2016 Pro MX Week 8 - By-The-Numbers Recap: Spring Creek
Week 8 at Spring Creek went according to script. Ken Roczen got another challenge from Eli Tomac, but this time Roczen responded with a win. The Martin brothers had all they could handle from Cooper Webb on their home track.
This week there's another problem with the numbers from AMA -- no lap times from 450 Moto 1. No lap times, no segment times or lap chart, either. We'll call it a "mechanical" that DNF's our ability to analyze how well Tomac was (or wasn't, really) able to stay with Roczen through the first half of the 450 Moto 1:
Blank. Well, that sucks, but it does make me appreciate what data IS available so quickly all of the other times.
Roczen got a comfortable win, and Tomac had a reasonably comfortable 2nd. Early on, it looked like we might have another duel for 1st, but Tomac could only hold of Roczen for 4 laps, at which point Roczen left Tomac cleanly behind.
Marvin Musquin had been in a bit of a slump over the past few weeks. He logged a 2 / 4 at High Point, but since then had gone 7 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 3 / 7 for an average of 5.3. That left him 4th in the predictions behind a surging Justin Barcia, who had averaged just shy of 4th over the last 5 races. Barcia looked to stay hot as he got the holeshot in Moto 1, but he quickly fell to both Tomac and Roczen. Instead of holding on to 3rd, as predicted, Barcia was passed by Musquin, who cruised to 3rd place with nearly a 20 second gap over Barcia in 4th.
Christophe Pourcel turned in his third-straight 5th place in Moto 1, and he would continue the success with a 4th in Moto 2. Trey Canard would also pick up where he left off from his previous moto, although in a much different way. Canard was 6th in Moto 2 of Thunder Valley in Week 3, his last race before the injury -- he finished 6th in both motos this week.
Benny Bloss continued his recent success, getting his second-best finish, in 7th (6th was his best, last week). Also a season best in 8th place for Andrew Short (9th at RedBud), and tying his season best was Justin Brayton, in 9th (he had three other 9th places). James Stewart also put in a season's best finish, in a manner of speaking, as he finished 10th in Moto 1, which is his only finished race of the season -- the rest have been DNF's and DNS's. While we're at it, Dean Wilson had a season best in 11th since this was his first race of the season. Jesse Wentland had his best moto finish of the season, in 12th (15th at High Point). In 15th, Noah McConahy tied his season best (also High Point). And Zack Williams scored his first points of the season, in 19th, with 4 prior weeks finishing 21st or below.
Now, for Moto 2, where Roczen got a mediocre start but nevertheless blew everyone away before the race even got going:
He apparently came back to normal around Lap 6, but by then it was already a rout. He's 5 seconds faster than either Musquin or Tomac in Laps 2 & 3, and 3 seconds faster in Laps 4 & 5 -- simply based on that, Roczen's about 16 seconds ahead and the race isn't even 1/3 over (AMA doesn't usually publish times for Lap 1, but Musquin was slightly ahead after Lap 1).
Musquin vs Tomac -- was it Tomac's fall or was Musquin truly faster? Musquin finished each lap ahead of Tomac, so maybe this isn't even a question, but the announcers gave the impression that Tomac was looking like he was going to get into 2nd place. Maybe he was, but for all except 3 laps, Musquin's pace was better than Tomac's (save the last 2, when Musquin had a 10+ second lead).
Same question for Barcia -- was it the fall or was Pourcel truly faster? Barcia was riding in 6th then 5th for the beginning of the race until his fall in Lap 7. He fell to 7th and managed to finish 5th. But even without the fall, his laps don't look noticeably faster than Pourcel until late in the race -- Laps 11 through 13. If we excluded Barcia's Lap 7 out of kindness for him, then his average lap time would be 2:20.5 (also excluding Lap 1 because we don't have it); Pourcel's average was 2:20.3. So, the crash wasn't the only reason Barcia didn't finish 4th and Pourcel did -- Pourcel was slightly faster.
Canard, on the other hand, was noticeably slower than Barcia -- his average was 2:21.1, which is a half second slower than Barcia's imaginary "no Lap 7" time from above (2:20.5) and slower than Barcia's official average, 2:20.8. Even with Barcia's fall, Canard finished 7 seconds back.
Phil Nicoletti fihished next, in 7th, which was his best moto result of the season (9th at Hangtown and Glen Helen). Andrew Short continued his good day, matching his season-best 8th from Moto 1. Brayton did the same with his 4th straight 9th. Big-Rig Bloss had a little trouble, in 10th, but the good news for him is that we're saying that a pretty good result like 10th is "a bit worse than he's done recently". Dean Wilson also matched his Moto 1 result, in 11th. Fredrik Noren put up his 4th moto result at #12, which is his second-best (11th at Thunder Valley). Kyle Chisholm had his season best, in 13th, and has a good streak going the last two weeks 14 / 16 / 17 / 13. Wentland continued his good day, following his 12th with a #14 in Moto 2.
In Moto 1, Cooper Webb passed Martin brother number 1, Justin, in Lap 6, then Martin brother number 2, Alex, in Lap 14. Although AMart held on to first for 13 laps, he wasn't running at a pace noticeably faster than Webb:
JMart only had one lap in there (Lap 9) that was faster than his brother's, yet because of the tip over by AMart on Lap 14, JMart managed to slide into 2nd.
In Moto 2, a couple other riders figured into the mix, for instance Adam Cianciarulo who led for 3 laps:
Once he bobbled on Lap 4 and got passed by JMart, Cianciarulo fell way off the fast pace that he showed through Lap 3, and he dropped all the way to an 8th place moto finish. Cianciarulo was 6th overall, though, which ties his high for the season (RedBud).
Webb gave himself a much tougher challenge in Moto 2 with a start that left him around 7th (I think it was worse than that at the very first turn), and although he started his signature second-half run at Lap 9, he passed Aaron Plessinger and Zach Osborne but couldn't get near JMart, who had outpaced Webb and everyone else on each and every lap up until that point.
Osborne had a very solid race, though he couldn't quite keep up with the clear top two of JMart and Webb. AMart, who also started out of the lead (9th), made a charge to nearly catch Osborne. Osborne responded with laps 14, 15 and 16 that were faster than his previous one, though, to hold on to 3rd.
Of note was Kyle Cunningham, who put in his season-best finish (12th) in Moto 1 and equaled his prior best in Moto 2, at #13 (RedBud). Mitchell Harrison tied a season best in Moto 2, with 10th (Southwick and Glen Helen). Tristan Charboneau returned from a broken collarbone, but couldn't quite get back into the swing of things with a 21 / 20. Jimmy Albertson had his best finish in Moto 1 (17th) and his best overall after finishing 19th in Moto 2. Gannon Audette scored his first points with a 20th in Moto 1, with his prior best in 5 previous moto finals being 22nd (High Point and RedBud).
That wraps up Spring Creek's results, and tomorrow we'll review how the predictions did for the week.