Musquin Cruises to Easy Win, Roczen Returns, Tomac DNFs at Anaheim 1
Even with the excellent new dirt, the racing wasn’t spectacular at Anaheim 1, the first round of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series, but there was enough drama to get the 17-round battle off to an interesting start. Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin is a happy racer, and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac has to feel dejected.1. With a convincing win, Marvin Musquin kept his off-season momentum going. Although he didn’t look good in practice or his Heat race, Musquin stepped up to win A1 comfortably. Coming from fifth place after Lap 1, Musquin methodically worked his way up to the front by the halfway point and was never challenged. Musquin now has consecutive wins at the Monster Energy Cup, Red Bull Straight Rhythm, Paris SX, Geneva SX, and A1.
KTM’s Marvin Musquin
2. Justin Barcia might be the happiest man in Anaheim. Facing 2018 without a ride, Barcia picked up a fill-in spot on the Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha team when Davi Millsaps was injured. While Yamaha would have undoubtedly been happy with a top 10 result from Barcia, he brought home a podium finish at Anaheim 1 after an unexpected win in his Heat race. Barcia was for real in the Main, taking second off the start, and leading for three laps when Tomac faltered. While Musquin and Jason Anderson easily picked him off, a charging Ken Roczen never got close to stealing Barcia’s first podium in years.3. With a podium finish, Jason Anderson continues his love affair with A1. With wins in both the 450SX and 250SX classes at A1, Anderson likes to start the year off strong. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider’s sixth place start made it hard for him to win, but he doggedly worked his way up to second place by the end. Anderson kept Musquin honest, staying within three seconds or so during the final laps. With that ride, Anderson gets off to a great start in 2018.
Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson
4. Another chapter is written in the Ken Roczen Comeback Story. A win would have been a Cinderella story, and you know the Team Honda HRC rider would have at least liked to podium, but he had to settle for fourth place at the end following a 12th place start. Roczen looked strong coming through the field in the Main, and he withstood getting roughed up in his Heat race. Roczen also survived a couple of near-crashes, and he didn’t back off. Roczen is definitely going to be able to challenge for the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship.5. Anaheim 1 has not been kind to Eli Tomac in the past, and this year it is a disaster. It was looking good for Tomac going into the main after finishing behind Anderson in his Heat. Tomac pulled a holeshot off, and looked like he was going to pocket an easy win. However, an unforced error put him on the ground. Initially, he looked to only have a wardrobe malfunction, as he pulled over to struggle to buckle his pants. A couple of laps later he pulled off and out of the race. Initial reports say a bruised shoulder. If he’s not back next week in Houston, his championship hopes are gone in 2018 before they even get started.6. Weston Peick looked comfortable in the top five, despite getting passed by three riders during the race. The Autotrader/JGR/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider started in fourth place and moved up to a podium spot on the second lap when he passed GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin. Peick held onto his podium position until Musquin motored by on Lap 5 and then Anderson went by on the next lap. Tomac’s crash moved him up a spot, but Roczen took it from him on Lap 15. Still, a fifth place is a great start on a new bike for Peick.7. Cole Seely did the usual—sixth place. If you ever want to bet on something, put money down on Seely finishing in fifth or sixth place—he did it nine times last year. Seely started in seventh place, and then battled a bit with Roczen, Martin, and Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha Team’s Cooper Webb before settling into sixth place on lap six.8. After staying injury-free in 2017, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Dean Wilson crashed hard in his Heat race and was done for the night. It’s a tough start for a rider who has had a career plagued with injuries. We’ll see if he’s ready for Houston next week.9. Blake Baggett looked good in his Heat race, but did not deliver in the Main. A podium in Heat 1 looked good for Baggett, who is coming off surgery for an injured thumb. However, the Main did not happen for the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM racer. He started in 11th place and finished 12th. People are expecting a lot more than that from Baggett.10. The Smartop/MotoConcepts Racing team has to be happy. With Mike Alessi out of the picture, the team is relying on Vince Friese and Justin Brayton. While Friese’s 13th is about what you’d expect, Brayton turned a ninth place start into a seventh place finish. That means he beat factory riders such as Broc Tickle (8th KTM), Josh Grant (9th, Kawasaki), and Cooper Webb (10th, Yamaha). Considering they lost Jake Weimer to injury in a serious practice crash back in September, Smartop/MCR must be pleased.11. Fox Sports 1 didn’t hype Chad Reed’s comeback much, and that’s a good thing. Reed finished back in 15th place on his Husqvarna debut as a privateer. That was no surprise, as he qualified in eighth place in Heat 1. He is coming off an injury, so it is possible Reed can rebound for some top 10 finishes—Reed earned 11 of them last year, including a podium at Phoenix and a fourth at Toronto.Photography by Simon Cudby2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Results, Round 1, Anaheim
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!