2018 Oakland Supercross Preview | Chasing Anderson

The topsy-turvy Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship returns to California as the riders do battle at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Saturday night.

With Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, and Marvin Musquin all finishing in the top five last week, the Big Three are loaded for bear in an effort to catch leader Jason Adnerson. Here’s what to watch for as the Supercross season continues with Round 5:

1. Eli Tomac has been “win it or bin it” in 2018. So far, if Tomac finishes a round, he wins. Plus, Tomac will be the only 450SX rider on the starting line who has won at Oakland. The Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F factory racer is 10th in the standings—not bad after scoring just one point in the first two rounds due to injury. Tomac is 36 points down on leader Jason Anderson, and you have to know Anderson is not resting easy.

2018 Oakland Supercross Preview Kawasaki's Eli Tomac
Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac

2. It’s comeback time for Jason Anderson. Anderson’s run of seven-straight podiums came to a halt in Glendale last weekend. In favor of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing FC 450 rider is that he turned around a first half struggle in the Phoenix Main last weekend and ended up in fourth place. As Anderson knows, Tomac is on the march and he not only can’t afford to be off the podium—Anderson is going to need some wins. In addition to Tomac, Justin Barcia is just nine points back, and Ken Roczen another three behind Barcia. Anderson’s red plate needs some protection.

3. Ken Roczen is still looking for a win. While it is in many ways miraculous that Team Honda HRC CRF450R rider Roczen is even out there, you know that four races in, he is ravenous for a win. Roczen has two podiums, so far, plus a terrible pair of Mains at the A2 Triple Crown. A win puts him into second place in the standings, at least, and Roczen is as worried about Tomac as anyone.

2018 Oakland Supercross Preview Husqvarna's Jason Anderson
Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson

4. Everyone is wondering if Justin Barcia will come back to Earth. He’s still a fill-in rider on the Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha team, and his six-race contract only runs through San Diego. However, it’s hard to imagine that Yamaha will let a rider who sits in second place in the Monster Energy Supercross Championship Standings go, especially when the expected team captain Cooper Webb languishes in 11th place in the standings with no better than an eighth place finish in 2018. Right now, Barcia is riding like everyone expected him to ride when he broke into the 450SX ranks in 2013.

5. Marvin Musquin started a return to form in Phoenix. Red Bull KTM’s Musquin won the first round, and then got hurt at the next round in Houston. Coming back early, Musquin struggled to a 13th place overall in the A2 Triple Crown. However, Musquin showed consistent speed in Phoenix in finishing fifth. With another week of recovery under his belt, watch for Musquin to challenge for a podium in Oakland.

2018 Oakland Supercross Preview KTM's Marvin Musquin
KTM’s Marvin Musquin

6. Weston Peick is continuing an impressive run, and remains hungry for a podium. Autotrader/JGR/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Peick has three fifth-place finishes this year, though he slipped to sixth last week in Phoenix. While he’s undoubtedly happy to be sitting in fourth place in the standings, it had to stick in his craw that he dropped from second place early at Phoenix down to sixth. Peick isn’t the fastest rider out there, but he can make it tough to pass. If he gets the same great start in Oakland as he did in Phoenix, expect him to hold his positions even more tenaciously this week.

7. Perennial top six rider Cole Seely will be looking to respond to his Phoenix debacle. Team Honda HRC’s Seely went 6-4-2 to start the year, but had a terrible night in Phoenix, finish an uncompetitive 12th. That dropped him from second in the standings to fifth place. Seely’s success in the 450SX class has always been based on consistency, so he can’t afford many finishes outside of the Top 10 if he expect to be anywhere near the leaders at the end of the year.

2018 Oakland Supercross Preview Honda's Ken Roczen
Honda’s Ken Roczen

8. KTM is used to running up front—Blake Baggett and Broc Tickle aren’t doing it. Red Bull KTM 450 SX-F pilot Tickle is not racing at a factory level. After a pair of middling eighth places to start the year, he hasn’t been in the Top 10 since. Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM’s Blake Baggett started off the year as a dark horse for the Monster Energy Supercross Championship. Instead, Baggett is eighth in the standings—he hasn’t finished better than seventh place in 2018. These are two riders who desperately need to turn their years around.

9. Justin Brayton turns 34 next month, and he’s one of the big positive surprises of 2018. Riding a Honda for Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts’ true privateer team, Brayton is sixth in the standings, ahead of factory (or quasi-factory) riders Josh Grant, Baggett, Musquin, Tomac, Webb, Tickle, and Dean Wilson. Yes, some have suffered injuries, but most of them have simply been beaten. Barcia and Brayton are definitely the feel-good stories of 2018, so far.

2018 Oakland Supercross Preview Yamaha's Justin Barcia
Yamaha’s Justin Barcia

2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Standings (after 4 of 17 rounds)

  1. Jason Anderson, 89 points (1 win)
  2. Justin Barcia, 80
  3. Ken Roczen, 77
  4. Weston Peick, 71
  5. Cole Seely, 70
  6. Justin Brayton, 68
  7. Josh Grant, 58
  8. Blake Baggett, 57
  9. Marvin Musquin, 54 (1 win)
  10. Eli Tomac, 53 (2 wins)
  11. Cooper Webb, 52
  12. Broc Tickle, 49
  13. Jeremy Martin, 36
  14. Vince Friese, 35
  15. Malcolm Stewart, 34
  16. Chad Reed, 28
  17. Tyler Bowers, 24
  18. Kyle Cunningham, 20
  19. Ben Lamay, 15
  20. Alex Ray, 15
  21. Dean Wilson, 13
  22. Dakota Tedder, 7
  23. Justin Bogle, 6
  24. Matt Bisceglia, 6
  25. AJ Catanzaro, 5
  26. Jake Weimer, 5
  27. Adam Enticknap, 5
  28. Henry Miller, 4
  29. Benny Bloss, 3
  30. Austin Politelli, 1