Back to the West Coast for Round 12


3/20/2019

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It's been a long and somewhat disappointing season thus far for Marvin Musquin. A pre-season favorite for the 450SX title from the first gate drop, it took 12 rounds of AMA Supercross racing before he not only won a main event, but even for him to lead a single lap. Well, that all changed in Indianapolis as Musquin did nothing but lead laps - all of them - to win his long overdue 450SX main. In doing so he gained 5 valuable points against his rival (and teammate) Cooper Webb, moving into second place in the points standings. Going down the stretch it appears that the final war will be waged between these two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammates and training partners. 14 points separate the two as we head back west to Seattle and Round 12.

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Webb had a great night as well, minimizing the damage as much as possible despite his teammate being absolutely on fire and the equally challenging advances of Blake Baggett. Webb is playing his run to a title like a championship contender would be expected to do - Dungey-style, if you will. Always with enough speed to win but knowing when to push the pace and his opponents, and when not to. His somewhat controversial yet completely within the rules pass on Eli Tomac was evidence of just how hard he is willing to go to get a few extra points from his rivals. As we head to Seattle this weekend - which is notorious for its rain and chilly temps - Webb needs to dig deep to perform in conditions that he's not necessarily known for doing well in. His worst finish thus far came in the San Diego mud fest, where he ended up eighth. He'll need to do better than that this weekend if his title hopes are to remain alive.

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Inexplicably, Round 10 Daytona winner Eli Tomac had another remarkably unremarkable race in Indy, where he finished a fairly dismal fourth in the main. Nothing seemed to be wrong, he had no big crashes or mistakes, he just wasn't ever in the mix for the win with the KTM guys. To have Tomac be a notch below riders he's been beating handily for a few years is confounding to many fans, but not nearly as much as it probably is to Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, as they continue to search for answers. If it is wet in Seattle, Tomac should shine, or at least finish ahead of Webb and knock that points lead down a bit.

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Rocky Mountain ATV/MC's Blake Baggett continues to be a bit of a revelation this year. Never known for his Supercross skills, Baggett was arguably the fastest and most aggressive rider on the track in Indy. He pushed Marvin hard for many laps and it seemed clear that he'd get around and ride away, but alas it was not to be. A mistake allowed Musquin to gap Baggett and that was all she wrote. 

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The rest of the pack - outside of the top four (or five, if you include Roczen) - is a full notch down in speed and consistency. While riders such as Joey Savatgy and Zach Osborne have shown great speed at times, especially considering they're both in their rookie 450 season, they have nothing for the front pack. Ken Roczen is pointing at a possible mystery illness for his lack of results lately so we'll see how that pans out in these final rounds. Beyond that, riders like Dean Wilson, Cole Seely, Justin Barcia and Justin Brayton are doing well but haven't been a threat for a podium all season (save for Barcia). Barcia's return in Indy was successful though, as he was able to put his factory Yamaha into fifth by the checkers after missing the previous three rounds due to a concussion suffered at the practice track. 

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The 250 East season will go on hiatus for a couple of weeks before resuming in New Jersey later in April. Indy was another riding clinic hosted by Austin Forkner, although he did crash in his heat and not win it. That's the first time he's been beaten this year by riders in his region, which means as they go into this break, Forkner enjoys a nearly full race lead (25 points) as the rest of the competition goes back to the drawing board.

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The return of the west regional riders means we'll get a chance to lay eyes again on the likes of points leader Adam Cianciarulo, Dylan Ferrandis, Colt Nichols, RJ Hampshire, Shane McElrath and others. Cianciarulo is firmly in the driver's seat, though, as his performance at the East/West Showdown in Atlanta proved. With a 15 point lead going into Seattle he can ride somewhat conservatively and still come out ahead. Conservative for Cianciarulo this season means landing on the podium would be plenty, but any further back and Ferrandis or McElrath could easily pull off a win and close that points gap very effectively before heading to Houston next weekend. 

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It's tough to recall the last time that the Seattle supercross wasn't muddy, or at least very wet. In addition, the track surface has often been composed of a soil type that was easy to break down as it was made of a volcanic soil type which was tough to make hold its shape. Last year a different soil type was sourced, but unfortunately torrential rains negated any benefit there. This Saturday night the weather forecast appears to be favorable as there's only a 20% chance of rain in 50-60 degree conditions. Check out the action here for live timing & scoring and our Facebook and Instagram accounts for photos throughout the weekend.


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