Commentary: 2019 A2 Supercross Preview
The 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season has not gone according to plan. With two races in the book, the Big Four—Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Marvin Musquin, and defending Champion Jason Anderson—have yet to win a Main. Musquin hasn’t been on the podium and is sitting in sixth place, one spot ahead of Anderson.
Let’s take a look at A2 and try to make some sense of it all.
1. The Triple Crown format returns for Anaheim 2. I like the three Mains format, as it forces the riders to seriously compete three times in a single night. By making the Mains different lengths, it gives different riders a chance to do well. Last year, there were three Triple Crown format Supercross rounds, with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac (A2 and Minneapolis) and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson (Atlanta) taking the victories.
2. The track looks interesting with a long 135-degree sand corner, plus a flat 90-degree left-hander. Whoops guard the finish line, so that could create havoc on the final lap. Otherwise lots of jumps and rhythm sections, as always.
3. Team Honda’s Ken Roczen’s appetite for a win has to be insatiable. Roczen looked like he had a win in the bag at Glendale SX last week. A red flag cost him his two-second lead, and then he went down in a collision with Anderson while being passed for the lead. Just two races in, Roczen is the only rider in the field to podium twice, yet Roczen hasn’t won a Main in over two years. Roczen has ridden only one Triple Crown format Supercross Round—A2 last year, where he went 11-12-4. A2 may not be his best chance to return to the top spot in the podium.
4. Eli Tomac’s two wins in three Triple Crown format races makes him the favorite. Although Tomac won in A2 and Minneapolis last year, he hardly dominated. His 5-1-2 performance at A2 barely edged out Team Honda CRF450R pilot Cole Seely. In Minneapolis, Tomac went 1-4-3 and won the overall when Anderson was penalized for going off-track. That means in nine Triple Crown Mains, Tomac has just two wins. Maybe he’s not the favorite after all!
5. We all have to wonder what’s in Jason Anderson’s head. After he put a hard block pass on Roczen in Glendale, Anderson looked like he was going to cruise to an easy win. However, he slowed down considerably for no discernible reason during the final three laps of the Main, and it allowed Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS KTM’s Blake Baggett to take his first-ever Main win. Afterward, a shaken-looking Anderson apologized on the podium to Roczen for the pass and collision. You have to wonder if the Roczen incident got in Anderson’s head, and what that will mean at A2. It would be great to be a fly on the wall at Baker’s Factory when Anderson’s move on Roczen and his late-race performance collapse were discussed.
6. Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin desperately needs to get on track. The only rider of the Big Four without a podium, Musquin hasn’t been close to the box. He has gone 8-5, and finds himself 11 points behind Monster Energy Supercross Series leader Roczen early on. Musquin did win his Heat in Glendale, so the speed is there. If he doesn’t translate that intensity to the Main, his championship challenge is going to be over quickly.
7. The Supercross season’s two winners—Justin Barcia and Blake Baggett—desperately need consistency. Baggett finished 12th at A1 and Barcia sixth at Glendale. Barcia is second in the standings, just a point behind Roczen, while Baggett trails Roczen by seven points. A2 may reveal what kind of year these two riders will be having going forward.
8. Dean Wilson has been a pleasant surprise for Husqvarna—again. In 2017, Wilson took over for Christophe Pourcel early in the season on the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team and proved to be an impressive pick-up rider. That earned him a spot on the 2018 team, which he lost to Zach Osborne for ’19. With Osborne out with a broken collarbone, Wilson is getting factory assistance and has gone 4-8. Inconsistency has ruled the day for most 450SX riders this year, and Wilson is no exception. A2 could be a turning point for his season, one way or the other.
9. The other Justins—Hill and Bogle—need to get going. Hill has gone 15-13, while Bogle is 19-15. Both riders are on top teams—Hill on a factory Suzuki and Bogle on the factory-associated KTM Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM—yet those are the results you expect from struggling privateers. Sure, Hill is a rookie and Bogle a fill-in rider, but those results are not satisfactory.
10. Cole Seely is nowhere to be found. On the rebound from some major injuries, Seely is struggling. His 10-9 finishes put him in 11th place in the standings and 17 points behind teammate Roczen. We should learn quite a bit about the rest of Seely’s year at A2.
11. Joey Savatgy says he’ll be back for A2. The Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F factory rider was 16th in the A1 mud, and then crashed out for the night in his Glendale Heat race. Savatagy suffered a concussion, and still needs to be cleared to race. Regardless, Savatgy has just seven points two rounds in, so any hopes he had to be in the mix for the championship are already over.
12. None of the factory teams are having a great year so far. Check out the team standings:
Rockstar Energy Yamaha Factory Racing (72 points out of a maximum 98)
- Justin Barcia, 43 (#2 in standings)
- Aaron Plessinger, 29 (#9)
Team Honda HRC (71 points)
- Ken Roczen, 44 points (#1)
- Cole Seely, 27 (#11)
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (66 points)
- Dean Wilson, 34 (fill-in rider) (#5)
- Jason Anderson, 32 (#7)
- Zach Osborne, out
Red Bull KTM (64 points)
- Marvin Musquin, 33 (#6)
- Cooper Webb, 31 (#8)
Monster Energy Kawasaki (47 points)
- Eli Tomac, 40 (#3)
- Joey Savatgy, 7 (#20)
JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing (41 points)
- Chad Reed, 23 (#12)
- Justin Hill, 18 (#14)
13. This might be the week you spring for NBC Sports Gold. The NBCSN coverage of A2 will be delayed by an hour, so it won’t start until 11 p.m. ET. If you get the NBC Sports Gold paid subscription package, the race coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET. You’ll also be able to watch Qualifying at 3 p.m. ET. While NBC Sports Gold does have live streaming and on-demand later, the coverage is not impressive. It’s commercial-free, but you often just get a static camera shot when the commercials are airing on the free coverage—not impressive. Don’t expect anything like the content you get from MotoGP VideoPass or MXGP-TV; it’s not even close. The Supercross Pass is $75, but you can get the combined Supercross and Pro Motocross package for 2019 for just $15 more—that’s not a bad deal.
2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Standings (after 2 of 17)
- Ken Roczen, 44 points
- Justin Barcia, 43 (1 win)
- Eli Tomac, 40
- Blake Baggett, 37 (1 win)
- Dean Wilson, 34
- Marvin Musquin, 33
- Jason Anderson, 32
- Cooper Webb, 31
- Aaron Plessinger, 29
- Justin Brayton, 28
- Cole Seely, 27
- Chad Reed, 23
- Vince Friese, 21
- Justin Hill, 18
- Malcolm Stewart, 17
- Justin Bogle, 12
- Carlen Gardner, 11
- Ben Lamay, 9
- Kyle Chisholm, 8
- Joey Savatgy, 7
- Alex Ray, 6
- Ronnie Stewart, 3
- Ryan Breece, 3
- Tyler Bowers, 2
- Cheyenne Harmon, 2