Happy 4th of July!

The celebration of America's Independence Day actually comes tomorrow but some of us have other things to do thus the really early race preview of Round 7 of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series on Saturday at RedBuuuuud in Buchanan, MI.

Marvin Musquin is getting soooo close...to eating away at Eli Tomac's point lead. Thus far no dice as three weeks ago he tied Tomac in points but lost the overall then last week he got his first overall of the season but also on the tie-breaker to Tomac, so no points gained.

Both raced their sweat out on a sweltering day at Southwick last week offering another epic dual this time in Moto 1 where Musquin led for nine laps fending off Tomac's attempt after attempt to grab the lead until he finally got around just prior to the start of the final lap. Musquin spilled a bit later after hitting a soft spot landing on the edge of the track giving Tomac the easy win. But it was Tomac's turn in Moto 2 to relinquish the lead after he dumped twice giving Musquin the easy victory and overall.

Marvin Musquin got the upper hand on Eli Tomac in Moto 2 last week...

Tomac brings a lot of success into RedBud, sweeping last year and finishing second to Ken Roczen in 2016 and 2014. Musquin took third last year and finished a distant second in 2014 while racing the 250 class, his only podiums at RedBud. At the midway point last year Tomac held a 13 point lead over Blake Baggett and a 40 point lead over Musquin who was in fourth.

...but he'll need a bit more to catch Eli Tomac (left) in the standings

But you know who won RedBud in 2015? Justin Barcia. He's got three straight podiums but continues to have a hard time keeping up with Musquin and Tomac. He held his own in Tennessee but last week in the sand he finished 44 seconds and 32 seconds behind the winner leading just one lap in Moto 1. Tomac and Musquin continue to ride above and beyond the ability of anyone else on the track while pushing their own and the usual fan fervor at the July Classic offers a recipe for a talked-about for months battle.

Can Justin Barcia pull off a win at RedBud on Saturday?

Speaking of Roczen, he's proving a factor early in the races but quickly succumbs to Tomac, Musquin and Barcia no doubt thanks to the lingering injury from Supercross. He finished fifth overall last week, led four laps in Moto 1, and now holds a slim one point lead over Blake Baggett for fourth-place in the standings. Baggett, meanwhile, hasn't landed on the podium since Thunder Valley but continues to haul in Top 5s landing there seven of the last eight Motos. It was last year at RedBud when a possible Championship season more or less ended for Baggett in Moto 2. After taking second in Moto 1 and grabbing the holeshot in Moto 2 he tangled with Jason Anderson battling for second and hit the dirt. He managed to rebound from last place to 10th but ultimately lost the Red Plate and a resulting thumb injury kept him from catching Tomac and then Musquin the rest of the season.

The 250 class has settled down for now with no season-ending injuries to title contenders. However, Dylan Ferrandis who started the season at High Point got his second Moto win in two rounds and now has a career first overall taking the podium top step at Southwick. The French native missed the opening three rounds because of an injury in Supercross but already has mixed it up front with two wins and four Top 4s in six Motos. Ferrandis has moved to 11th in points and though highly unlikely he can compete for the Championship can certainly act as spoiler to those in the fight.

Dylan Ferrandis is not making it easy for those in the title hunt

Aaron Plessinger who holds the Red Plate had his second straight off-podium round. Though he did finish third in Moto 1 last week, Plessinger came up a bit short in Moto 2 finishing seventh for fifth overall. Alex Martin, his nearest competition in the standings, finished second overall and moved to within 23 points of the lead.

Martin and Austin Forkner, who finished one-two, respectively in Moto 1, came together in the waning laps of Moto 2 that knocked both off the bikes but leaving Forkner, who was leading, on the ground and unable to immediately continue the race. Martin rebounded to finish fourth and salvage the points he needs to catch Plessinger. Forkner finished 20th after leading eight laps for seventh overall. Forkner finished seventh overall last year at RedBud and eight the year before.

Alex Martin has yet to win a Moto this year but sits in second place in the standings

Martin brings solid history to RedBud finishing second overall the last two years and the others with him on the podium those years now out for the season (Jeremy Martin and Zach Osborne) or moved on to the 450 class (Cooper Webb). Ferrandis finished fifth overall in his first year in the states last year.

Elsewhere, Shane McElrath has moved to fifth in the standings after a win in Tennessee and third overall at Southwick. McElrath was ninth entering Round 4 and has a line of 3-2-6-2 since. He grabbed the holeshot in both Motos last week and led half of Moto 1 before losing significant ground that prevented a possible second straight win. Another solid ride on Saturday could put McElrath into third as he'll pass the injured Jeremy Martin and he's only four points back of Justin Cooper who has netted just 16 points in the last three Motos thanks to some rough get-offs.

Our Podium Picks for RedBud:

450 Class:

  1. Eli Tomac
  2. Marvin Musquin
  3. Justin Barcia

250 Class:

  1. Alex Martin
  2. Shane McElrath
  3. Dylan Ferrandis

Check out the track map for Round 7:

Riders get a break from the heat as temperatures for the weekend drop into the 70s for the weekend from the high 80s all week. Gates drop for Moto 1 at 1 p.m. (EST) and the second Motos get underway at 3:30 p.m. (EST) at RedBud MX in Buchanan, MI. MAVTV covers Moto 1 for both classes live with the usual switch to NBCSN for Moto 2. Catch a replay of Moto 2 for both classes at 5 p.m. (EST) Sunday on NBCSN.

2018 Motocross Season Standings

450 Class

  1. Eli Tomac (289)
  2. Marvin Musquin (257)
  3. Justin Barcia (244)
  4. Ken Roczen (201)
  5. Blake Baggett (200)
  6. Weston Peick (170)
  7. Benny Bloss (156)
  8. Phil Nicoletti (142)
  9. Cody Cooper (85)
  10. Jason Anderson (73)

250 Class

  1. Aaron Plessinger (233)
  2. Alex Martin (210)
  3. Jeremy Martin (176)
  4. Justin Cooper (174)
  5. Shane McElrath (170)
  6. Austin Forkner (169)
  7. RJ Hampshire (154)
  8. Jordon Smith (151)
  9. Chase Sexton (141)
  10. Joey Savatgy (128)