Monster Energy Kawasaki enjoyed another solid performance as Joey Savatgy flew to the holeshot in the 250 Main. Shane McElrath (TLD Red Bull KTM) and Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) were on the charge and just a few laps in Cianciarulo made a pass on McElrath in the whoops to make it a Kawasaki 1-2. Further back Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger seemed to be on excellent form, making quick and precise passes and heading towards the front of the pack. While the leaders battled hard for the win, Cianciarulo made a mess of a turn and ended up on the ground and McElrath jumped off the track – Plessinger needed no second invitation. He then caught and passed Savatgy with relative ease, and proceeded to pull out a big lead before taking the chequered flag. Savatgy and an improving Chase Sexton (Geico Honda) rounded out the top three.
As we’ve said before, supercross is one mean sport. In MotoGP guys fall down all the time, but generally they slide and get back up, they make the race. There’s no sliding in supercross. And the sport, especially on the 450s is so damn difficult. So when top talents like Tomac and now Musquin get relegated to the injury bench it hurts. And if you look at the top teams, all are struggling for a strong second rider to take over when their main man gets sidelined. Honda has the best wingman (to Roczen) with Cole Seely but even he’s not been in podium form for some time (6-4 so far in 2018). KTM’s No.2 Broc Tickle has gone 8-8 having placed outside the top-10 overall in 2017. Kawasaki’s Josh Grant has gone 9-9 (10th last year), Yamaha’s Cooper Webb has placed 10-12 (outside the top-10 in 2017) while Anderson’s Husqvarna teammate Dean Wilson got injured at Anaheim I and is still waiting for an all clear on his shoulder injury. Actually the best performing second rider isn’t even that, he’s a third choice – Justin Barcia is a six-race stand-in at Yamaha for the injured Davi Millsaps. But with a 3-3 result he’s put Cooper Webb to shame. Maybe we’re simplifying it too much, but it comes down to a single-throw of the dice in SX, either your main man stays fit and keeps on headlining or you effectively pack-up and wait for the next season…
An interesting start to the year for Roczen: 4-2. He’s not quite hitting ‘Alpha Dog’ performances just yet but he’s getting there, and as we all know it’s a long season. He had nothing for Anderson, though. But we don’t doubt each week he’ll get stronger, which is not good news for Tomac and Musquin as they lick their wounds.
250s ARE FAST!
A 250 is easier to ride than a 450 – that’s a generalism, but it does at least seem to guarantee close racing. And fast laps. Houston-winner Aaron Plessinger’s average lap time on his Yamaha YZ250F time was faster than that of YZ450F-riding Cooper Webb and was even faster than Cole Seeley’s (4th in the 450 Main). So could a 250 podium if raced in the 450 Main? It’s thoughts like this that led to KTM’s 350SXF, of course. And it’s not entirely a fair comparison given the 250s race for 15mins+1 as against 20mins+1 in the 450s. And remember a 450 will smoke the 250s off the start, so a 250 or 350 rider has a lot of work making passes an entire race… Maybe what we should be asking ourselves is, is it time to see Plessinger, McElrath, Cianciarulo and Savatgy promoted to the 450 class?