If you were one of the 100 billion people who attended Motocross of Nations last weekend at RedBud some of these observations may not come as a surprise to you. For those of you that were not there, we may have seen some things that you missed on the broadcast.
7. Marvin Musquin
We all know Marvin’s history and how well he has done in the past including the 450 class. But to step down to a 250 and race that well against the best in the world truly impressed me. Marvin was solid on Saturday ending up third in the qualifying race and rounded out the weekend Sunday with 14-9 finishes which was more than enough to help Team France land on the podium. It is not often you see a rider drop down to a 250 and for Marvin to come out and look that comfortable was impressive, especially considering he didn’t race Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this year.
6. Hardy Munoz
While Chile finished the weekend 16 overall, Hardy Munoz has a sneakily solid weekend. Hardy started off Saturday with an 8th place finish while battling with the likes of Liam Everts and Kevin Horgmo. On Sunday, Hardy would end up with 27-12 scores. While this may not sound like the most impressive score of the weekend, he was the 4th MX2 rider of the moto and it was enough to land him in 8th place overall in the MX2 class. We only saw Hardy at three rounds of Po Motocross this season so it was hard to place an expectation on him, but his rides at RedBud were enough to land a spot on this list. Also, we are pretty sure he was the first to hit the Leap on a 250 Saturday.
5. Mattia Guadagnini
While Mattia did not have the most impressive scores of the weekend, his riding turned some heads. Mattia ran out front for a large majority of Race 2 after pulling an impressive holeshot and holding of the two Hondas of Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence. Mattia had Chase Sexton glued to his rear wheel for quite a few laps and when Chase would finally make the pass Mattia jumped LaRocco’s leap and passed Chase back. Mattia would eventually get passed by both Chase and Jett but not before putting in a rather impressive ride. In Race 3, Mattia struggled off the gate and with the mud/sand would struggle coming through the field ending up 19th for 3-19 scores.
4. Justin Cooper
What can I say: Justin Cooper absolutely put the United States on his back at RedBud and damn I am proud. If you would have told me that Justin Cooper was going to win his class and neither Chase nor Eli would win theirs, I would have called you a liar. Look, we all know Justin Cooper is an amazing rider so please do not take that statement as a slight towards his ability. But coming off the injury he had in Supercross put Justin in a tough spot this outdoor season. There was a lot of talk about the 250 pick coming into RedBud this year and who it would be. Everyone I talked to on site said the same thing at the end of the day Sunday: Justin Cooper was the right pick. Not only did he pull the holeshot then run away from the likes of Marvin Musquin and Hunter Lawrence on Saturday, he was the 2nd MX2 rider in Moto 1 and was catching Jett Lawrence, Chase Sexton, and Mattia Guadagnini all while holding off Ruben Fernandez in Moto 2. Justin Cooper crushed it last weekend and if you disagree you a flat out wrong.
3. Jago Geerts
Look, I am not going to sit here and act like I am an expert on the riders who have come over from the MXGP series, but I do know that Jago Geerts is not a full-time 450 guy. Yes, Jago Geerts finished 2nd in MX2 this season with 6 overall wins, but to come out and ride a 450 against the best in the world and beat Eli Tomac straight up on Saturday is a different story. At one point, Jago was far enough ahead of Eli Tomac that I think people thought he was going to be getting lapped. No, that is not an exaggeration. Jago was equally as impressive on Sunday as he kept Eli in check for the entire moto. He seemed to struggle a bit with lappers at times, but the gap from 1st to 2nd was never that large. I believe Jago is going to be back on a 250 next year in the MXGP series, but I am excited to see more of him in the future.
2. Jett Lawrence
Boy are things going to be interesting next year in the Pro Motocross season. If you told me Jett would straight up beat both Eli and Chase I wouldn’t have believed you. Jett put on a show last weekend and there is no denying the 450 class might be in trouble next year. Sure, it is only one race and most of the AMA riders were not there, but Jett rode really, really well. Jett straight up won Race 2 by passing Chase and Mattia Guadagnini and ended up 2nd in Race 3 behind Maxime Renaux who was equally as impressive. But I only have so many spots on this list. Jett’s 1-2 scores were good enough to give him the overall in the Open Class and help Australia land in 3rd overall for the weekend. After the qualifying race on Saturday, I knew that Jett was going to do well on Sunday regardless of the weather. I did see a few assertive passes made on Chase Sexton as well. I am not going to call them aggressive because there was no contact made and I do not personally think they were aggressive, but Jett put his bike where it needed to be to make the pass. I think next year is going to be a very interesting season especially under the Honda tent and I can’t wait to witness it.
1. Dylan Ferrandis
Welcome back Dylan, welcome back. I was bummed that Dylan did not have the opportunity to defend his number 1 plate this year in Pro Motocross. With him coming off of an injury and then having a run in with Justin Barcia at Budds Creek, I did not have high expectations for Dylan at MXoN. Sorry Dylan. But WOW was he going fast. Dylan ended the weekend with 6-4 scores putting him 3rd overall in the Open Class. Now you’re probably thinking, Dylan didn’t even beat Jett overall so why is he #1 on this list? Dylan tops this list because he showed some serious speed that we did not get to see all year. Dylan won the Open Qualifying race in impressive fashion even pulling away from hard charging Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence. Dylan would get collected in a first turn incident with Tommy Searle causing him to start the race from the back. Dylan would charge through the pack to end up 6th in Race 2. In Race 3, Ferrandis would run up front with teammate Maxime Renaux before an unfortunate mistake would take him out of the lead. Dylan got back up making another charge towards the front of the field. Dylan even stopped for goggles and one point during the race before finishing up in 4th place helping France secure 2nd overall. Did I mention he stopped for goggles? Yes, Dylan pulled over mid moto to get a fresh pair of goggles and still finished 4th. Fourth!!!! Dylan was seriously impressive all weekend. I’m sure I will catch some flack for having two Frenchmen on this list, but they deserve it. Well done, Dylan.
Honorable mentions: Ruben Fernandez, Mitch Evans, Dylan Wright
That is a wrap on Motocross of Nations 2022! RedBud did not disappoint once again. It’s a bummer we haven’t been able to have a dry Sunday either time at RedBud but I am not sure the results would have been much different. The track crew did a great job on the track with how much it actually rained Sunday. It was much better than 2018 and even getting around the facility was a much better experience than 2018. So, hats off to the entire RedBud crew.
Main image: Honda HRC