Tomac tortures at Daytona; onward to Indy


3/13/2019

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This was the 45th occurrence of the Daytona Supercross and, as has historically been the case, it proved some of the best racing we’ve seen this season. That is quite a statement, considering how incredible the battles have been at the front thus far, and how tight the points have been as we approach Round 11 this weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.


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If Eli Tomac has anything to say about the rest of the season, it’s going to be boring. He knows now that if he wins each of the remaining rounds and current points leader Cooper Webb finishes runner up in each that he’ll claim the 450SX title by a scant two points. While not unheard of and certainly not impossible, it does seem a bit unlikely.

 

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Webb has been absolutely on fire consistently every round this year and, despite ending up eighth in the San Diego mud, he holds a fairly safe 19 point lead. Admittedly, at Daytona he didn’t really have anything for Tomac, but then again he didn’t really need to push it and try any harder than he did. Second place is just fine and, based on Tomac’s inconsistency so far, Webb said he feels just fine with the runner-up spot on such a difficult track.

 

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Seemingly faster than Webb but also lacking the consistency is his teammate Marvin Musquin. Very much a 450SX class veteran at this point in his career, Musquin has yet to lead a single lap of this season. It seems nearly unbelievable that a rider of such ability and experience hasn’t had a whiff of the clear air up front, but it’s true. Small mistakes (he stalled the bike at Daytona) and incredible rides by his rivals have added up to what has to be a pretty disappointing season for the Frenchman.

 

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Again, we’ll mention how great it is to have another seasoned veteran and former national motocross champion battling up front – Blake Baggett. A pleasant surprise this year, Baggett was again awesome at Daytona. He launched the huge wall jump in front of the mechanic’s area and made up time there every lap while battling for the lead. Ironically that’s precisely where Tomac passed him when he decided to finally give it a go later on in the race. Baggett may be fifth in points, but he’s absolutely a threat to win (another) main event this year at any stage.

 

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Ken Roczen is where we’ll stop our summary of the ‘cream of the crop’ 450SX class guys. Roczen is somewhat disappointed in his season and, equally skilled, accomplished and driven as Musquin, is also yet to win a main event.  He’s gotten much closer and has led many laps, but twice he’s had victory snatched from him by Webb, who’s always been a rival. Roczen rode well in his heat race at Daytona, keeping pressure on Tomac until the checkers flew, but an awkward crash with his teammate Cole Seely in the second turn of the main event spelled the end for his chances to win one. He eventually made it back to eighth spot.

 

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As dominant as Eli Tomac proved to be in the 450SX class, Austin Forkner doubled that. He completely killed the field in his heat race, then went on in the main to decimate them all again after a few laps working to carefully get around Kyle Peters for the lead. There really isn’t much else to say about Forkner this season. Yes, he was beaten by teammate Cianciarulo and Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis in the first showdown, but he did crash hard in practice and was the first place East rider. To consider that race a failure, however, would be a mistake. He scored more points than anyone else in his region so with regards to the East regional championship, he won that too. Forkner is crazy fast and, once he gets the track worked out in practice, he rarely makes mistakes. That combination leads to race wins.

 

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Quietly becoming “also-rans” in the 250 East are Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper. Both immensely talented and on top teams, they have little experience, and when up against a phenomenal talent such as Forkner, well, things turn out the way they have been in the east series.

 

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Heading back indoors to the Midwest and Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium will probably make the riders feel more comfortable. Typically, we’d say the racing may even be more predictable, but this season has been anything but predictable. Out of nowhere, Cooper Webb has slowly established dominance over the field and his competitors seem to feel it. Yes, Musquin is often faster, but he makes mistakes. Certainly Tomac can be faster, but he hasn’t showed it with any consistency (yet). We could say Ken Roczen may be able to get the job done, but that now seems unlikely as Webb seems to be able to beat him at will. That leaves Blake Baggett to slow down the Coop Troop. He’s shown the speed and desire, but he too can’t quite seem to get it done with any regularity. Don’t miss the action right here for live timing and scoring, or on our Facebook and Instagram feeds this Saturday night from Indianapolis!


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