Following another dominant victory by Ryan Dungey, there are now three riders in Monster Energy Supercross with two wins apiece, and it is this trio that has asserted themselves as the leaders of the chase for the world championship.
Dungey, Ken Roczen and Trey Canard have been the class of the 450SX Class field and, as we enter the heart of the schedule, it will be interesting to see how the momentum shifts between them over the next couple of months.
Here are some of my biggest takeaways from last weekend:
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– It’s hard not to be impressed with the way Dungey has won his two races this season. He’s seized the opportunity and put an emphatic stamp on each respective opportunity. No one has come close to challenging him in either of his triumphant outings and last weekend’s win was as perfect as it gets – grabbed the holeshot, led every lap and took the checkers. Now he enjoys his biggest points lead of the season (+12) and he’s proving any doubters about his ability to control this title fight very wrong.
– Talking about Dungey’s consistency may sound like a broken record, but the guy is just so solid that you have no choice but to recognize it. In seven races he has finished no worse than fourth and now has a podium streak that sits at six. His average finish is a ridiculous 2.2 and at this point you can see he and the Red Bull KTM team are feeling very confident in the position they’re in. Even on a “bad” night for Dungey, like San Diego, he still comes away with a podium result.
– With there really being little he could do about Dungey out front, Roczen’s damage control was as good as you can ask for. You could see the sense of urgency in his riding and when he initially got into second it looked like there was a chance he might reel Dungey in. However, he didn’t risk pushing things over the limit and took home a runner-up finish that he looked satisfied with. When a guy is as good as Dungey was in Dallas, sometimes second will do just fine.
– I was surprised Canard wasn’t close to Roczen. I actually felt like he was the rider to beat going into the main event, but once he got into third he settled into the position. Canard and his podium compatriots were very vocal about how tricky the track became in the end and I got the sense that it could easily have big consequences if someone was to miss their mark just a little bit. It looked like there was as much survival as there was aggression throughout the field. Nevertheless, Canard did what he had to do to keep pace with Dungey and Roczen.
– At one point this season Eli Tomac was arguably the rider to watch as he surged back from a dismal start at Anaheim 1 to win Phoenix and claw his way back into the title hunt. While the speed and aggression hasn’t subsided, little mistakes are costing Tomac a shot at keeping pace with the lead trio and, after his bad opening round, he can’t afford to make those mistakes. A seventh is not what Tomac had in mind or what he needed, but the bigger picture here is that he’ll need to step up his starts. Coming into the season the only doubt surrounding Tomac was his consistency out of the gate, and it’s ultimately put him into positions where he can potentially encounter trouble while fighting his way forward. Sitting 38 points behind Dungey is by no means a good thing, but there’s plenty of racing left for Tomac to get back into this.
– I think its clear that the leaders of the new era of Monster Energy Supercross are Dungey, Roczen, Canard and Tomac. These same four riders took the AMA Pro Motocross Championship by storm last summer, winning all but one race between them and, through seven races this season, they’re the only winners. While Dungey is an experienced veteran heading into his sixth 450SX season, it looks like he’s only now hitting his peak. Roczen is full of potential and has a bright future, while Canard is making up for years of heartbreak to be the best he’s ever been. Tomac is still finding his way in terms of consistency, but the way he races suggests he has the potential to be a star once he gets it all figured out. Here’s to hoping by season’s end that these four are trading wins and making each main event truly unpredictable.
– You think there was a little payback from San Diego when Tomac ran Chad Reed high and helped him to the ground? I think it’s likely that was the case. Tomac is by no means a physical rider like that, but he was definitely sour about how things unfolded in San Diego on a night in which he felt like he had a win in him. We’ll see if this continues in Atlanta.
– I knew after enduring a torn ACL last season and missing out on a shot at a supercross title, that Marvin Musquin would have a chip on his shoulder this season and would want nothing more than to make an emphatic statement in his quest for a first career title on U.S. soil. In Dallas he did just that. No one was even close to Musquin’s level last Saturday and now the Frenchman has a ton of momentum heading into the East Region title fight. While I don’t think he’ll win every race, I do think he’s as close to a guy with the potential to in many years. It’s an all-or-nothing kind of year for Musquin as it will likely be his last on a 250.
– Much like Musquin dominated, I fully expected Bogle to notch a strong runner-up finish. If he can continue to get good starts I think a win is in the cards for Bogle, but his title defense is going to be an extremely tough one. The best thing Bogle has going for him is his consistency, as one bad night by a title contender in such a short championship could easily be its defining moment.
– There’s going to be some great battles for the podium in this class as it moves forward. While Joey Savatgy’s first career podium may be a bit of a surprise to some, he’s always had the talent, but injuries have ultimately held him back. Now he’s with an elite team and has a rookie teammate in Arnaud Tonus that I think has the ability to turn some heads this season and potentially even steal a win. Additionally, Jeremy Martin is surely going to reach his potential in supercross while Martin Davalos is now more motivated than ever to run up front after his disappointed start to the season. Some dark horses like R.J. Hampshire, Anthony Rodriguez and Matt Lemoine have the ability to make some noise as well.