2015 Phoenix 250SX Commentary
With the short coast seasons, the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX series can be seemingly over in an instant if you let yourself fall far behind and out of contention. Let’s see who’s in a good position after the second round in Phoenix, and who is in serious trouble.
Cooper Webb – Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha: Staying out of trouble is all about getting a good start, and this week Webb did just that. Getting off the line in third, then blitzing past Jessy Nelson in the whoops on lap 2, Webb had his YZ250F into the lead over Malcolm Stewart by the end of the fifth lap. He was obviously on a mission to make up for last week’s 7th place finish, and grabbing his first career 250 win certainly erases that memory.
Malcolm Stewart – GEICO Honda: Looking like a repeat of A1, Stewart found himself having to qualify out of the LCQ for the second week in a row when a rider went down in front of him at the start of Heat #2. He rebounded with a great start in the Main and led for four laps, but was no match for Webb, who was the fastest 250 rider of the night. Still, his 2nd place finish is a career best. “I definitely feel like it was a big reset button for me,” Stewart said, “so now I can move forward and focus again.”
Jessy Nelson – Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs KTM: Nelson looked fast early in the night, grabbing the holeshot and running off to a 6 second lead by the end of his six-lap Heat. He didn’t get the same jump in the Main, but Nelson’s 4th place start kept him in touch with the action up front. Nelson chased Stewart for a bunch of laps, frequently looking like he was going to catch him, but was outmatched in the whoops and had to settle for the last step on the podium.
Tyler Bowers – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki: With a third-place gate pick, what was Bowers thinking when he pushed his KX250F into a far inside gate? Riders in those first few gates were going down, hitting tough blocks, or getting run off the track in the first turn all night. Predictably, Bowers got caught up in the starting mess, crossing under the Progressive Holeshot marker in 16th place. It’s impressive that he fought his way up to 4th, but think what he could have done with a better gate selection!
Aaron Plessinger – Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha: Riding like a pro in only his second professional race, you gotta think some of two-time GNCC Champion Scott Plessinger’s DNA is rubbing off on his son, Aaron. Plessinger is riding rock steady, following up his 5th place finish in A1 with another 5th in Phoenix. Keep an eye on this guy.
Justin Hill – Red Bull KTM: Despite being sick all week, it looked like adrenaline was going to carry Hill as he had the 2nd fastest combined qualifying time on the night, and won his Heat race by eight seconds. Taking the inside gate for the Main was a bad choice and, like Bowers, Hill found himself having to work through most of the pack, eventually finishing 6th. Not terrible, and as long as Hill doesn’t try to overcompensate at A2, he’ll be right back in it.
Zach Osborne – Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna: Riding with a taped-up broken thumb, Osborne went down in his Heat. Still, he got up and qualified directly to the Main with an eighth place finish. The highlight of Osborne’s night was pulling off the Progressive Holeshot from his 7th gate position (smart choice!), but he then slid slowly backward, taking his FC 250 to a 7th place finish. Osborne has only dropped to 4th in the points, but the broken thumb is going to be a continuing problem.
Matt Bisceglia – GEICO Honda: Improving only slightly from last week’s unlucky 13th place finish, Bisceglia had an abysmal start, getting caught up in a first turn crash. “It was unfortunate in that first corner,” said Bisceglia, who rode his CRF250R from a 19th place start to an 11th place finish. “I’ve got to keep looking ahead,” he said. “I need to learn from what I saw in Anaheim.”
Josh Hansen – MotoSport.com/Team 100: Hansen was another rider going down in the first turn, leaving him behind the entire field from the get-go. He rode his KX250F to a 13th place finish, five spots down from last week’s finish. Welcome back to Supercross—it’s rough out there and you’re already 25 points behind the leader.
Upside + Downside
Chris Alldredge – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki: Qualifying for both the up and downside this week, last year’ Amateurs’ rider Alldredge made his first Main in Phoenix and had an impressive fifth-place start. He couldn’t maintain the pace and dropped back several spots, crashing on the last lap and finishing in 15th place.
Interesting factoid: Due to the nine-round 250 series, Malcolm Stewart and everyone below him in points (which includes Bisceglia, Bell and Hansen), no longer control their own destiny. Stewart could win the remaining seven races, but if Nelson came in 2nd at the remaining rounds, Nelson would take the championship.
2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX Results – Round 2 – Phoenix
1. Cooper Webb – Yamaha YZ250F
2. Malcolm Stewart – Honda CRF250R
3. Jessy Nelson – KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition
4. Tyler Bowers – Kawasaki KX250F
5. Aaron Plessinger – Yamaha YZ250F
6. Justin Hill – KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition
7. Zach Osborne – Husqvarna FC 250
8. Shane McElrath – KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition
9. Zach Bell – Husqvarna FC 250
10. Tommy Hahn – Honda CRF250R
11. Matt Bisceglia – Honda CRF250R
12. Michael Leib – Honda CRF250R
13. Josh Hansen – Kawasaki KX250F
14. Cole Martinez – Yamaha YZ250F
15. Chris Alldredge – Kawasaki KX250F
16. Scott Champion – Yamaha YZ250F
17. Zack Freeburg – Yamaha YZ250F
18. Jackson Richardson – Honda CRF250R
19. Landen Powell – KTM 250 SX-F
20. Alex Martin – Yamaha YZ250F
21. Nico Izzi – Yamaha YZ250F
22. Austin Politelli – Yamaha YZ250F
2015 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX Point Standings (after two of 17 rounds):
1. Jessy Nelson, KTM – 45 points
2. Cooper Webb, Yamaha – 39
3. Tyler Bowers, Kawasaki – 38
4. Zach Osborne, Husqvarna – 36
5. Justin Hill, KTM – 33
6. Aaron Plessinger, Yamaha – 32
7. Shane McElrath, KTM – 28
8. Malcolm Stewart, Honda – 23
9. Zach Bell, Husqvarna – 22
10. Josh Hansen, Kawasaki – 20
11. Michael Leib, Honda – 20
12. Tommy Hahn, Honda – 18
13. Matt Bisceglia, Honda – 18
14. Alex Martin, Yamaha – 14
15. Scott Champion, Yamaha – 14