2015 Oakland Supercross Preview, Round 4
Following the second of three stops last Saturday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross series heads north this weekend to the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif..
The man who has held the red plate since Anaheim 1 in the 450 class is RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki’s Ken Roczen. The RM-Z 450 pilot has been the most dominant and consistent rider so far. He won both Anaheim rounds, and took second behind GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac in Phoenix. The 20-year-old German sensation finds himself in the driver's seat of this championship with a 12-point lead over Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey.
After starting in third place behind Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Davi Millsaps and BTO Sports KTM's Andrew Short, Roczen wasted no time making his way to the lead conducting two textbook passes on the first lap. He scrubbed the finish line jump to pass Millsaps on the inside and went on to pass Short in the tight, left-hand corner before the start straight. From there, he rode nineteen flawless laps to take his second victory of the season.
“We got good starts when we needed to, which I think is important. I think everybody saw that my bike works awesome and I am super happy about that,” said Roczen. “I had a great Heat race and carried that confidence into the Main. I didn’t get the holeshot, but I was up front on the start and that was all I needed.
“I put in a few strong laps and couldn’t really rest because Ryan (Dungey) got a little bit close at times. Overall, it was a really good night and it was good to fight back after last weekend. We’re going to keep going and inch away at small points. As long as we are winning, we are good.”
Dungey is keeping the freight train moving forward as he achieved his best result so far this season with a second place finish. He sits second place in the point standings behind Roczen as well. Last weeks winner, Tomac, scored his second podium finish in a row with a 3rd place on the night. Tomac knows that starts are going to be the key to more victories this season.
“I wasn’t quite there on the start in the Main,” said Tomac. “There are too many fast guys to start in sixth or seventh place. If a guy like Ken Roczen gets out there and holeshots, or if I get out front and he is in seventh, it’s going to be the same story unless you are able to do something really special.”
After lackluster performances at the first two rounds, AutoTrader/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia put his Yamaha YZ450F in fourth place after setting the fastest lap during timed qualifying earlier on in the day. It appears as if Barica is coming to terms with his new steed after spending nearly his whole amateur and pro careers on Hondas.
Broc Tickle showed RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki team owners Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart that resigning him was the right move as he put his factory Suzuki RM-Z450 in 5th place in the Main. The Michigan native won his Semi race earlier on in the night and rode consistent laps in the main event. His performance was his first top-five since the tenth race of 2014 and his third career top five finish after injuring his T7 vertebrae at the Toronto round last year.
The real drama unfolded when Honda's Trey Canard attempted to pass TwoTwo Motorsport's Chad Reed for third place. Canard accidentally jumped on the rear fender of the former Monster Energy Supercross champion resulting in both of them going down hard. They both got up in a bit of a daze and remounted their machines at nearly the same time.
While Canard pulled a tear-off heading down the start straight, Reed purposefully ran Canard off of the track and into the tuff bloxs, which resulted in a second crash for the Honda rider. Almost immediately after the incident, Reed was black flagged by the AMA for retaliation and was forced to surrender the rest of his race. Canard would go on to finish 11th in the main.
In the Western Regional 250SX Class, Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha's Cooper Webb took his second victory in a row conducting an aggressive block pass on Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Tyler Bowers on the last lap to take the lead.
The Southern California crowd came to life as Webb fist pumped over the finish line to not only take the win, but inherit the points lead and red plate from Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/KTM's Jessy Nelson. Nelson looked poised to take the victory early on after a fantastic start and gapping the field, but a crash following the tunnel jump put the California native out of contention for the win having to settle for sixth place for the night.
During last year’s 450SX Class Main Event in Oakland, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto dominated leading 20 laps of the main event. In the 250SX Class, Jason Anderson took the win over Dean Wilson and Justin Hill.
Photos by Don Williams
2015 Monster Energy AMA Standings after three of 18 rounds:
1. Ken Roczen – 72 points
2. Ryan Dungey – 60 points
3. Jason Anderson – 51 points
4. Eli Tomac – 46 points
5. Trey Canard – 43 points
6. Justin Barcia – 43 points
7. Broc Tickle – 38 points
8. Weston Peick – 32 points
9. Andrew Short – 31 points
10. Davi Millsaps – 30 points
11. Cole Seely – 29 points
12. Blake Baggett – 28 points
13. Jake Weimer – 26 points
14. Dean Wilson – 23 points
15. Chad Reed – 22 points