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8/28/2013 - Jeremy Martin Named 2013 MX Rookie of the Year



One day after his latest in a string of great races, Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin was officially presented with the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Rookie of the Year Award at Sunday's season-ending awards ceremony.

The incoming field of 250 Class rookies was one of the best in years, but still Martin was the obvious choice for the honor. The leap he made in the second half of the season was tremendous and hints at big things to come next year. Sitting eighth overall through the first six rounds, Martin proceeded to rack up the fourth-highest point total over the final six rounds, behind only Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin. The second-half surge elevated Martin to 6th place in points at season's end.

The breakout performance came at RedBud where Martin, who battled Musquin hard all day, went 4-3 and earned his first overall podium. After a dismal week at Washougal, he came back strong at Spring Creek, a track he was expected to do well on since he grew up racing there. He narrowly missed out on the overall podium, but his 2nd-place finish in Moto 1 was a new career best. Things got even better at Unadilla, where 2-3 moto scores earned Martin second overall. After a crash in Moto 1 at Miller Motorsports Park saddled him with a DNF, the rookie closed the year out with top-six finishes in the season's final three motos.

Martin ends the season with 17 top-ten moto finishes, 7 top-five moto finishes, 5 moto podiums and just 2 DNF's. With Roczen and Tomac moving up to the 450 Class next year, it would be surprising to see Martin finish 2014 without at least one victory, and he could even enter as one of the leading title contenders.

Martin's rookie teammate Cooper Webb made a strong case for Rookie of the Year early in the year but was unable to consistently put together two solid motos and eventually faded after the first few rounds. Checking in at 9th overall in points, Webb posted 5 top-five moto finishes and had his first career overall podium finish this weekend at Lake Elsinore when he went 4-3 and led a lap for the second time this season. Still just 17 years old, Webb has shown that he has the talent to run up front and should make plenty of noise next season alongside his Star Racing teammate.

Finishing 12th in points was Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Justin Hill. Some folks were a bit surprised when Hill got the call-up this year, but he handled himself well. He scored points in all but one moto this season - the best mark out of all rookies - so the consistency was there. Hill's best finish was fifth overall courtesy of a 5-7 day at Washougal.

Three other rookies had high hopes coming into the series, but weren't able to contest a full season due to various injuries and ailments. Adam Cianciarulo was poised to turn pro at Hangtown, but a bad case of salmonella poisoning kept him out of the first four rounds. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider struggled a bit out of the gate, but his 3rd-place finish in Moto 1 at Utah showed us a glimpse of things to come. Joey Savatgy earned the Rookie of the Year title in Supercross but was knocked out of the outdoor series with a broken wrist at Round 6. Prior to that, he'd set a new career-high with a 5th-place moto finish at High Point a few weeks before. Savatgy will shift over to the Rockstar KTM team next year. And finally, GEICO Honda's Zach Bell was unable to make it through the first race after re-aggravating a shoulder injury from Supercross. Bell is a great rider and particularly fast off the gate, but he's had trouble staying healthy since turning pro at the end of the 2012 season.

While these riders will all hope to make a jump in their sophomore campaigns, a new crop of rookies will be entering the fray and battling for next year's award, with GEICO Honda's Matt Bisceglia and Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Shane McElrath shaping up as the early favorites.


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