Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo took the overall win to extend his championship lead despite hitting the start gate – along with many top riders – in the deciding moto at the Pala US National, round two of the series.
The gate seemed to start to fall, many riders hit it and pulled back only for it to fall properly a second time. Many of the top riders were convinced the race would be stopped, so didn’t give 100% on the opening lap. Despite some mechanics protesting immediately, the race ran.
Adam Cianciarulo said: “Race two, the gate flinched and I thought they were going to red flag it. Half way down the start I thought they must red flag it. The gate was fully on the ground when I went, so I didn’t want to go crazy on the first lap as I thought it would be red flagged.”
Justin Cooper, who ran away with the opening moto, was also frustrated. “We all jumped and the gate wasn’t down. We went, then pulled back and went again. We all thought it was going to be a red flag but I saw the green flag waving at the end of the first lap.”
And third overall Dylan Ferrandis was also upset about the start. “In the second moto we all hit the gate,” he said.
The first moto saw Cooper take the lead and clear off from Honda’s RJ Hampshire. Cianciarulo had a poor start after choosing the outermost start gate, as he’d seen Ryan Villopoto do to holeshot the 125 race.
Adam said: “In race one they ripped it deep and it was muddy all day. The start was like that and I took a gamble going outside. It was a gamble and poor execution on my part, so it wasn’t good.”
He fought through the pack and managed to steal third on the very last lap. The race was bad news for Hunter Lawrence who was running near the front, battling for third with Jordon Smith. Both crashed and Lawrence retired.
And Ferrandis also went down twice – once after clashing with Cianciarulo who he beat to win the Supercross title recently.
Ferrandis said: “Lap one of the first moto was a disaster when I hit another rider. Then a lap later Adam hit me and I crashed. After the pit lane, I slowed down and cut the corner but Adam came from the inside and hit me and I crashed. He told me he hadn’t tried to take me out but I think he enjoyed it a bit after what happened in the supercross. I came back from way back to finish seventh.”
Adam retorted: “First laps are super hectic. It’s never my intent to put anyone on the ground. I’ll never be the guy that races to take some one out. It’s not the way I like to race. I’m sure he’ll get me back at some point.”
In the second moto, Cianciarulio had an eighth place start and quickly worked his way through to the front. The Kawasaki man and Lawrence made the early pace, with the Aussie hounding the American until he finally managed to get by. Cianciarulo came back to take the lead away a couple of laps later when Lawrence briefly slipped off, and held on to take the win and extend the series lead. He now has 92 points to Cooper’s 86 and Ferrandis in third with 70.
Adam said: It was a really good race. I’ve seen Hunter ride out here and it didn’t surprise me to see him up there, but I knew he had a crash in race one.
“There were two points on the track he was getting me as he had better lines. I didn’t freak out, but wanted to learn and go back at the end. I pushed hard and emptied the tank.”
Lawrence held on for second with Ferrandis this and Cooper fourth, meaning he missed the overall by two points.
Cooper said: “I was riding defensively and got mixed up in the early half of the race. I k new I was in for the overall so pushed hard but it was too late. I was frustrated at coming up short again trying to get the overall win.”