Eli Tomac launched his defense of his AMA Motocross title Saturday with a second-place finish at the season-opening 450MX at the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento, California.
Roczen won the race after a first-place finish in the first of two motos and a second-place finish in the second. Tomac placed second overall with a fourth-place finish in the first moto and a first in the second. Anderson was third with second- and fifth-place finishes.
In the first of the two motos, AMA Supercross champion Cooper Webb won the holeshot, but Ken Roczen quickly went to the lead in the first lap. Tomac, coming back from seventh place, passed Blake Baggett and Zach Osborne in the second lap to move up to fourth place behind Jason Anderson. Tomac briefly overtook Anderson, but Anderson went back around him and raced to the front of the pack.
As Roczen stretched out his lead to 19 seconds, Anderson won the battle for second place by passing Webb in Lap 13 with two laps to go.
Tomac held off Osborne to finish fourth, almost 31 seconds off the lead.
In the second moto, last year’s Motocross runner-up, Marvin Musquin, won the holeshot, but Tomac took the lead in the first lap, with Roczen close behind. Roczen got by Tomac in the second lap as the two ran almost 15 seconds ahead of Musquin and Anderson. Justin Barcia was a distant fifth.
Tomac made his move in the fifth lap, running the fastest lap of the moto, to take the lead from Roczen. He stretched out a 4.641-second lead in the next lap and raced to an 11.602-second lead by the end of the 11th lap. After being thrown off his Kawasaki late in the race, Tomac got back on to save the win, 43 seconds ahead of Roczen.
Musquin won a back-and-forth duel with Anderson for third, and Barcia held off Osborne for fifth.
Saturday morning, Tomac was second-fastest in qualifying rounds on the 1.2-mile track, just 0.027 second behind Roczen at 2 minutes, 15.263 seconds. Musquin was third, at 2:16.676, and Barcia and Webb rounded out the top five.
The 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series moves next week to Fox Raceway at Pala, California.