Tomac Earns Hard-Fought Runner-Up at Unadilla
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac took home a runner-up finish with a pair of second-place finishes on a daunting track at Unadilla in New Berlin, New York, for Round 9 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Reigning 450MX Champion Dylan Ferrandis returned to racing with enthusiasm and fought hard to finish seventh overall (4-10). Teammate Christian Craig overcame a crash during the opening practice session but soldiered on to line up and finish 10th (11-9).
With unusually dry conditions, the track was choppy, rocky, and slippery, presenting challenges for riders after the two-weekend break. While Unadilla hasn’t been a track that Tomac has found great success at in the past, he started the day on a good note earning the fourth gate pick after qualifying. It helped him as he shot out to a third-place start, quickly taking over the lead by the third lap. Tomac continued a high pace at the front but fell back to second just after halfway, maintaining the position until the checkered flag.
In the second moto, Tomac got an even better start by claiming his second holeshot of the season and started to put down quick lap times. He was shuffled back to second on Lap 5 but was able to hold on to the runner-up spot for the remaining laps, giving him second overall. He now sits one point out of the 450MX Championship lead heading into Budds Creek - a track he’s been historically exceptional at.
The No. 1 of Ferrandis returned to racing after sitting out the first eight rounds with injury, coming back to face one of the toughest tracks of the season. The Frenchman was quickly comfortable and qualified sixth in the morning sessions. His eagerness to be back at the races translated into the opening moto’s holeshot, with his Yamaha YZ450F leading the first few turns before moving into second. He was shuffled back to fifth after a few laps but was able to make a pass for fourth late in the race to finish just off the Moto 1 podium. Ferrandis wasn’t as fortunate off the start in the second moto and came around the first lap in 12th. He used the whole race to try and drive forward, finishing the race in 10th to score seventh overall in his first race back.
While his teammates were dialing in their bikes during the morning practice sessions, Craig was making the tough decision of whether or not he would be able to line up after a big crash early in the first practice. Ultimately, Craig felt good enough to race and came away with a top 10 overall finish. In Moto 1, he started 13th and was up to 11th by Lap 4. He was unable to push as hard as he wanted and settled for 11th. The Californian got a slightly better start in the second moto in ninth, riding it out in that position until the finish, giving him 10th overall.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team is back again next weekend for Round 10 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Budds Creek MX Park on Saturday, August 20.
Jeremy Coker – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager
“It was a really good day. It was a phenomenal first race back for Dylan. Unadilla is a tough track to come back on, but he pulled the holeshot in the first moto and ended up finishing fourth, which is really good. He just has to race himself back into race shape. Christian had a big crash in practice but ended up racing really well considering he was thinking he might not race. Eli had a phenomenal day and limited the damage as best he could with the 2-2 result. Chase (Sexton) was just the better man today, so we have to rebound and be better next week.”
Eli Tomac – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It was a decent day for us. I had really good starts in both motos today, so I was happy about that. With the racing, I put myself in a great position in both motos, but I felt like I was just kind of the second fastest guy today. I did what I could and made some adjustments between the first and second moto, but I had the same result. With that being said, it was definitely an improvement over what I've done here in the past few years, so I'm happy about that. I'm chasing Chase again for the overall, so we will keep pushing and see if we can get it back next week.
Dylan Ferrandis – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It was a tough track to come back on. I had a good first moto and it was good to get the holeshot, but unfortunately, in Moto 2, I ran out of strength in my hands due to my injury. It was a positive day overall and was good to be back racing.”
Christian Craig – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“The day started off pretty rough. About the third lap of practice, I had a big crash. It caught me off guard and slammed me to the ground pretty hard. From there, it was just survival mode. I was debating whether or not to sit out and rest for a couple of days, but we gutted it out, and I got through the motos. The first moto was definitely rough and I pretty much rode around in 11th. In the second moto, I got off a little bit better on the start and was able to get up to ninth. Now I’ll just need to recover and get ready for Budds Creek.”
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