Upside/Downside: 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Round 1

While it’s easy to dismiss a poor performance at A1 Supercross to nerves or miscues with bike setup, at Phoenix it is time to set the tone for what kind of season you’re going to have. Riders who were consistent at both rounds are establishing the all-important base points that will keep them in contention as the series moves forward. Let’s see who moved up or down at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Upside

Eli Tomac – GEICO Honda: You can’t rebound much better than going from 20th to 1st, and that’s just what Tomac did Saturday night. Although Tomac got the holeshot and was quickly passed by Roczen within a few turns, he remained focused and didn’t make mistakes. By Lap 8 he had moved past Roczen, but fans were treated to some great bar-to-bar racing before he went on to take his CRF450R to his first 450SX win. “We weren’t trying to take each other out,” Tomac said. “We’re putting our best efforts on the track, not trying to take each other out.”

Ken Roczen – RCH Suzuki: The only 450 rider with two podium finishes, Roczen has immediately established himself as the rider everyone else will have to chase down. He has tripled his lead from three points to nine, even though he didn’t win. Of his 2nd place finish, Roczen said, “He beat me straight up. But that’s fine. It’s about smart racing. I’ll take a podium any time.” Smart, indeed.

Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM: Moving from the Downside to the Upside this week, Dungey uses his long-practiced patience to get back on the podium this weekend. Riding several bike lengths behind Weston Peick for almost the entire race, Dungey finally got his 450 SX-F Factory Edition around Peick on the 17th lap to take 3rd place. Leapfrogging past Jason Anderson and Trey Canard for 2nd place in overall points, Dungey still wants a win—“It’s a step better,” Dungey noted. “It’ll happen soon enough.”

Weston Peick – JGRMX Yamaha: Continuing to exceed expectations, Peick got off the gate fast, nose-wheelied to set up his pass on Dungey on the 2nd lap, and looked like he was not going to relinquish his 3rd place position to the lurking KTM rider behind him. Eventually, Dungey got back around him when Peick cased a jump and tweaked his ankle, but Peick rode a convincing race and took his YZ450F to a career-best 4th place finish.

Davi Millsaps – Monster Energy Kawasaki: Rebounding nicely from last week’s awful 19th place result, Millsaps rode at a consistent pace, maintaining his 5th place position from Lap 2 through to the finish line. While he’s still left digging out of last week’s points deficit, the Top 5 finish should lift the battered team’s spirits.

Downside

Justin Barcia – JGRMX Yamaha: Okay, it’s too early to panic, but Barcia has almost fallen an entire race behind the points leader only two rounds into the season. A huge accidental wheelstand off the starting gate left Barcia spending valuable time and energy working his way through the pack from a last place start. He eventually brought his YZ450F through to an 11th place finish, but this was not the follow-up race he needed after last week’s average performance.

Trey Canard – Team Honda: Also having a poor start, Canard finished the first lap in 17th, but he managed to do some damage control and ride his CRF450R into the top ten. With the 8th place points he salvaged, he ended up slipping down a spot in the standings—certainly disappointing after last week’s podium finish.

Dean Wilson – Red Bull KTM: One of four high-profile rookies in the 450SX class, Wilson is struggling big time. He was 15th last week, and despite an okay 8th place start, he never found his groove due to arm pump. By mid-race he was slowly sliding backward on his 450 SX-F Factory Edition, eventually finishing a dismal 17th, the same position he sits in the series standings. Hmmm.

Blake Baggett – Yoshimura Suzuki: Finishing on the wrong side of the Top 10 for the 2nd weekend in a row, Baggett is another rookie having a tough start in the 450s. While never fast off the gate in his career—he has started in 18th at both A1 and Phoenix on his RM-Z450—this is going to hurt Baggett more in the 450s as the field is deep and there are plenty of fit riders.



2015 Phoenix Supercross Results, Round 2:
1. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
2. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
3. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
4. Weston Peick – Yamaha YZ450F
5. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
6. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC450
7. Andrew Short – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
8. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
9. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
10. Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F
11. Justin Barcia – Yamaha YZ450F
12. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z450
13. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
14. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
15. Justin Brayton – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
16. Brett Metcalfe – Suzuki RM-Z450
17. Dean Wilson – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
18. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450
19. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
20. Jimmy Albertson – Yamaha YZ450F
21. Kyle Partridge – Honda CRF450R
22. A J Catanzaro – Suzuki RM-Z450

2015 Monster Energy Supercross Point Standings (after two of 17 rounds):
1. Ken Roczen, Suzuki: 47
2 Ryan Dungey, KTM: 38
3. Jason Anderson, Husqvarna: 37
4. Trey Canard, Honda: 33
5. Weston Peick, Yamaha; 32
6. Andrew Short, KTM: 30
7. Eli Tomac, Honda: 26
8. Justin Barcia, Yamaha: 25
9. Broc Tickle, Suzuki: 22
10. Jacob Weimer, Kawasaki: 22
11. Chad Reed, Kawasaki: 22
12. Davi Millsaps, Kawasaki: 18
13. Blake Baggett, Suzuki: 17
14. Mike Alessi, Suzuki: 15
15. Justin Brayton, KTM: 14
16. Cole Seely, Honda: 14
17. Dean Wilson, KTM: 10
18. Brett Metcalfe, Suzuki: 9
19. Josh Hill, Yamaha: 5
20. Josg Grant, Kawasaki: 5