Four points separate top four heading to Round 5!


1/31/2019

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It's been an incredible and quite remarkable start to the 2019 AMA Supercross season. As we roll down to deep southern California and San Diego's PETCO Park for Round 5, we've enjoyed three winners this season and back-to-back wins by Cooper Webb. As the new points leader, Webb carries the 450SX red plate for the first time in his career with a scant two point lead over Ken Roczen. Four points separate Webb from not only Roczen but Tomac and Musquin as well. 

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Speaking of Musquin, he was locked onto Webb's back-wheel like a heat-seeking missile for most of the 450SX main event in Oakland. He seemed on pace to move past his teammate at any point, clearly pushing the pace before he made a small mistake that allowed not only Webb to pull away, but for Roczen and Tomac to get by in the process. No worries though, Musquin got back up and charged right past them both and was back on Webb's tail when the checkers flew. Marvin is back, folks. 

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There have been so many notable events in the 450SX Class this year that it's tough to choose which to mention in this short column. Of them all, the real story seems to be Cooper Webb's rise to the top. There's never been doubt about his promise, although his time on the factory Yamaha was disappointing at best. He never visited the podium in 450SX on it, but now that he's on the KTM (and, granted, has a new trainer, lifestyle, teammate, support crew, etc) he's only been in one position on the podium - the top one. Previously an outlier for a title shot, Webb is now as legitimate as any other top rider, and that's a good thing.

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Ken Roczen has been good this season, but not great. He's clearly not the same Ken Roczen we knew before his pair of terrible arm injuries. Whether he's just being more careful or he simply isn't able to push as hard due to loss of strength, pain or something else is unclear. Regardless, his 'good enough' allowed him to be the points leader for a couple of rounds without ever winning a main event. Consistently toward the front is the easiest way to describe him thus far, and he currently sits second in points, two behind Webb.

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A bit of an enigma this season has been pre-season title favorite Eli Tomac. He has yet to finish higher than third, though he's done so twice this season and sits third in points standings. This is probably the best he's ever been this deep into a 450 season so he's probably not terribly concerned about the lack of wins, and is likewise super-pumped on no major mistakes yet.

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We also can't forget about Blake Baggett, who's just a couple more points back in fifth position heading to San Diego. He's had a breakout season thus far, cranking out a win at Round 2, but unfortunately he's been less consistent than he needs to be in a field this heavy with talent. However, when the fast and angry Baggett shows up, he's already demonstrated he can run with - and beat - absolutely anyone, and they all know it. Is he a title threat? Yes.

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While not quite as exciting as the 450SX class thus far, the 250SX West riders have no doubt been serving up some amazing racing of their own. Colt Nichols has held the red plate since his win at Anaheim 1, but it's been a tough road to hoe. Between his teammate Dylan Ferrandis and the ever-inconsistent Adam Cianciarulo, Nichols has managed to defend the lead by being consistently in the hunt up front. On the podium at each round is often tough to beat, and as such he holds a three point gap over Cianciarulo. Similar to the premier class, the gap between the top four is a mere five points, and with a schedule of only eight races, the 250 West promises to go down to the wire and each round is critical for gaining (or losing) points.

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Which brings us to Saturday night in San Diego and Round 5. It's probably going to be a bit of a mudder. As of the publishing of this article, the track has been built, rolled/sealed, and covered with plastic. Heavy rains are expected beginning late Friday and throughout the day Saturday, so despite the track crew's best efforts there's really only so much that can be done. Of course, weather predictions are just that - predictions - but this one seems like a slam dunk. Paging Justin Barcia, Justin Barcia to the top step of the podium please! 


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