AMA SX 2018 RD12: THE NIGHT OF THE M&M

Marvin Musquin made history in Indianapolis – the biggest winning margin in SX history! Meanwhile Jeremy Martin ends his personal two year win drought

Monday 26th March 2018

2018 AMA SUPERCROSS, ROUND 12 REPORT

Indianapolis, IN. March 24

The snow in Indianapolis didn’t seem to make any impact on the enthusiastic fans in the Lucas Oil Stadium. Conditions were perfect inside the stadium for round 12 of 2018 Monster Energy Supercross championship. We’ve been featuring the 450s mainly in our reports but at Indy the 250s were expected to create the big news. For this would be the first time 250 East/West riders would meet since Vegas in May last year where Zach Osborne block passed Joey Savatgy in the last corner to win the race on the night – and the 2017 SX title. This would be the first of two showdowns scheduled for this season and with a stacked field of factory riders this was going to either be a night of opportunities or potential disaster as this combined championship format presents the biggest opportunity to gain or lose points.

The West coast riders have been on a six-week break coming into the event so would their intensity be where it needed to be? No doubt they would be keen to get out racing. Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Yamaha) held a narrow lead in the West championship over second place Savatgy (Monster Energy Kawasaki), while Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) held a narrow points lead over Austin Forkner (Monster Energy Kawasaki) in the East championship. Reigning West coast champ Justin Hill (Autotrader Suzuki), who has been showing a good turn of speed and return to form, was out for the night due to an illness.

450 MAIN

So, back to the 450 action. Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) got off to a blistering start from a risky inside gate pick to take the holeshot with Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) right behind him. The stage was set for an epic battle between to the two given the similar pace between them in timed practice, but this was not to be. Musquin was smooth and quick and over the first few laps managed to maintain a slim 1.1-second advantage over Tomac – until lap four when Tomac went down hard (he would recover to a lowly 15th at the flag). This left Musquin free of pressure and he put on a devastating display of speed. The gap that Tomac smashed his competitors by last week had been on everyone’s lips (20.7 seconds) and was the biggest winning margin since in SX since 2010. Well, Musquin smashed that with a 28+ second victory, in fact putting himself in the record books for recording the biggest race victory margin in the history of the sport!

Dean Wilson, the Scottish Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider, had a cracking ride to finish second – easily his best result in 2018. Wilson had been passed for second by Blake Baggett (Rocky Mountain ATV KTM) only to come back in the closing laps and put in an aggressive pass that saw Baggett go down – and lose a few positions. Justin Brayton (Smartop Honda) continued his consistent form to come home third ahead of Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) who was forced to put in a hard night’s work, having to pull himself up from last to fourth. Ando was clearly (next to Musquin) the quickest man on track. His poise, line choice and sheer grit was impressive as he made passes on some of the best riders in the sport with his now characteristic ease.

Broc Tickle (Red Bull KTM) seems to be a dark horse in this class and he was charging all night. Tickle has looked to be gaining in both confidence and speed and in RUST’s opinion is a man to watch for the outdoor season, he seems to have settled in at KTM and looks to be getting faster and more consistent each week.

So, after our complaining last week of a lack of excitement in the 450 class this week delivered a corker, not only because it was good to see Musquin unleashing his potential but also to see Anderson’s ride through the field. They say that champions win on their titles on their worst days (and nights) and if that’s true then it’s going to be difficult for anyone to beat Anderson this year.

250 MAIN

The two points leaders lined up next to each other on inside gates for the final, and into the first corner as Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) got hard on the brakes he clipped the tough blocs which pitched both Plessinger and Osbourne flying while Jeremy Martin (Geico Honda) took the holeshot. Cianciarulo staggered on in 6th with Savatgy in 10th Forkner in 12th with timing and scoring on the first lap putting Osborne in 20th and Plessinger dead last in 22nd – not a good start for any of the main championship contenders from either coast.

Luke Renzland (Traders Racing Yamaha) got by Anthony Rodriguez (Rocky Mountain ATV KTM) to take second and put in an impressive ride to maintain the gap behind Martin. The race format and lap times being as they were the race would last 21 laps and with both Plessinger and Osborne on the charge, the race delivered on the excitement expected from this showdown. In fact, the script couldn’t have been better written with the championship leaders having to work their way through the field to limit the points damage.

Jordon Smith (TLD KTM), who has been consistent all season, was having a good ride but succumbed to a hard charging Cianciarulo who block passed Smith to take third place. In the meantime, Plessigner caught Savatgy to battle for fifth while Osborne moved up to ninth. Martin was looking cool and relaxed out front and with all the close battles slowing up the other title contenders he was left to ride a clear track to victory – his first win in two years, a huge confidence boost for the Honda HRC rider. As the closing seconds of the race approached Cianciarulo (W) passed Renzland (E) to take a well-deserved second. Renzland couldn’t have been too unhappy as this was still his first career podium. He was followed home by Smith(E), Plessinger (W), Forkner (E), Osborne (E), Kyle Peters(E) Phillip Nicoletti (W) 9th and Savatgy 10th (W).

Post race, Martin found he didn’t get his full complement of points for the win. It was deemed he jumped on a red cross flag, so was docked seven points…

2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 

450SX championship standings

1 Jason Anderson Husqvarna 265

2 Marvin Musquin KTM 230

3 Justin Brayton Honda 210

4 Eli Tomac Kawasaki 194

5 Blake Baggett KTM 194

6 Weston Peick Suzuki 172

7 Broc Tickle KTM 165

8 Cooper Webb Yamaha 162

9 Dean Wilson Husqvarna 138

10 Cole Seeley Honda 124

250SX East championship standings

1 Zach Osbourne Husqvarna 131

2 Austin Forkner Kawasaki 124

3 Jordon Smith KTM 121

4 Jeremy Martin Honda 112

5 Luke Renzland Yamaha 92

250SX West championship standings

1 Aaron Plessinger Yamaha 151

2 Joey Savatgy Kawasaki 142

3 Adam Cianciarulo Kawasaki 139

4 Shane McElrath KTM 127

5 Chase Sexton Honda 109

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