AMA Supercross roared back into action at the famed Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, this Saturday, as the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing Team entered the fray with Justin Barcia securing seventh place in the 450SX ranks, with new recruit Ryder DiFrancesco taking ninth place in 250SX West.
The buzz surrounding the opening round was in the air as riders met for the first time in months, hitting the track for the opening qualifying session of the year eager to showcase the improvements made throughout the off-season. For Barcia, limited seat time following his recovery from injury saw him land P13, equipped his GASGAS MC 450F Factory Edition.
Fifth position in his Heat Race earned Barcia a direct transfer into the Main Event, where he would charge hard all race long inside the top 10 and translate his pace into a seventh-place result to begin his 2024 challenge
Justin Barcia: “Anaheim 1 was a stressful day and mostly because of the unknown... I didn’t have the strongest off-season I’ve ever had in my career, but I just used my veteran skills and had a good day! Qualifying wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I kept a cool head and had a decent Heat Race. And then in the Main Event, I made some good passes there and then had a good battle with Chase [Sexton], Aaron [Plessinger], and a couple of other guys, then tightened up a little bit at the end there. All-in-all, I was happy to get a top 10 and the goal for the season is to build as we go.”
Piloting his GASGAS MC 250F Factory Edition for the first time in race conditions, DiFrancesco was on the gas from the outset, improving from 11th in qualifying and racing to a sixth-place finish in the opening 250SX Heat Race of the year.
A top-10 start saw DiFrancesco battling for position throughout the entirety of the Main Event, pushing hard to move his way up the order. Ninth place was the result by the conclusion of the race, banking a solid amount of points and experience as the series next heads to San Francisco.
Ryder DiFrancesco: “It was a good night for A1, the first round is always a bit nerve-wracking, and it’s just the little things, like making it through the Heat Race into the Main Event. They’re things that no one really thinks about, so that was a huge check-off for me, and I know I have a lot more in me! Ninth isn’t where I want to be, but I ran fifth or sixth for half the race and I’m now stoked for San Francisco.”
Lining up for his first career start in 450SX, all eyes were on defending MXGP World Champion Jorgo Prado as the Spaniard debuted in the tight confines of Supercross. After posting the ninth-fastest qualifying time, The Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing rider signaled his intentions early, and a solid eighth place in his Heat Race resulted in a direct transfer to the Main Event.
Prado powered out of the gates to one of his patented fast starts in the Main Event, mixing it up amongst the top Supercross riders in the world as he battled for position. Noting the track deterioration during the race, he gained invaluable experience under the lights of Angel Stadium, and finished in 13th place.
Jorge Prado: “First-ever Supercross race is done, and what an experience! It’s so different from what I am used to, and it was just a day of building. I felt good in practice every time, and then the night show the track was so different. I’m used to riding the test tracks with a harder base and different whoops, so every time I tried to go through these ones, they were so different, which made it difficult and unpredictable. I didn’t find a good flow in the Main Event, but got a good start. I think next week we will move in the right direction, especially with having one race under my belt, and P13 I think is not a bad start.”
Results – 2024 AMA Supercross Championship, Round 1
450SX Results – Anaheim I SX
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda)
2. Jason Anderson (Kawasaki)
3. Chase Sexton (KTM)
7. Justin Barcia (GASGAS)
13. Jorge Prado (GASGAS)
450SX Championship Standings (After Round 1)
1. Jett Lawrence (Honda) 25pts
2. Jason Anderson (Kawasaki) 22pts
3. Chase Sexton (KTM) 20pts
7. Justin Barcia (GASGAS) 15pts
13. Jorge Prado (GASGAS) 9pts
250SX West Results – Anaheim I SX
1. RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna)
2. Jordon Smith (Yamaha)
3. Levi Kitchen (Kawasaki)
9. Ryder DiFrancesco (GASGAS)
250SX West Championship Standings (After Round 1)
1. RJ Hampshire, 25pts
2. Jordon Smith, 22pts
3. Levi Kitchen, 20pts
9. Ryder DiFrancesco (GASGAS) 13pts