Hold on to your couch cushions if last week was a sign of things to come as Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin (hopefully) bring Part 2 for Round 5 of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday to Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, TN.
Tomac and Musquin traded Moto wins at High Point with Tomac the overall victor while Musquin ended the defending Champion's consecutive Moto-win streak. Both raced their hearts out and to the heart's content of fans who witnessed the season's best battle in Moto 2 as Tomac held off a feisty Musquin who pursued Tomac, sometimes just inches apart, in a dynamic run to the checkers for more than half the race. Who needs a deep field when these two check-out? Look at these stats: In Moto 1 Justin Barcia finished a distant third, 36 seconds behind Tomac, and in Moto 2 Ken Roczen, who grabbed the holeshot, took third more than a minute behind second-place Musquin.
Eli Tomac finishes just a-head of Marvin Musquin in Moto 2 last week
Tomac brings the most success of the two into Muddy Creek taking the win on a tie-breaker last year over Jason Anderson while Musquin raced with a knee injury and finished 14th overall. Tomac took second in 2016 behind Roczen while Musquin finished fifth overall. Musquin last took a podium in Tennessee while riding the 250 class and finished second in 2015.
Musquin remains 28 points behind Tomac in the standings, successfully stopping the bleeding from the opening three rounds, while skillfully rebounding from a lackluster fourth-overall at Thunder Valley. Tomac, though, continues to show why he rides the #1 plate and Red Plate yet ever more gracefully than last year, minimizing mistakes, staying on two wheels and winning seven of eight Motos thus far.
As for everyone else...
Despite a nagging hand injury, Ken Roczen continues to ride well
Roczen managed to finish seventh in Moto 1 after a crash and pile-up on the first turn left him near the back. His holeshot and third-place finish in Moto 2 was completely overshadowed by the other two battling up front more than a minute ahead. Roczen suffers from tendonitis in the thumb of the hand injured during Supercross but brings solid success into Muddy Creek with a sweep in 2016, a close second to Ryan Dungey in 2015 and a tie-breaking win over Dungey in 2014.
Barcia's third-overall and second podium of the year felt more charity than earned (ok, he did have a brake issue in Moto 2) as he averaged nearly a minute behind the leaders for both Motos. However, he keeps his hold on third in the standings actually extending his lead from four over Blake Baggett to nine in front of Roczen. Baggett was unable to capitalize on his third overall for Round 3 and took seventh overall last week. He finished third overall last year in Tennessee and this weekend offers a good time for a repeat performance as he fights his way into third in the standings.
Justin Barcia needs more speed this weekend to contend with Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin
Finally, Justin Hill proved himself right, at least for one round, by taking fifth overall in his first race in the 450 class. Hill has repeatedly said he likes the big bikes better and his result was better than any round last year and the first three rounds this year in the 250 class. The 2017 250SX West Champion will continue in the premier class as a fill-in rider for Justin Bogle who is expected back sometime this year.
Can Aaron Plessinger grab the checkers first this weekend?
The 250 class got another points shake-up as a bike malfunction in Moto 2 ended Jeremy Martin's High Point hopes and not only kept him from winning but dropped him into second place 20 points back of Aaron Plessinger who swept for the second time this year. Plessinger, who leads the 250 field in Moto wins and overalls, won Tennessee last year and a repeat on Saturday sets him up on a second half run for his first Outdoor title.
The Championship road for Martin went from arguably a paved track after his primary competitor in Zach Osborne suffered a season ending injury at Thunder Valley to now an uphill battle thanks to this third straight season with a Moto ending bike malfunction. Ironically, Martin took second in Moto 1 at High Point two years ago only to suffer a bike malfunction in Moto 2, just like this year. Muddy Creek doesn't seem to suit Martin well either as he has never won, taking a career best third-place in 2015, and now most certainly needs a career best overall to try and reign in Plessinger.
In addition to bike issues, Jeremy Martin (left) also has a Justin Cooper (right) problem
Alex Martin also had a forgetful day last week and enters Muddy Creek, still in third-place, but now 30 points back from first instead of a much more manageable 13 when he entered High Point. Rookie Justin Cooper closed to within five points of Martin after taking third overall for the second straight week. Austin Forkner seems fully healed now from his Round 1 rib injury after getting his first podium of the year at High Point with a second overall and finishing 3-4-2 in his last three Motos.
Our Podium Picks for Tennessee:
- Eli Tomac
- Marvin Musquin
- Ken Roczen
- Aaron Plessinger
- Jeremy Martin
- Austin Forkner
Check out the track map for Round 5:
Expect more warm and humid temperatures (and possibly a thunderstorm) with the gate drop for the 250 class just after 1 p.m. (EST) on Saturday at Muddy Creek Raceway in Tennessee. Moto 2 gate drops around 3 p.m. (EST). MAVTV airs Moto 1 for both classes live and NBCSN covers Moto 2 for both classes live.
2018 Motocross Season Standings
- Eli Tomac (197)
- Marvin Musquin (169)
- Justin Barcia (140)
- Ken Roczen (131)
- Blake Baggett (130)
- Weston Peick (118)
- Benny Bloss (101)
- Phil Nicoletti (92)
- Jason Anderson (73)
- Cody Cooper (69)
- Aaron Plessinger (171)
- Jeremy Martin (151)
- Alex Martin (141)
- Justin Cooper (136)
- Austin Forkner (115)
- Zach Osborne (105)
- Jordon Smith (104)
- RJ Hampshire (100)
- Shane McElrath (91)
- Chase Sexton (87)