2015 Daytona Supercross Commentary - KTM Ryan Dungey
KTM’s Ryan Dungey

Supercross fans always enjoy the stop at Daytona each year, as the track is a break from the “indoor” stadium racing of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and the change up sometimes results in an unexpected winner in the 450SX class.

While that didn’t quite happen at the 2015 Daytona Supercross by Honda, there was some unexpectedly good racing in the top ten positions for a good chunk of the Main, even after Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey cleared off after Lap 8. Let’s see who ended up on the Upside or Downside this week.

2015 Daytona Supercross Commentary, Upside

Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM: Two wins in row, fourth win of the season, and his first Daytona win in his sixth year in the premier 450SX Supercross class – it all adds up to a great weekend for Dungey and his team. Importantly, Dungey now has Cushion.

He could DNF a race and still have at least a 15-point lead over his nearest competitor – Trey Canard. The confidence that comes along with the cushion is immeasurable. Dungey’s win was dominating and, barring injury, the series is all but in the bag.

“It feels good to get my first-ever Daytona win,” Dungey said. “The bigger picture is obviously focusing on the championship, but to get the win feels even better. We had to do a lot changes to the bike prior to this race since it is different than normal Supercross racing and all of the changes were for the good. My bike worked great and I am happy to take this win.”

Eli Tomac – GEICO Honda: Tomac’s aggressive style is well-suited to the fast open track at Daytona, and watching him wheelie through the whoops like 16-time World Observed Trials Champion Toni Bou was a treat.

Tomac didn’t get a great start, so wasn’t able to challenge Dungey for the lead, but he clearly had the speed and brought his CRF450R to a second-place result. From the podium Tomac shared: “That was an exciting Daytona for me. I got scrambled back at the start. I honestly don’t know what happened. I was just a whole bike length behind the guys.”

Blake Baggett – Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing: Landing on the podium for the first time in his rookie season, Baggett seems to have found his stride midway through the series after a lackluster start.

“My goal was to come in here and get a podium,” Baggett said. “I really like this place and have had good luck here. I’ve got two wins, a second, and a fourth [in the 250 East class]. So, to come in here and get a third in the premier class against the guys I looked up to, and battle with those guys, definitely made it a solid night for me. I’m excited and I’ll build on that.” His third place points has him catching up to his rookie compatriots, nipping at the heels of Cole Seely by just three points, and he’s five points off Jason Anderson.

2015 Daytona Supercross Commentary - Trey Canard Honda
Honda’s Trey Canard

2015 Daytona Supercross Commentary, Downside

Trey Canard – Team Honda: After being fastest in qualifying, Canard went down in the first turn when another rider plowed into him, so found himself battling from 21st. His eventual sixth-place finish is a testament to his skills and the speed he was running at Daytona, but doesn’t do much for his chase after Dungey.

Canard is the closest rider to the Monster Energy AMA Supercross points leader, but has a 40-point deficit. “It was a really good day and not such a great night,” Canard allowed. “I felt really comfortable on the bike all day, and it was good to get another pole. I was feeling strong heading into the main event, but I got caught up with Broc [Tickle] right off the start, and my front wheel was stuck on his foot peg in the first turn. I’m really disappointed, but we’re going to keep working on things and hopefully come into next weekend strong.”

Chad Reed – Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki: For the second weekend in a row, Reed won his Heat decisively, got off the gate in the Main fast enough, and charged hard enough in the opening laps to seriously contend for another win. But, it’s also the second weekend in a row that he’s subsequently made a mistake and gone down, and had to battle back through the pack. This week Reed ended up with a fifth, but if the black flag at A3 hadn’t taken him out of serious contention six races ago – just imagine the what-ifs that would be going through his head at this point.

Ken Roczen – RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki: Injuries are a fact of racing, and it appears Roczen’s crash during practice at Atlanta 1 was worse than originally admitted. During Saturday’s opening practice, Roczen re-injured the ankle and did not attempt to qualify for the Main event. It is now unclear when Roczen will return and, having dropped 68 points behind Dungey, we hope he stays out long enough to fully recover. Tweeted the obviously disappointed Roczen, “i haven’t missed a race since like 2008. I don’t like it – I HATE IT!!! But the only way my ankle is gonna heal up is to sit out.”

Mike Alessi – SmarTop MotoConcepts/Suzuki: Alessi had a great jump off the gate right behind Andrew Short, and even challenged for the lead briefly before being passed by faster riders. The Daytona track suits Alessi’s stronger MX skills, so it was a shame to see him make a mistake on Lap 6, going down so hard he had to be carried off the track by an Asterisk crewmember. He was later seen giving a thumbs up from the Asterisk UTV, but was in obvious pain. We hope Alessi recovers for next week’s Houston round.

Upside/Downside

Weston Peick – AutoTrader.com/Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha: As he did last weekend at Atlanta II, Peick was fast, aggressive, and charging forward from the beginning of the race, taking his YZ450F from sixth to second behind race leader, Dungey. Peick maintained his runner up position for a quarter of the race before Tomac caught up, and then Peick started losing positions. By the last few laps, Peick was struggling and making mistakes, surely a result of his lack of fitness due to recent injuries. His eighth-place finish doesn’t do justice to his riding at this point in the series.

2015 Daytona Supercross Results – Round 10:
1. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
3. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
4. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
5. Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F
6. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
7. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC 450
8. Weston Peick – Yamaha YZ450F
9. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
10. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z-450
11. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
12. Andrew Short – KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition
13. Kyle Chisholm – Kawasaki KX450F
14. Phil Nicoletti – Yamaha YZ450F
15. Nick Wey – Kawasaki KX450F
16. Jimmy Albertson – Yamaha YZ450F
17. Ben Lamay – Husqvarna FC 450
18. Kyle Partridge – Honda CRF450R
19. Killian Rusk – Yamaha YZ450F
20. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
21. Nick Schmidt – Suzuki RM-Z450
22. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450

2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Standings 450SX Series Standings:
1. Ryan Dungey – 224 points
2. Trey Canard – 184 points
3. Eli Tomac – 159 point
4. Ken Roczen – 156 points
5. Chad Reed – 140 points
6. Jason Anderson – 140 points
7. Cole Seely – 138 points
8. Blake Baggett – 135 points
9. Andrew Short – 109 points
10. Broc Tickle – 107 points
11. Davi Millsaps – 87 points
12. Weston Peick – 73 points
13. Justin Barcia – 71 points
14. Josh Grant – 66 points
15. Jake Weimer – 63 points
16. Mike Alessi – 48 points
17. Phil Nicoletti – 44 points
18. Kyle Chisholm – 44 points
19. Josh Hill – 40 points
20. Brett Metcalfe – 40 points