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Eli Tomac wins San Diego Supercross for second straight victory

Star Racing YamahaEli Tomac celebrates hos victory in the 450cc Supercross Saturday at San Diego's SnapDragon Stadium.
Yamaha ace goes 2-for-2; Cooper Webb puts pressure on till the end

Eli Tomac of Cortez on Saturday set the pace early, then bolted to the front to win the 450 Supercross at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, giving him a personal-best 2-0 start in the 2023 championship series.

He led 21 of the 25 laps.

Adam Cianciarulo took the early lead in the main event, with Cooper Webb, Tomac, Jason Anderson and Chase Sexton in tow.

Sexton and Malcolm Stewart crashed in the first lap, and Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen filled the gap, moving into fifth and sixth places. Sexton dropped to ninth place. Stewart, after qualifying with a strong win in Heat 2, fell to last place.

Webb took the lead in Lap 4, and Tomac passed Cianciarulo for second place, less than a second behind Webb.

Tomac made his move in the fifth lap, with a lap of 49.127 seconds – the fastest lap of the day – and passed Webb for the lead.

By Lap 9, Barcia, Roczen and the recovering Sexton all passed Cianciarulo to form a tight string of five riders trailing Tomac.

As the raced reached its midpoint, Tomac and Webb pulled away from the pack. Anderson crashed in Lap 15 and dropped back, and Barcia, Roczen and Sexton moved up a notch. With four minutes to go in Lap 18, Tomac led Webb by 3.5 seconds and cruised to the finish line in Lap 25 more than a second ahead of Webb.

Barcia held off Roczen for third, and Sexton, who crashed in the first lap, came back to finish fifth.

Star Racing YamahaEli Tomac crosses the finish line in the 450cc Supercross Saturday at San Diego's SnapDragon Stadium.
Eli Tomac, shown Jan. 7 in Anaheim, California, opened the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship series with a dominating win in the 450cc class. It was Tomac's first win at the season-opening race in Anaheim, California. (Star Racing Yamaha)
Qualifying rounds: Tomac sets the pace

Tomac won the holeshot in his qualifying heat and was followed into the first turn by Justin Barcia, Jason Anderson, Colt Nichols, Chase Sexton and Aaron Plessinger.

Sexton and Plessinger went down in the first lap and dropped to the back of the pack. Plessinger would climb back into contention and finish sixth, but Sexton did not finish.

Forced into the last-chance qualifying race with Shane McElrath, Sexton climbed from third place into first place after two laps to win and qualify for the main event. McElrath finished third behind John Short and qualified along with Justin Starling, who was fourth.

Tomac posted the fastest time in the two heats in Lap 2, a pace-setting 49.576 seconds, and pulled 1.3 seconds ahead of Barcia. Tomac widened that lead to 2.631 seconds in Lap 8 and crossed the finish line 2.579 seconds ahead of Anderson, who passed Barcia for second place in the final, ninth lap. Barcia was third, and Nichols and Christian Craig filled out the top five.

Ken Roczen, now riding with Suzuki, took the lead at the start of Heat 2 and after one lap led Adam Cianciarulo, Dylan Ferrandis, Kyle Chisholm and Malcolm Stewart.

But midway through the heat, eyes began to turn from the leader to Stewart, who moved into fourth place in Lap 4, and into third in Lap 5. Stewart continued to charge forward, running the next lap at 49.993 seconds to gain on Cianciarulo. He got by Cianciarulo in Lap 8, then overtook Roczen for the win in Lap 9.

2023 standings
1. Eli TomacYamaha52
2. Cooper WebbKTM46
3. Chase SextonHonda39
4. Ken RoczenSuzuki37
5. Dylan FerrandisYamaha36
6. Justin BarciaGasGas33
7. Jason AndersonKawasaki32
8. Adam CianciaruloKawasaki29
9. Aaron PlessingerKTM29
10. Colt NicholsHonda28

Tomac was fourth-best in timed qualifying laps Saturday afternoon, with a fastest lap of 50.473 seconds. Stewart of Husqvarna was best, at 50.008 seconds, just ahead of Sexton of Honda, at 50.108 seconds. The runner-up in Anaheim, California, on Jan. 7, Cooper Webb of KTM, was third at 50.118, and Ferrandis, Tomac’s teammate on Star Racing Yamaha, was fifth at 50.544.

Next up: Next week, the Monster Energy Supercross Championship series returns to Anaheim, California, for the second race at Angel Stadium on Jan. 28.

Star Raging Yamaha on Friday showed off its new bikes on Twitter. Here's Eli Tomac's Yamaha YZ450F. (Star Racing Yamaha)