New week, same story in Moto 1 for the 450's. Ken Roczen gets a good enough start, then blows away the field. What was new for this season
was Justin Barcia making a push for the 2nd spot. Eli Tomac's speed was too much for Barcia, but Barcia still manages his first podium
of the season. Broc Tickle backed up his podium last week with a #4 in Moto 1. And one of the more impressive races was from Marvin Musquin,
who got a less-than-good start at #13, but managed to get all the way up to 5th by the end. Another impressive race was from Benny Bloss, who also
had a fairly poor start in 19th, but got up to 11th -- tying his best finish of the season:
2016 Pro MX Week 6 - By-The-Numbers Recap: RedBud
(The riders are listed in the order that they came through the opening section -- Justin Bogle had the holeshot, Ken Roczen was 2nd, Justin Barcia was next, etc.)
In terms of the MotoXGraphs predictions, it's nice that Barcia managed to put together a solid full race -- since we had him finishing 3rd this week and had him 4th in the pre-season predictions.
Phil Nicoletti had a very good looking race, running in 5th until just after the midway point, when he had a mechanical problem (possibly coupled with a crash?), and ended up with a DNF.
Rounding out the Top 10:
Christophe Pourcel had a nice Moto 1, starting off around 8th, then moving up to 5th -- then was passed by Musquin late, leaving Pourcel at #6 in the end.
Blake Baggett continued his nice return from his collarbone injury, finishing 7th -- he finished 8 / 7 last week.
Matthew Bisceglia impressed with an 8th place finish, notable since it's only his 4th ever race week on the 450 outdoors.
Andrew Short had a fairly quiet race but a good finishing spot, running between #9 and #11 all race, finishing in 9th. That's his best result of the season, with 12th being his next best (twice -- at Hangtown & High Point).
Justin Bogle got the holeshot, and while we might have expected he would be passed by Roczen, he unfortunately fell all the way to 10th -- and might have been 11th or 12th if Nicoletti and/or Weston Peick hadn't crashed.
In the 450 Moto 2, we got what could have been the highlight of the day - Tomac got the holeshot and managed to put a couple seconds between himself and Roczen. Could we get a showdown between the top 2 riders!? Well, yes, but it only lasted a couple laps. Tomac came through as #1 after the 1st lap -- and the announcers exclaimed their shock at how this was Tomac's first lap in the lead for the whole season. But soon after, Roczen hit Larocco's Leap at full speed while Tomac could only double the triple. Roczen slid by, moving into 1st and that was the end of it. Although that triple was where Roczen made the pass, that wasn't what lost the race for Tomac -- Roczen was faster all throughout. No, really -- Roczen was faster than Tomac in EVERY lap from 2 through 17!
Tickle and Barcia swapped spots from Moto 1, giving Tickle the podium spot. But, in terms of performance they were effectively equal -- I'll take a second here to note that this is exactly the type of situation where our eyes can deceive us compared to the numbers. While Tickle got the podium, he only "earned" it by having the better finish in the 2nd Moto. His podium takes the focus, and in our memory we think of Tickle having the better day because of that. But, if we're evaluating how well each rider performed, on paper they were essentially equal.
Also in the Top 10:
Baggett nipped Musquin in the last lap, finishing 5th.
Pourcel had another good race, starting 10th and finishing 7th.
Bisceglia impressed again, and his 8 / 8 made for the his 2 best Moto finishes -- of the season and thus of his career.
Bogle again got the holeshot, but again fell out of the contention for the podium.
Behind Bogle was Bloss, who found his way into the Top 10, coming up from 17th after the opening section. 10th was his best Moto result -- also of the season and thus his career (he did have one race in 2015) -- and his overall 10th was his career best.
Justin Brayton put together his best race week of the season, at 12 / 13, which is good news for the Track Adjustment in the predicitons, which predicted he'd do better at RedBud than other tracks. 9th overall at RedBud was his 2nd best finish of the season (7th at High Point).
