Upside/Downside: 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Round 1
Expectations were high at Monster Energy Supercross Series Anaheim 1 with veteran riders, as well as four class rookies, lining up at the 450 Supercross gate, eager to begin staking their claims on the 2015 Supercross Championship trophy. Instead, the top two riders rode from the first lap to the finish line without changing positions, and the last step of the podium was sorted out halfway through the race. Let’s look at the Upside and Downside of A1 450SX class, 2015 edition.
RCH Suzuki’s Ken Roczen: Roczen threw down the gauntlet, easily winning A1 without ever being challenged, putting the rest of the 450SX class on notice. The RCH/Sycuan/Dodge rider was probably more in danger of losing focus as he rocketed his Suzuki RM-Z450 to the front on the first lap and never looked back. While some may have questioned Roczen’s decision to change teams and bike after winning the outdoor 450 nationals, and coming in 3rd in his 450SX rookie year, the former World Champion Roczen seems to know exactly what he is doing.
Rockstar Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson: 450 rookie Jason Anderson impresses with a 2nd place finish in his 1st 450 race. Taking the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna race team to a podium result at A1 is clearly exceeding expectations. Anderson looked aggressive last year, stealing the win from Cole Seely in the last turns of A1 and Phoenix, but his 450SX race at Anaheim didn’t require any hard moves. He put his FC 450 into 2nd early and had a comfortable lead over third throughout the race.
Team Honda’s Trey Canard: It may have taken half the race for Factory Honda’s Trey Canard to get into position to claim the last podium spot, but he got it done. Canard has only completed a single full SX season once in the past 4 years, missing half the races due to major injuries. Coming off a healthy and successful outdoor season, where he ran 3rd behind Roczen and Dungey, Canard needs to make every race count with podiums in 2015.
BTO Sports KTM’s Andrew Short: Journeyman Short seems to be on a mission. From his Heat race, where he held off Roczen for the win, to his solid ride in the Main event, BTO Sports’ Short looks prepared to take advantage of this year’s wide-open field. With Dungey on his rear fender from the middle of the race on, Short made his fellow KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition rider work hard for seven laps to get by him. Short’s eventual 5th place finish ties his best finish last season, but he’s getting it done at A1 instead of 10 races in.
JGRMX Yamaha’s Weston Peick: Having done the privateer gig for years, Weston Peick is signed to a full season with JGRMX for 2015. While he put together seven top 5 finishes in 2015 without factory support, he’ll be expected to better that result on his YZ450F. His 7th place finish at A1 is a good start; certainly five of the six riders finishing in front of him are no surprise.
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey: For most riders, finishing 4th would not be considered a bad night. However, Dungey is looking to win another Supercross title, and in the broad 2015 field, finishing off the box is not going to get it done. For a rider of Dungey’s caliber, and with a nickname of Mr. Consistency, A1 was not a good night.
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac: Tomac looked poised to win A1 with the fastest qualifying time and an easy win in his Heat, but things went awry quickly in the Main event. With two early crashes, the second one leaving the Honda rider dead last, Tomac was only able to salvage a single point, bringing his CRF450R to a 20th place finish. “Great day that just didn’t finish as we had hoped,” Tomac said afterward. “It was just some bad racing luck in the main that cost us a top finish.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Davi Millsaps: Having bad luck of his own, Millsaps went down twice in the Main, dropping from an early 4th place to his eventual finishing position of 19th. Certainly, it a far cry from Millsaps’ 2013 winning result at A1, and adding to a bad day for Team Green. We expect Millsaps to bounce back at Phoenix and pilot his KX450F back to the front of the pack.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Wil Hahn: Part of the all-new Kawasaki factory team, Hahn didn’t even make it out of practice. He went down hard in the daylight, breaking his arm and landing him on his back in the hospital with a neck brace. We don’t expect to see him back on his KX450F anytime soon. Will Jake Weimer, who finished outside of the top 10 and currently riding for Team Tedder, get called back to his factory ride to fill in for Hahn?
Red Bull KTM’s Dean Wilson: The Scottish 450SX rookie just didn’t seem to have much going on at A1. After having to qualify out of the LCQ, the KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition rider only managed to better his lackluster 16th place start by one position by the end of 20 laps. More troubling, Wilson was averaging about a second-and-a-half slower than fellow 450 rookie Anderson. Wilson was straight up about his night, tweeting “I have worked very hard this offseason and looked like beginner out there. Not even an excuse but poor riding. Anyways. Happy that ones over.”
Looking forward to Phoenix, the battle will be between those who did well and those whose expectations were not met at the opening round of the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship.
Photography by Don Williams
2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Round 1 Results
1. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
2. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC 450
3. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
4. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
5. Andrew Short – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
6. Justin Barcia – Yamaha YZ450F
7. Weston Peick – Yamaha YZ450F
8. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z450
9. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450
10. Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F
11. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
12. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
13. Justin Brayton – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
14. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
15. Dean Wilson – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
16. Josh Hill – Yamaha YZ450F
17. Brett Metcalfe – Suzuki RM-Z450
18. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
19. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
20. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
21. Kyle Partridge – Honda CRF450R
22. Tevin Tapia – Suzuki RM-Z450
2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Schedule
January 10: Phoenix, Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
January 17: Anaheim 2, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim CA
January 24: Oakland, O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA
January 31: Anaheim 3, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim CA
February 7: San Diego, PETCO Park, San Diego, CA
February 14: Arlington, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
February 21: Atlanta, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
February 28: Atlanta, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
March 7: Daytona, Daytona Int’l Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
March 14: Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
March 21: Detroit, Ford Field, Detroit, MI
March 28: St. Louis, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
April 11: Houston, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
April 18: San Francisco, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
April 25: New Jersey, MetLife Stadium, Rutherford, NJ
May 2: Las Vegas, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV