The 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season returns to Texas on Saturday for Round 7 and the start of the 250SX East class at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Jason Anderson continues to pull away from the 450 class field as some early contenders fell off the radar while others pick up their pace. Anderson heads into Round 7 off two straight wins along with the necessary momentum to get his first 450 class career victory in Arlington. Last year he placed third behind Cole Seely and Marvin Musquin, and third the year before behind the retired Ryan Dungey and the now-injured Ken Roczen.
Currently, Anderson controls his destiny to add a 450 class Championship to that 2014 250SX West Championship. Six rounds into the season he has not placed below fourth, has five podiums and three wins by far better than anyone else. Roczen who snuggled up next to him in second just one round ago is out for the foreseeable future with a broken hand suffered in San Diego thanks to a bit of Single Malt Scotch throttle; Eli Tomac, a top title contender, crashed on the opening lap last week and did not finish, his second DNF of the year, which drops him to 13th and more or less out of title contention; and Musquin, while showing improvement, has a looooooong way to go. He needs wins and more wins to push this fight to Las Vegas.
Jason Anderson has the most wins of any 450 class rider through six rounds
Though the list of contenders dwindles others rise including Justin Barcia, Seely and Blake Baggett. All three reached the podium at least once this season - Baggett riding two straight third-place results - but none have found the top of the box yet.
Speaking of Musquin, indeed he continues to impress after returning from a shoulder injury that prevented him from lining up at Round 2. Since then, he's climbed towards the checkers finishing 13th, fifth, fourth and second last week in San Diego. Those track hijinks with Anderson in Oakland that dropped Musquin off the bike and included some hurt feelings did not return in San Diego but Musquin appears fully healthy and ready to fight for control. He won Arlington last year and his current trajectory looks good for another checkers on Saturday. Musquin opened the year with a win but the DNS in round two really hurt his chances for the championship.
Marvin Musquin (L) got past Cole Seely (R) in each of the last two rounds
Meanwhile, Barcia finished a season worst eighth-place just two days after Factory Yamaha extended his contract to race the rest of the year. But, Barcia has three podiums for the year including a second-place at Glendale putting him in second-place, 28 points behind Anderson. Seely sits just seven points back from Barcia in third and if not for fading while leading in the last race and crashing while leading at Oakland would certainly trail Anderson in second with a much closer point spread.
Elsewhere, Broc Tickle made his much anticipated appearance in the Top 5 last week climbing from an 11th place start. Tickle is 10th in the standings and thus far produced below expectations considering he replaced Dungey on the KTM and took his spot under trainer-to-the-dirt-bike-stars Aldon Baker. If the Baker's Factory trained rider finally found the right settings then consider him part of the mix. Veteran Justin Brayton continues hangin' tough in sixth-place and though it's highly unlikely he listens to New Kids on the Block for inspiration he's well within reach of the Top 5 for points and should pass the idle Roczen on Saturday and could pass Baggett who he is tied with in points.
Justin Barcia enters Round 7 in a career best second-place for points
Arlington hosts the 250SX East class season opening round with a field nearly as stacked as the West class though all signs point to Zach Osborne defending his title before heading to the 450 class this summer. Osborne etched his name in Supercross history last year with a come from behind, last lap pass on Joey Savatgy to take the 2017 Championship by two points over Adam Cianciarulo. He doesn't have Savatgy or Cianciarulo in the mix this year but don't expect a yellow brick road to repeating.
Jordon Smith nearly won the 250 East title last year entering the final round with the points lead but he crashed out in Las Vegas which dropped him to fourth on the season.
Jeremy Martin got some practice time and rode well in the 450 class the first three rounds this year finishing 11th, 10th and 12th. A Supercross Lites title eludes him thus far in his career and the Indoors feel more like an Achilles heel for the two-time 250 class Motocross Champion as up-and-down seasons with injuries and bad rides hampered the last three seasons.
Austin Forkner got extra rest after a wrist injury sidelined him for the West. He finished sixth last year as a rookie in the West which included two podiums.
Martin Davalos returns to the East and was looking good for the title two years ago before passport issues prevented him from competing in Toronto. The Great White North doesn't get a gate drop this year so the veteran 250 class rider gets a shot at redemption.
RJ Hampshire battled injury last year but when healthy can get into the mix. He should bring some confidence this year after sweeping the MXGP of USA MX2 class in September.
Dylan Ferrandis returns to the East in his second year. He had a solid debut for 2017 placing fifth on the season along with two podiums and five Top 4s.
Jimmy Decotis switches to the East after a solid season in the West last year finishing fifth and placing no lower than ninth all year. He last rode East in 2015 finishing eighth without a podium.
Our Podium picks for Arlington:
- Marvin Musquin
- Jason Anderson
- Cole Seely
250SX East Class
- Zach Osborne
- Martin Davalos
- Jordon Smith
Check out the animated track map for Round 7:
Practice for Arlington starts at 12 p.m. (CST) with the Main at 7 p.m. (CST) on Saturday at AT&T Stadium. Buy tickets online or at the box office. Chilly and rainy on Saturday with a high of around 60. Good thing the roof closes. FOX Sports 1 provides live television coverage.
2018 Supercross Season Standings
- Jason Anderson (141)
- Justin Barcia (113)
- Cole Seely (106)
- Ken Roczen (102)
- Blake Baggett (99)
- Justin Brayton (99)
- Weston Peick (98)
- Marvin Musquin (96)
- Josh Grant (83)
- Broc Tickle (82)