcia, who came on strong in the second half of Motocross last year taking, seventh overall. He looked solid in the second Moto running in third for a good portion of the race but faded to sixth-place.
Blake Baggett took third in Moto 1 then crashed in Moto 2 breaking his collarbone but managed to gut it out and finish 19th. He's status for the rest of the season is unclear as he's scheduled for surgery today. The much-anticipated return of James Stewart ended much like much-anticipated return to Supercross when he crashed in Moto 1 and did not return. His status is also unclear but he reportedly suffered an injury.
Joey Savatgy is now a full-fledged contender for the 250MX title
In the 250 class, two-time defending Champion Jeremy Martin looked anything but as Joey Savatgy who like Roczen, finished the Supercross year strong, led wire-to-wire in Moto 1 and passed Jessy Nelson after 11 laps in Moto 2 for a sweep and now a sizeable lead in the points standings thanks to the discrepancy of finishes by the rest of the field.
"It's a good way to start the season, we've been working for a long time," said Savatgy who got his first career overall win last year in Motocross but at Hangtown finally got a Moto win. "Finished the Supercross season strong and came out swinging, I felt good all day."
Savatgy, who finished a point shy of the 250 West Supercross Championship, qualified first and has a 15 point lead over Alex Martin who took second overall despite finishing eighth in Moto 1. He finished less than two seconds back of Savatgy in Moto 2.
"After the Supercross season I had this year, was pretty rough, and all I could do was put my head down and keep working forward and that's what I did today," Alex Martin said.
It's Alex Martin grabbing a spot on the podium not his brother and two-time defending Champion Jeremy Martin
Cooper Webb, who won the 250 West Supercross Championship, hushed, for now, any concerns about that broken wrist with a third overall on a (4-5) day. Aaron Plessinger took fourth overall taking third in Moto 2 after a ninth-place Moto 1 and it was the reverse for the defending champ who tied in points and rounded out the Top 5. Second through fifth-place is separated by three points.
Other notable include Austin Forkner making his pro debut and finishing eighth overall after a 13-7 day. Forkner ran in the Top 3 in Moto 2 for a while before fading midway as other seasoned riders made their passes. He tied in points with Tristan Charboneau another widely anticipated rider from the amateur ranks making his pro debut. The oft injured Adam Cianciarulo took 13th overall.
Motocross moves south to Glen Helen for Round 2 on Saturday in San Bernardino, CA. Buy tickets online or at the Motocross park.
2016 Hangtown Motocross Results
Hangtown 450 Class Results
- Ken Roczen (1-1)
- Ryan Dungey (2-2)
- Eli Tomac (4-4)
- Jason Anderson (6-3)
- Trey Canard (7-5)
- Cole Seely (5-10)
- Justin Barcia (10-6)
- Marvin Musquin (9-7)
- Josh Grant (8-8)
- Phil Nicoletti (11-9)
Hangtown 250 Class Results
- Joey Savatgy (1-1)
- Alex Martin (8-2)
- Cooper Webb (4-5)
- Aaron Plessinger (9-3)
- Jeremy Martin (3-9)
- Jessy Nelson (7-6)
- Jordon Smith (2-16)
- Austin Forkner (13-7)
- Tristan Charboneau (6-14)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (11-10)
2016 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ken Roczen (50)
- Ryan Dungey (44)
- Eli Tomac (36)
- Jason Anderson (35)
- Trey Canard (30)
- Cole Seely (27)
- Justin Barcia (26)
- Marvin Musquin (26)
- Josh Grant (26)
- Blake Baggett (22)
250 Class Standings
- Joey Savatgy (50)
- Alex Martin (35)
- Cooper Webb (34)
- Jeremy Martin (32)
- Aaron Plessinger (32)
- Jessy Nelson (29)
- Jordon Smith (27)
- Austin Forkner (22)
- Tristan Charboneau (22)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (21)