The Dungey Express returns to Anaheim on Saturday for Round 3 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season with the red plate and already mid-season Championship momentum.
Indeed, Ryan Dungey looked impressive in San Diego winning there for the first time in his career and getting his first win of the season taking the points lead back from Jason Anderson who won the first time around in Anaheim to start the season. Check out the track map for Anaheim 2:
Last season it took five rounds before Dungey stood center podium which he did in the Anaheim final but he'd already started his podium streak by then and building what turned into an unsurmountable lead en route to the 2015 title.
By all accounts his determination and focus is sharper than last year which bodes well for him to repeat but makes it all the more difficult for the rest of the field. Anderson lost some valuable points last week after getting docked two spots when he jumped after the red cross flag waved during the Main. If Dungey continues his podium streak, currently at 18, for the rest of the year, four points likely won't matter. But if the dozen or so contenders who have a legitimate shot at a Top 3 finish week in and week out then four points, well, let's just see how it turns out in May.
Can Ryan Dungey hold off Chad Reed and Jason Anderson in Round 3?
Chad Reed hopefully put to rest any more talk of his age after a great ride for second-place when he tailed Dungey the entire race coming up short by less than two seconds. Right now, Reed appears as focused and sharp as Dungey thanks much in part to not dealing with running his won team. Reed won Atlanta 1 last year but is riding like it's 2014 when he won two of the first five rounds, both at Anaheim, before the nesty get-off in San Diego ended what looked to be a Championship contending year.
Cole Seely seems to like third-place. The second year rider posted two back-to-back third-place results which is where he sits in the standings and the spot he finished last year. In the opening round, he and teammate Trey Canard appeared to be running away to go 1-2 but Canard crashed and Seely proved no match for Anderson and Dungey.
Eli Tomac got the best of Trey Canard the last two rounds
Speaking of Canard, he's got two back-to-back seventh place finishes which is also where he sits in the standings. He looked fast the last time around at Anaheim but had a quiet night in San Diego. He's already 19 points behind Dungey so if he's got to recapture last year's half season of magic real quick if he wants a legitimate shot at first place.
Perhaps even more quiet is Eli Tomac. He's got two back-to-back fourth place results (this is the season of back-to-back finishes apparently - Justin Brayton has back-to-back 10th place finishes) and he sits in fifth-place just a point behind Reed. Maybe no one really thought he'd seriously compete coming off two major shoulder surgeries but you know what they say, look out for the quiet ones. Well, OK maybe they don't say that. In Supercross anyway.
Ken Roczen is looking for his first podium of the year
Competing with Tomac in the quietness category is Ken Roczen. (It's that Ryan Dungey's fault.) Compared to last year after two rounds, Roczen looks like a mid-pack guy. After Round 2 in 2015 he had a nine point lead over Dungey, this year he's 16 points back from Dungey thanks to a fifth and sixth-place finish. He won Anaheim 2 last year going 1-2-1 to start the season and looked on his way to a Championship before eating some dirt in Oakland. Not seeing Roczen on the podium yet is probably the biggest surprise of the year.
James Stewart should be back! After getting cleared from doctors to race in Round 2 after the knock-out concussion in Round 1, Stewart pulled himself out of competition after a practice run. Unless everyone in the Top 5 succumbs to a similar fate for at least one round, Stewart has little chance of grabbing a Championship. He was really a long-shot to begin with but can certainly play spoiler if he stays healthy, and stays upright on the bike.
Justin Barcia's season has more or less come to an end as he opted for thumb surgery to repair ligaments damaged prior to the start of the season. It's why he developed arm pump at A1 and also explains his finishes out of the Top 10 in both rounds this year. He's sidelined indefinitely and likely would have been a non-factor had he chosen to ride through the pain.
Much of the press, for this round anyway, probably focuses on Weston Peick's return after his one race suspension for fighting. Don't expect another brouhaha with Vince Friese but don't be surprised to see Peick lay it all out on the track. Read that more figuratively though he's known to do that literally.
Cooper Webb goes for a third win on Saturday
In the 250 West class, Cooper Webb looks to keep his win streak alive and add to his 16 point lead over Jordan Smith. Jessy Nelson who finished a not so close second to Webb in Round 1 crashed during a practice run prior to Round 2 and didn't line up in San Diego. He should be ready on Saturday but he's now 28 points back and with just six races left on the schedule he no longer poses the biggest threat to unseat Webb as Champion.
Webb is riding on another level and it would be interesting to see how he'd be faring in the 450 class if he was riding there. He rode the big bike in a few off season races and the experience is serving him well. An undefeated season is looking more likely and as long as he stays upright (things can happen, just ask Nelson) the Championship is his to lose.
Like last year, this race is going to come down to who finishes in second and third. Smith is just a point ahead of Joey Savatgy and Zach Osborne and all three riders have reached the podium this year.
Practice for Supercross Round 3, the second and final round in Anaheim, starts at 12 p.m. Saturday with opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. and the Main event at 7 p.m. Buy tickets online or at the Angel Stadium box office.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (47)
- Jason Anderson (41)
- Cole Seely (40)
- Chad Reed (37)
- Eli Tomac (36)
- Ken Roczen (31)
- Trey Canard (28)
- Jake Weimer (22)
- Davi Millsaps (22)
- Justin Brayton (22)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Cooper Webb (50)
- Jordon Smith (36)
- Joey Savatgy (35)
- Zach Osborne (35)
- Jimmy DeCotis (31)
- Colt Nichols (30)
- Alex Martin (25)
- Kyle Peters (25)
- Jessy Nelson (22)
- Christian Craig (22)
Written By: AndrewT