The 2017 Lucas Oil pro Motocross Championship series is an actual series, for now anyway. Who knows what's in store for Saturday at the Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, CO.
Best-laid plans, right?
Eli Tomac - everybody's favorite to run away with the 2017 Championship - lost the Red Plate last week thanks to that "2" that sticks out like a sore thumb in the points standings. It wasn't his fault though as he was one of many Kawasaki riders to encounter something wrong with the bike.
But he didn't even win Moto 1 quickly ending any talk of an undefeated season. Marvin Musquin, widely considered the biggest threat to Tomac's title hopes, made good on that caption at Glen Helen with his first 450 class Moto win and first overall win finishing third in Moto 2.
Marvin Musquin gets the Red Plate this weekend but can he conquer Thunder Valley?
Musquin looked like Tomac did at the start of the season - nearly untouchable. He grabbed the holeshot in Moto 1 and led the rest of the way. Tomac meanwhile charged through the pack but didn't come close. OK, he ran out of time. Eventually he probably would have caught the front. Regardless, Musquin and Tomac swapped spots on the day's first podium compared to the week prior with Josh Grant taking third just like he did the opening round. But Moto 2 proved a different story as bike issues for Tomac (2-19) and Grant (3-28) allowed Jason Anderson and Blake Baggett to climb the podium in Moto 2 and finish there for the overall with Anderson (5-1) in second and Baggett (8-2) taking third for the day.
Musquin rides the Red Plate on Saturday in Colorado for the first time in his 450 career.
Fun fact: Musquin is just one of three riders without a single digit points gain Moto. Compare that to last year after two rounds when nine riders had all double-digit Moto gains. The other two? Baggett, who is in third-place in the standings and the fifth-place Dean Wilson.
Eli Tomac has defeated Thunder Valley and Thunder Valley has brought Eli Tomac back to earth
Don't hit the panic button - the points punch Tomac took is far from fatal. He's been in this position before and 15 points down with 20 Motos to go hardly represents a game-changer. Same goes for Grant who crashed in Moto 2 which popped the gas line out rendering the bike useless and giving him just 20 points on the day. He's in fourth-place but within arm's reach of third-place with a solid ride at Thunder Valley. What's more, Thunder Valley owns Musquin rather than the other way around. And, it's Tomac's home track or at least the one down the freeway from where he lives. But his spill here two years ago will forever be remembered.
The high altitude at Thunder Valley provided unfavorable conditions for Jason Anderson last year
Jason Anderson's first career Moto win in the 450 class came at the perfect time to help erase the zero points gained in the first Moto at Hangtown after a rock hit his face. However, the altitude at Thunder Valley posed a problem last year forcing him out of the round so he'll need to manage his health this weekend. Two more zeros would be a game changer in terms of competing for the Championship. Last year he dropped from fourth-place (20 points from first) to seventh (70 points from first).
Can Zach Osborne get another overall win this week?
In the 250 class, Zach Osborne (4-2) didn't keep his Moto win streak alive but he did remain undefeated in terms of the overall. A mad dash in Moto 1 got him into fourth-place and he didn't have a chance for the win in Moto 2 as Dylan Ferrandis (9-1) looked more like Tomac than Tomac did winning by 23 seconds. But Osborne hung it out for second and the overall.
Unlike Musquin, Jeremy Martin owns Thunder Valley. The two-time Champion had his own bike issues in the opening round taking a hit in the Championship points but a dominating Moto 1 ride at Glen Helen put him back into the equation. He's in sixth place 31 points behind Osborne and if not for a crash while leading Moto 2 last week he'd be in second-place on the season. Just 10 points separate the second- through sixth-place riders with Adam Cianciarulo holding on to the runner-up spot by just two points over Alex Martin, and Colt Nichols is in fourth-place just two behind Martin and one ahead of Aaron Plessinger.
Jeremy Martin knows how to tame Thunder Valley
Four riders in the 250 class have all double digit Moto gains for the year with a mess of zeros in there for other legitimate contenders. Joey Savatgy (2-29) suffered a bike malfunction last week, so did Austin Forkner (38-6), and Ferrandis first career Moto win came at the perfect time because of that opening round crash that put him behind the eight ball with no points to start the year.
Get your oxygen masks on.
Our Podium picks for Thunder Valley:
- Eli Tomac
- Josh Grant
- Jason Anderson
- Zach Osborne
- Jeremy Martin
- Joey Savatgy
- Alex Martin
Check out the track map for Round 3:
Buy tickets online or at the track. Gates drop for Moto 1 at 1 p.m. (MDT).
2017 Motocross Season Standings
- Marvin Musquin (89)
- Eli Tomac (74)
- Blake Baggett (63)
- Josh Grant (60)
- Dean Wilson (58)
- Jason Anderson (56)
- Cole Seely (54)
- Broc Tickle (53)
- Justin Bogle (49)
- Weston Peick (46)
- Zach Osborne (90)
- Adam Cianciarulo (69)
- Alex Martin (67)
- Colt Nichols (65)
- Aaron Plessinger (64)
- Jeremy Martin (59)
- Joey Savatgy (50)
- Austin Forkner (47)
- Mitchell Harrison (43)
- Michael Mosiman (40)