Petco Park 450SX Commentary
With two rounds in the books, the 2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season is starting to take shape. Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart has scored zero points, due to a collision and injury at Anaheim 1. The JGRMX team has continued its long string of bad luck, with Justin Barcia out until further notice, and his teammate Weston Peick scoring no points in the first two rounds due to on-track fisticuffs. Let’s take a look at the riders who are on the Upside, such as Red Bull/KTM’s Ryan Dungey and Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, and those who are on the Downside.
1. Red Bull/KTM’s Ryan Dungey. The man on the Wheaties box stood at the top of the box at Petco Park after taking his KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition to an unchallenged win, leading 19 of 20 laps after an easy early pass of BTO Sports’ Justin Brayton. There’s not much to be said about Dungey, who has a streak of 13 finishes in 1st or 2nd place in Supercross. The defending champ is picking up where he left off last year, and right now only Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson looks like he can stop the Dungey juggernaut.
2. Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Chad Reed. The demise of Reed’s racing career has been greatly exaggerated. After the demise of TwoTwo Racing, things did not look good for the Championship-winning Australian who will be 34 in less than two months. Somehow, he picked up a Yamaha factory ride on a YZ450F with Monster Energy sponsoring, just days before the first round. His 6th place at A1 was respectable, but his strong 2nd place showing at Petco Park was exceptional. San Diego has always been a favorite place to race for Reed, and though he didn’t pick up a 7th career win in the town, he managed the next best thing. A2 will tell us if it’s a fluke or if Reed is truly back.
3. Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson. Although Anderson was penalized two positions for jumping his Husqvarna FC 450 on a red cross flag, Anderson shows that he has what it takes to challenge at every race in 2016. Like A1, Anderson got off to a mediocre start (9th on Lap 1), but methodically cut through the field. He was in position to fight for a podium spot by Lap 8, and moved into third place with an aggressive pass on Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely on Lap 16 when Seely bobbled in a corner. Anderson finished the race in 3rd, but was moved back to 5th by the AMA and FIM officials due to his transgression. Regardless, Anderson is 2nd in the Monster Energy Supercross standings and is a serious title threat.
4. Monster Energy/Team Tedder’s Jake Weimer. Coming back from years of disappointing performances and injuries, Weimer moved his Kawasaki KX450F into the top 10 at Petco Park, and he sits in a three-way tie for 8th (with Davi Millsaps and Justin Brayton, both on BTO Sports KTM 450 SX-F Factory Editions) in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship standings. For a guy whose career looked in doubt, Weimer is making a promising comeback.
5. Smartop MotoConcepts Racing’s Vince Friese. With Autotrader/JGRMX’s Weston Peick parked for the evening, Friese put last week’s debacle behind him, qualified out of his Semi, briefly ran up front in the Main, and picked up four Championship points with a 17th place finish in the Main on his Honda CRF450R ahead of teammate Mike Alessi. All things considered, it was a very good night for Friese.
1. Autotrader/JGRMX’s Justin Barcia. A thumb injury before A1 caused him to fade to 15th at A1, and then struggle on his YZ450F to 11th at Petco Park. Down in 14th in the standings, and already 31 points behind Dungey, Barcia has wisely decided to get needed surgery and set himself up for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series over the summer. A longtime favorite to challenge for a title, Barcia has never quite made it happen in the 450SX class.
2. Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen. Last year, Roczen put the field on notice with a strong start to the season. This year, the German rider is simply not getting it done. In 6th after the first lap, Roczen had an unexpected off-track excursion at the end of the tabletop section on his RM-Z450, and was only able to make his way up to that same 6th place. Roczen is already 16 points down on Dungey after two races, and A2 is going to have to be the track where he makes his stand. If not, Dungey, Anderson, Seely, Reed, and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac are going to leave him behind.
3. Team Honda HRC’s Trey Canard. As lackluster as Roczen has been, it has been even worse for Canard, who has a pair of unlucky 7ths in two rounds. A poor start hampered Canard at Petco Park—he was 16th after the first lap—but someone who wants to win the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship is going to have to do better. It took him until Lap 6 to crack the top 10, and finishing 17 seconds off Dungey’s pace is not what anyone expected of Canard. Like Roczen, he needs to make something happen at A2.
4. Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Christophe Pourcel. As good as Pourcel looked in last year’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series, he’s not showing that kind of race-long speed in the first two rounds. Pourcel got off to a good start and looked like a possible podium challenger, but consistently faded back until ending the night in 13th place. It’s better than his 18th at A1, but A2 has to be where he gets his speed back for all 20 laps.
5. Red Bull/KTM’s Dean Wilson. After a weak start—13th after Lap 1—despite a good gate pick after winning his Heat, Wilson put on a perfunctory push in the middle of the race, working his way up to 11th after 10 laps. From there, Wilson faded away to 15th. He’s already 29 points behind teammate Dungey and struggling.
Next Round: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.
1. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2. Chad Reed – Yamaha YZ450F
3. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
4. Eli Tomac – Kawasaki KX450F
5. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC 450
6. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
7. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
8. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
9. Marvin Musquin – KTM 450 SX-F
10. Justin Brayton – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
11. Justin Barcia – Yamaha YZ450F
12. Davi Millsaps – KTM 450 SX-F
13. Christophe Pourcel – Husqvarna FC 450
14. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z450
15. Dean Wilson – KTM 450 SX-F
16. Wil Hahn – Kawasaki KX450F
17. Vince Friese – Honda CRF450R
18. Mike Alessi – Honda CRF450R
19. Tommy Hahn – Yamaha YZ450F
20. Nick Schmidt – Suzuki RM-Z450
21. Phil Nicoletti – Yamaha YZ450F
22. Justin Bogle – Honda CRF450R
450SX Class Championship Standings (after 2 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Dungey – 47 points (1 win)
2. Jason Anderson – 41 (1 win)
3. Cole Seely – 40
4. Chad Reed – 37
5. Eli Tomac – 36
6. Ken Roczen – 31
7. Trey Canard – 28
8. Jake Weimer – 22
9. Davi Millsaps – 22
10. Justin Brayton – 22