It’s been a wild season for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and now it’s halfway over. Last week’s race at Southwick was the sixth round of the season, which means that the series is now entering its second half. And what better place to kick off the second half than at RedBud, the famous Michigan track that draws huge crowds of patriotic motocross enthusiasts every year for Independence Day Weekend.
Entering Round 7, a championship favorite has emerged in each class, but neither Eli Tomac nor Aaron Plessinger can rest comfortably yet.
For Tomac, who started the year with five straight victories in the 450 Class, his win streak finally ended at the hands of Marvin Musquin last week. And for Plessinger, he’s missed the overall podium at the last two rounds.
Will RedBud be kind to the red plate holders, or could fortunes shift once again this week?
STORIES TO WATCH
Musquin still in the mix
Despite Tomac’s dominant season, the championship battle in the 450 Class is far from settled. Marvin Musquin is only 32 points back, so one DNF for Tomac is all it would take to change the whole complexion of this points race. While that part is out of his control, Musquin — who has yet to finish worse than fifth in a single moto — can keep himself in position to capitalize on any possible misfortune by continuing to produce podium results.
Week 2 for Webb and Bogle
Last week, the return of two names — Cooper Webb and Justin Bogle — added some new excitement to the 450 Class. Webb had a pair of solid top-10 motos, while Bogle ended up with 18-20 results despite holeshots in both motos. Webb and Bogle are still racing their way back into shape and will look to improve on those results Saturday at RedBud.
Alex Martin’s plight
One of the weirdest subplots of this crazy 250MX season has been Alex Martin’s recent inability to keep it on two wheels. A-Mart has inexplicably crashed in five of the last six motos, and most of those crashes have happened while he was running at or near the front of the field. In two of the most heartbreaking falls, he went down while leading Moto 2 at Muddy Creek, and then he made contact with Austin Forkner and sent both riders down while battling for the lead during Moto 2 at Southwick. Can Martin keep himself off the ground and finally win a moto this week?
Plessinger still in control
While Martin’s issue has been crashes, points leader Plessinger’s problem has been consistency. To some degree, AP has been consistent — he’s the only 250 Class rider who has finished top 10 in every single moto so far this season. But his recent results at Muddy Creek (9-5) and Southwick (3-7) would make it difficult to win a title most seasons. In fact, Plessinger’s 233 points is the lowest total that the points leader in this class has had at the midway point of the season since 2005:
2018: Aaron Plessinger – 233
2017: Zach Osborne – 254
2016: Cooper Webb – 243
2015: Marvin Musquin – 258
2014: Jeremy Martin – 250
2013: Ken Roczen – 265
2012: Blake Baggett – 272
2011: Dean Wilson – 258
2010: Christophe Pourcel – 260
2009: Christophe Pourcel – 255
2008: Ryan Villopoto – 291
2007: Ryan Villopoto/Ben Townley – 263
2006: Ryan Villopoto – 240
2005: Mike Brown- 223
Benefitting from injuries to key contenders (Zach Osborne, Jeremy Martin) and the general inconsistency of everyone else, Plessinger is in a good spot right now. But the door remains open for Alex Martin (23 points behind Plessinger) and others to make a move.
Ferrandis on fire
Dylan Ferrandis has only led six laps, but he’s led the most important laps, and that’s resulted in two moto wins in two weeks and an overall victory — the first of his U.S. career — at Southwick. In both of his moto wins, Ferrandis took over the lead because the leader crashed late in the race, but he’s been riding well since returning from injury a few weeks ago. With the 250 Class up for grabs on a week-to-week basis, can Ferrandis keep his hot streak going?
Riders in need of a bounce-back
After Jeremy Martin’s season-ending injury, rookie racer Justin Cooper looked like someone who could jump into the championship picture, but he responded with his worst outing of the season (17-9 moto finishes) at Southwick. Meanwhile Austin Forkner was on the verge of a 1-1 sweep at Southwick until an incident with Alex Martin sent him down and resulted in a 20th-place finish in Moto 2. Both riders will be hoping to bounce back and have better luck at RedBud.
THE INJURY LIST
A look at some of the notable riders who have picked up new injuries or are nearing a return to action.
Justin Hill (450MX): The Autotrader/Yoshimura Suzuki rider lacerated his arm during the first moto last weekend at Southwick and needed stitches. After finishing 21st in Moto 1, Hill did not line up for Moto 2. His status for RedBud is still up in the air, according to Racer X.
Enzo Lopes (250MX): Lopes broke his collarbone less than three weeks ago at High Point but hopes to return for this weekend’s race at RedBud. Consider him questionable.