A2 Preview – Big Night for Tomac, Musquin, Roczen, and Anderson Coming
Often after two rounds the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series is starting to come into focus. This year, due to injuries to Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac, the championship race is in disarray.
The 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series returns to Anaheim, and here’s the Anaheim 2 Supercross preview you need to read.
1. Look to see if Eli Tomac or Marvin Musquin are on the starting line. Both are suffering with shoulder injuries, and both are day-to-day. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tomac was hoping to line-up to qualify for the Main at Houston, but his shoulder was not ready.
Red Bull KTM SX-F 450 pilot Musquin crashed hard in his Heat race, dislocating his shoulder. Musquin considered giving it a shot in the Last Chance Qualifier, before ultimately declining to ride. Given how close each rider was to riding at Houston after being injured, it seems likely they will be able to race at A2. Their fitness, of course, will be in question.
2. Jason Anderson has a chance to make a real run at the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Title. With a second place at A1 and a win at Houston, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Anderson has a seven-point lead over Ken Roczen, as well as 23 points over Musquin and 48 points over Tomac. If Anderson finishes ahead of those three riders, he’s for real. It’s a long way to Las Vegas, but Anderson will have a great start and a helmetful of confidence. A2 will be Anderson’s biggest test of the year.
3. If Ken Roczen is to maintain his momentum, he will need a win at Anaheim 2. With a fourth place at the opener and a second place in Houston, Roczen is on the march. There is no doubt he has speed and fitness, yet his recovering left arm will likely never be the same. The constant question this year will be if Roczen’s arm is good enough to make it through an entire Supercross season. Every single race in 2018 will be challenging that arm, and Roczen must figure out a way to keep the arm healthy. It’s true sports drama.
4. If Justin Barcia makes the podium again, he could become a title contender. If you’re new to Supercross over the last few years, you only know Barcia as a mid-pack guy in the Mains. He went years without a podium finish before breaking back in at A1. Now, as a fill-in rider for the injured Davi Millsaps on the Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha Team, Barcia has returned to the form he had in his rookie year in Supercross—he had two wins in 2013. It’s certainly a longshot to think Barcia could win the title, but if Tomac, Musquin, and Roczen falter, he will be poised to do just that.
5. Weston Peick has returned to form. Peick started off strongly last year, but injuries forced him out of the series after three rounds. This year, the Autotrader/JGR/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450 rider has a pair of fifths to start out even more impressively. Peick has never shown championship speed, but he looks to be aggressively in the hunt for a podium—his first since 2015. Keep an eye on this gritty and volatile racer.
6. Cooper Webb is not meeting expectations. Last year was his rookie year. The Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha Team racer was inconsistent and suffered injuries. Now in his sophomore year, it’s time to deliver. Instead, Webb has gone 10-12 in the first two rounds. Yes, he went down on the first lap in Houston and battled back to 12th—nice, but not a championship caliber ride. As strong as Webb was on 250s, he has not translated that riding talent to the premier class. Watch #2 in Anaheim to see if he can stop the bleeding on his 2018 campaign.
7. Justin Brayton has been the top non-factory rider in both rounds. Riding a Honda CRF450R for the Smartop/MotoConcepts Racing team, Brayton is making some factory (and factory-supported) riders look bad. Going 7-6 in the first two rounds puts him sixth in the standings, ahead of Red Bull KTM’s Broc Tickle and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant, as well as Webb. Keep an eye out for this underdog—he knows how to run up front early in races. Brayton’s teammate Vince Friese’s pair of 13th place finishes aren’t bad, either.
8. Chad Reed is working his way back from injury, and there’s an empty Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing slot. With Dean Wilson out indefinitely after a hard crash in his Heat at A1, the Husky team has been down to one rider—Anderson. Although Reed has been struggling in his return, going 15-16, Reed is riding a Husqvarna, so that seems like a natural match. It would be great to see Reed keep Wilson’s seat warm until Wilson can return and right now Reed—a two-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion—is a true privateer, so there are no contracts holding things back.
9. Let’s see if Malcolm Stewart can break into the Top 10 at A2. The younger Stewart brother took 11th in his debut as a fill-in rider on injured Justin Bogle’s Autotrader/JGR/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing racebike. We know Stewart can be fast early, and we also have seen him repeatedly fade. If he can get himself into full racing shape and put in 20 serious minutes (plus a lap), Stewart might surprise a few people. You know he wants to make that JGR ride permanent.
2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Standings (after two rounds)
- Jason Anderson, 49 points (1 win)
- Ken Roczen, 42
- Justin Barcia, 42
- Cole Seely, 36
- Weston Peick, 36
- Justin Brayton, 33
- Broc Tickle, 30
- Josh Grant, 28
- Blake Baggett, 27
- Marvin Musquin, 26 (1 win)
- Jeremy Martin, 25
- Cooper Webb, 24
- Vince Friese, 20
- Kyle Cunningham, 16
- Chad Reed, 15
- Ben Lamay, 14
- Malcolm Stewart, 12
- Alex Ray, 11
- Tyler Bowers, 9
- AJ Catanzaro, 5
- Dakota Tedder, 5
- Matt Bisceglia, 4
- Henry Miller, 4
- Austin Politelli, 1
- Eli Tomac, 1