RCH Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle raced to second-and seventh-place overall in Saturday’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Red Bull Tennessee National at Muddy Creek Raceway as Roczen leapt to second in the series standings with his RM-Z450.
Roczen earned his first moto win of the season with a 3-1 result and with eight races remaining on the 2015 AMA Outdoor calendar, he trails leader Ryan Dungey by 37 points.
Roczen was spot-on all weekend and despite struggling with the handle on his #1-Plate Suzuki during the first moto, the 21-year-old raced at the front of the field and finished third.
In the second moto, Roczen collected the holeshot and never looked back, leading all 18 laps. At one point, the defending Pro Motocross Champion built a comfortable 12-second lead and ultimately cruised to an eight-plus-second margin victory over Dungey.
“Our day was a little bit better,” commented Roczen following his post-race media obligations. “I got two good starts. We made some changes to the bike with a different flywheel so I could shift a lot later. I struggled a little bit with the bike and the track in the first moto. I couldn’t really ride the way I wanted to ride so we made some changes for the second moto and it was quite a bit better. I still think we can get better on the bike to make it easier on us. We got a win in the second moto and finished second overall so I’m not too bummed. I’m going to keep putting in my work so I can make adjustments while I’m on the track, too.”
Tickle turned in his typical workman-like performance, notching a 7-7 finish, good enough for seventh overall. While he rider slipped from seventh to eighth in the standings, he’s only one point out of seventh, nine out of sixth and 11 from the top five.
Tickle’s # 20 RM-Z450 showed the way in Saturday morning’s opening qualifying session, scorching the rugged Tennessee race course in just over 1-minute-52-seconds, besting his next closest competitor by nearly three-tenths-of-a-second.
A hiccup out of the starting gate in the first moto forced him to grind his way through traffic before settling into eighth. As the moto wore-on and the laps clicked-off, Tickle stayed focused and snagged one more spot before the chequered flag waved to notch his sixth top-10 in eight motos this season.
The veteran rider made corrective measures when the gate dropped for the second moto and went on to record back-to-back seventh-place efforts.
“We had a pretty good day,” explained Tickle. “First moto, bad start. We were fastest in first practice and I was fifth-fastest in the second so we had a good gate-pick but I had a bad start. The track got pretty rough. It was a little different than last week but I felt good. Made some passes. Got up to eighth and then passed a guy at the end to finish seventh.
“Second moto, I got seventh again. I had a much better start so that’s the positive. Other than that, the second moto was a bit of a struggle. It took me too long to get going. I was able to pass a couple guys and then rode my way to seventh. With how it all played out, I ended up seventh overall. It was a good weekend for points. We’ll keep working hard and getting better at starts and hopefully we can keep building on this and have another good weekend at High Point.”
Muddy Creek 450 Motocross Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (1-2)
2. Ken Roczen – RCH Suzuki - (3-1)
3. Jason Anderson (2-4)
4. Blake Baggett – Yoshimura Suzuki - (5-3)
5. Phil Nicoletti (4-9)
6. Cole Seely (8-5)
7. Broc Tickle – RCH Suzuki - (7-7)
8. Justin Barcia (9-6)
9. Weston Peick (6-11)
10. Justin Brayton (11-8)
450 Motocross Standings:
1. Ryan Dungey, 175
2. Ken Roczen, 138
3. Blake Baggett, 135
4. Eli Tomac, 125
5. Justin Barcia, 114
6. Jason Anderson, 112
7. Weston Peick, 103
8. Broc Tickle, 103
9. Phil Nicoletti, 92
10. Cole Seely, 79