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2016 Pro MX Week 3 - By-The-Numbers Recap: Thunder Valley

Moto 1 at Thunder Valley had a bit of excitement -- some of the good kind with racing between Trey Canard and Josh Grant with some of the bad kind for Jason Anderson when altitude sickness struck -- but not up front, where the two leaders ran away early:

In case you forgot, the riders are listed in the order that they came through the opening section -- Ken Roczen had the holeshot, Anderson was 2nd, Ryan Dungey was next, etc.  Marvin Musquin as you can see actually got a decent start, in 9th, but went down near the starting area.  He pitted in Lap 5 and that was it for him (even though he finished the race).

While Roczen cruised the whole way, Anderson had a what-might-have-been race (and day, since he DNS'd Moto 2).  I wondered how close he was to Roczen early on (before Anderson had to pull out), but it seems he wasn't all that close, and neither was Dungey:

(Toshiki Tomita in there as a reference -- he finished 20th)

Eli Tomac charged late to get up to 5th, setting up his nice run in Moto 2.  But in Moto 1, none of his laps were all that close to Roczen's or Dungey's, except perhaps very late in the race, like laps 14 and 15 as you see above, once the race was comfortably locked up for those two front runners.

Phil Nicolletti crashed after being in 4th or 5th, ruining what potentially could have been a very good race for him.
Cole Seely rode well, but a poor start doomed him to 6th, though this seemed to set him up for another good race in Moto 2.
Broc Tickle was riding reasonably well until a fall in Lap 4, which meant that even his good recovery couldn't get him higher than 14th.
Justin Barcia looked very good early, riding as high as 5th through Lap 10, but he fell back to 11th due to a crash (or two?).
Jesse Wentland went down early and couldn't recover.

Canard passed Grant in Lap 10, then carried that lead until the end, for 3rd place.  He even had a lap or two that rivaled Roczen, although at that point Roczen was probably cruising at about 95% since he was so far ahead:

In Moto 2, things got a little wilder.  Yes, Roczen ran away with it again, but at least he had to come from behind, not gaining the lead until Lap 3.  His only real challenger might have been Dungey, but Dungey fell in Lap 1 and had to make a serious run just to get up to 4th.  Also making a run was the 2nd place finisher Tomac, who passed Seely about halfway through the race.  From the opening section until the end of Lap 1, the lines below got all crazy:

Tomac's poor start at the opening section (13th) meant that even his very fast race couldn't get him within striking distance (to put it mildly) of Roczen.  Although Roczen was probably not going 100% the whole time, considering his big lead, Tomac had many laps -- including 9 in a row starting with Lap 7 -- where he was faster than Roczen:

(Noah McConahy in there as the reference, since he finished 20th in Moto 2.)

If we looked only at the laps that happened once Tomac really got going (Laps 5 through 16), we see that Tomac made up little bits of time through Lap 11, then some serious time through Lap 15:

The latter laps are probably due to Roczen slowing since he had a lead of double-digit seconds, but I would guess that before Lap 12 Roczen wasn't easing up too much.  If Roczen didn't have enough to worry about with Dungey nipping at his heels, he may have a new problem in a revived Tomac -- if Tomac can get his starts right....

250MX class

Aside from the battle between Jeremy Martin and Joey Savatgy, the main stories in Moto 1 from the Lower class were two wrecks.  Aaron Plessinger collided with Alex Martin, knocking Martin all the way back to 27th (or worse).  Austin Forkner was running in 8th when he went down, sending him back to 36th.  Both riders recovered well, with Forkner getting back to 17th and Martin all the way up to 8th.

Was AMart so fast he would have vied for #1 if he hadn't been in the fender-bender?  Well, looking at the below, he definitely had his moments, especially late, but in the middle section there's a pretty big gap between him and the leaders:

He would have had to ride through a lot of traffic, so maybe that is partly why he was slower, but it doesn't look like he was out-riding Jeremy Martin, Savatgy, or even Cooper Webb (Plessinger's the line at the bottom -- Alex did out-ride him).

In Moto 2, though, Alex Martin stayed with the front-runners and gave Savatgy--the eventual winner--all he could handle for the latter half of the race:

Adam Cianciarulo was also in the hunt early, but a crash sent him out of the race, apparently leaving him mostly unharmed but his bike in a mess.  Martin Davalos took over 2nd from Cianciarulo after that, but Alex Martin's speed was too much, and after Lap 8 Martin took over the #2 spot.  Martin caught up to Savatgy, but from the look of it once Savatgy knew that Martin was right on him, Savatgy upped his speed a little to keep Martin at bay.  The graph agrees, as we see Martin running faster than Savatgy up through Lap 11 or so, but after that they traded laps with what appears to be about even speed:

We also see Webb with a bit of a drop off in the second race, which is to be expected considering his injured hand that limits his training (we're told).  Still, impressive that he can finish tied for 4th overall on the day despite his injury.

Though Alex Martin lost the red plate to Savatgy, it does appear that he's in it for the long haul.  Can one of the two pull off the great surprise of beating Jeremy Martin for the season crown?  Well, we'll have a week off to discuss!

Posted by: SagehenMacGyver47   :::   As always – Feedback welcomed

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