And another one gone.
Cole Seely answered our question posed last week regarding who was next to exit the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series when he broke his pinky finger this week in practice and is now out for the season.
Seely took fourth at Tennessee, losing the points tie-breaker to Broc Tickle, and along with two third-place Moto finishes was in third-place in the standings and looked good to stay there. Unfortunately, Seely adds to a growing list of podium contenders to leave the series because of injury including defending Champion Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson, Trey Canard, and Josh Grant. Blake Baggett got off the list at Tennessee after breaking his collarbone in a Round 1 crash.
However, with the exception of Dungey, none of these absences really affect Ken Roczen who rides a seven Moto win streak entering Round 6 on Saturday at the famous RedBud. No one this year put up much a fight, including Dungey, when they lined up behind the gate and Roczen is far and away the top rider but in the #2 spot, closing in but not quite there yet, is Eli Tomac.
Ken Roczen can finish in second-place for the rest of the season and win the 2016 Motocross Championship
Tomac put up the best fight of the season last week at Tennessee nearly passing Roczen in the final laps of Moto 2, but most notably, Tomac no longer trails by 30 seconds when Roczen reaches the checkers. As long as Tomac and Roczen stay off the injury list, there's no reason to believe those two won't deliver some bar-banging fights for the rest of the year and inject excitement in to a season that now feels a bit disenchanted.
By default, Marvin Musquin takes the third-place spot with Seely gone. The rookie Musquin grabbed his first podium in the 450 class at High Point and took fifth last week. Another strong ride Saturday puts him in command of third-place in the Championship standings since he's only 15 points behind Seely and 27 points in front of Tickle. Speaking of Tickle, if he grabs another podium he'll slide into fourth, passing Dungey and Anderson.
Eli Tomac is still in the hunt but needs some wins
The vacuum created by the loss of three riders currently in the Top 6 bodes well for Justin Barcia who has yet to put together a solid round but Round 6 is when he turned his season around last year and the following week at RedBud continued his ascent that put him into Championship contention. He's the defending winner at RedBud taking the tie-breaker over Dungey last year.
Actually, with Tickle, Barcia and Christophe Pourcel in the seventh through ninth positions and separated by two points all three riders now have ample opportunity to get into the Top 5 and even further with half the season still left.
The 250 class is another story. Moto ending crashes and mechanical failures aside, the Top 16 riders have raced at every round and should line up behind the gates on Saturday. At the top, Joey Savatgy hangs on to the Red Plate for another week but Cooper Webb cut into the points gap with his first overall of the season at Tennessee.
Cooper Webb showed he's 100 percent after last week's overall win
Webb no longer seems hampered by a broken wrist incurred during the Supercross season and he's said as much. Savtagy and Webb could mirror Roczen and Tomac, each battling for the lead every Moto while leaving the rest of the field to figure out third-place.
In third for points is Jeremy Martin with two Moto wins but no overalls. On the surface, he doesn't look much like the two-time defending Champion and he did mention dealing with an illness after Glen Helen that some speculate is something more sinister and holding him back. However, give Martin 20 points for the Moto 2 at High Point when his bike overheated and he's tied with Webb - that's if he only finished third. He was in the lead that Moto before a mistake dropped him back and then the engine quite. There's no reason to believe he doesn't rise to the challenge and fight for the checkers as long as the bike remains operational. So maybe he's just dealing with a bit more competition this year.
Joey Savatgy has held on to the Red Plate since Round 3
Same deal with fourth-place Alex Martin whose bike overheated in Moto 1 at High Point and after a crash in Moto 1 at Tennessee, he struggled to get the bike started and finished 19th. Alex Martin has five second-place Motos this season and an overall but two races netting him a total of two points have severely cut into his Championship hopes.
Talk to Marvin Musquin about mechanical failures and how it affects a Championship bid.
Our podium picks were pretty close for Tennessee. Roczen was a gimmie but we expected Musquin to take second over Tomac. Who saw Brock Tickle coming? In the 250 class, we got two of three as well accurately picking Savatgy in second but slotted Webb in third and giving Alex Martin the win. Who saw Shane McElrath coming?
So, who steps on the podium for RedBud? We'll make our guess, leave us yours:
- Eli Tomac
- Ken Roczen
- Weston Peick
- Cooper Webb
- Jeremy Martin
- Joey Savatgy
Gates drop for RedBud on Saturday in Buchanan, MI. Sunny weather forecasted with a high near 80. Buy tickets online or at the race track. Check out the track map:
2016 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ken Roczen (243)
- Eli Tomac (196)
- Cole Seely (151)
- Marvin Musquin (136)
- Ryan Dungey (131)
- Jason Anderson (113)
- Broc Tickle (109)
- Justin Barcia (108)
- Christophe Pourcel (107)
- Trey Canard (97)
250 Class Standings
- Joey Savatgy (205)
- Cooper Webb (193)
- Jeremy Martin (173)
- Alex Martin (158)
- Zach Osborne (152)
- Austin Forkner (138)
- Aaron Plessinger (131)
- RJ Hampshire (103)
- Jordon Smith (100)
- Shane McElrath (96)