In Moto 1, the racing got started right from the get go. Austin Forkner got the holeshot, but Cooper Webb made a pass within the next couple turns, taking over the lead. Forkner and Webb battled back and forth, with the lead changing hands several times during the first lap, but Forkner crossed the line in the #1 spot. In Lap 2, though Webb would jump into the lead, opening up a gap that he would hold over Forkner--and Joey Savatgy, who took over 2nd from Forkner in Lap 4--the rest of the way.
Aaron Plessinger looked like maybe he would shake off the slump -- he'd finished 10th or worse in 4 of the last 6 motos -- as he was running in 4th, close behind Savatgy and Forkner. But a couple slip ups sent him all the way back to 10th. The Martins capitalized, moving up to 3rd (Alex) and 4th (Jeremy). Forkner would drift back to 5th.
Zach Osborne, who had a very favorable prediction for the week based on the Track Adjustment, managed to go from 12th up to 4th. Also on the comeback trail was Shane McElrath, who started out in 18th and climbed up to the Top 10, finishing 9th.
Others in the Top 10:
Adam Cianciarulo drifted between 8th and 9th most of the race, jumping up to his finishing spot (7th) a few laps before the finish.
Mitchell Oldenburg had a similar path, getting up to 6th at one point, but he would slip to 8th in the end.
In Moto 2, instead of cruising to a victory, Webb had to battle for it:
McElrath got the holeshot, but Savatgy took over the lead in short order. Savatgy gave it back, though, with a crash in Lap 3, where Savatgy didn't do anything other than lose his footing going around a turn. McElrath couldn't make it stick, though, as he was chased by the Martins plus Webb. AMart came on strong and passed McElrath for the #1 spot in Lap 5. Things would get worse for Savatgy from there, as he had a much worse crash in Lap 11, getting whipped around and going over the bars -- he was lucky to avoid an injury and managed to salvage a 16th and a few points.
In Lap 8, Jeremy Martin crashed, continuing his puzzling miscues leading to worse than expected results. He dropped from 3rd down to 7th, although he managed to get back to 4th by the end of the race. At this point, the rumblings are getting louder that the illness that bothered him in Week 1 but has kept lingering might be more troubling than just that. Whether it's overtraining, or something more deep-seeded, let's hope for his sake that he can ratchet back the workload and get himself back into top racing form.
Osborne took advantage of JMart's crash to move into 3rd. And that crash also gave Webb a clean shot at AMart, and Webb would take over 1st with a furious run during Lap 14. Osborne would get by AMart in Lap 16, finishing 2nd.
I say "furious run" because that's what it looked like on camera, but reviewing the lap times, it was equal parts Webb and Osborne picking up their pace as well as AMart slowing down a bit in Laps 13 & 14:
(Webb is in dark blue; Osborne in red)
Also in the Top 10:
McElrath could only hold on to 5th, which is still tied for his 2nd best finish (Moto 1 last week).
Arnaud Tonus showed some of the speed that had him well though of coming in to the season, out of Switzerland, finishing 6th for his best finish of the season and his career (8th, twice, one each at High Point and Muddy Creek).
Martin Davalos returned to the form he's shown a few times this season, getting to 7th, which is tied for his 2nd best this season (his best week was 7 / 5 at Thunder Valley).
Cianciarulo hung out all race between 7th and 9th (sound familiar to Moto 1?), finishing 8th. His 7 / 8 are his 2nd and 3rd best results of the season (6th at Thunder Valley), with 6th overall being his best finish of the season -- only 3 times in his outdoor career has he done better.
Mitchell Oldenburg moved steadily up from 12th at the start to 9th, which gave him 10th overall -- the 2nd best overall finish for him on the season and 3rd best of his outdoor career.
Forkner and Plessinger each had to come back from poor starts. Forkner came back from 17th in Lap 3 to finish the moto in 10th. Plessinger was at the very back after the start and 36th after the first section, but he came all the way back to 11th.
One bit of RedBud excitement fizzled - when Tomac's early lead couldn't keep Roczen from running away in the 450's. But in the 250's, the drama grows as Webb took back the points lead, and Savatgy not only lost the red plate to Webb but also lost points to his 3 closest followers, challengers AMart, Osborne, and JMart. So at the halfway point of the season, the 250 class is just starting to heat up.