Lots of racing left in the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series, well, depending on who you talk to.
The summer pastime just had its second of three two-week breaks so riders should be well-rested for Round 8 on Saturday at Spring Creek in Millville, MN especially since the first break occurred just three weeks ago. Five rounds remain but with 10 races and 250 points on the docket it's still anyone's Championship.
Ryan Dungey holds a commanding 44 point lead in the premier 450 class. However, as the beneficiary of an immediate 29 point lead after Round 3 thanks to the unfortunate season-ending crash by Eli Tomac who absolutely shredded the field earlier this season, the year can't end soon enough for The Diesel to secure his third Motocross title, or fourth overall when including his 2009 250 Championship.
But for the hot Justin Barcia who sits in third, 63 points behind, time is running out. Barcia's infusion of confidence after his muddy win at Budds Creek last month keeps him in the mix. He's got two straight overall victories but tied in points with Dungey last time out at RedBud.
Defending Champion Ken Roczen, currently second, is doing himself no favors with one Moto win in the last six. Roczen is racing with a stress fracture in his back and doing well despite the circumstances but like any rider vying for the Championship, anything other than center podium won't do and won't do much to catch Dungey.
For the year, Dungey has failed to step on the overall podium just once and don't expect the second time to occur Saturday in front of a home state crowd at Spring Creek. So, in order for Roczen and Barcia to make a run at the Championship they'll need a change in the mostly mistake free riding by Dungey. Second-place finishes from here out for Dungey secure him the 2015 Championship even if Roczen wins 10 straight Motos. Points wise for Dungey, there's just four rounds left in the season.
Tommy Hahn is looking for his third straight Top 10 overall
Under the MotoSport banner, Tommy Hahn heads into Round 8 with two straight Top 10 overalls thanks to some of his best riding of the season. Hahn occupies 16th place in the standings but effectively missed three rounds because of a concussion sustained in Round 3. He's been in California training during the break.
Guy Cooper, team manager for the MotoSport.com/GPI/Honda team, said they've made leaps and bounds improvements on the suspension, and the bike is capable of holding the Top 5 pace. Now Hahn just needs to get comfortable riding that fast.
"It's hard to hold that for 30 minutes," Cooper said. "He's getting in the mindset. You've got to have the bike setup and the mental outlook and the physical component. Then factor in a good start to make life easier on you."
Freddy Noren gets one more ride as a fill-in for Trey Canard on the Honda Factory team before returning to the MotoSport team next week at Washougal. Canard, who broke his arm during the Supercross season, is reportedly riding up to speed and prepping for a return at Washougal.
In the 250 class, Jeremy Martin and Marvin Musquin each have a nearly two-round points advantage over Zach Osborne in third-place and more than that for the rest of the field. Martin swept RedBud retaking the lead from Musquin and holds a seven point advantage heading into his home track at Spring Creek. Both riders have traded back and forth for the lead all season so if the pattern holds up, Martin could be in store for an upset but this round is also his best chance to open his largest lead of the season since he could probably win blindfolded. His parents bought the track in 1987.
Changes to Kyle Peters' bike should help him land a Top 10 at Spring Creek
Kyle Peters remains the sole MotoSport/GPI/Honda rider in the 250 class and he's still looking for a Top 10 which might come this week thanks to a new throttle body, some new pipe settings and a new suspension setup. Cooper said he's pretty excited with the adjustments and looking forward to watching the results. Peters trained with Canard during the break.
"I'm crossing my fingers for two Top 10 finishes," Cooper said.
Spring Creek boasts some of the best soil in the series thanks to its location on old farm land and great spectator watching. Buy tickets online or check the broadcast schedule. Gates to Moto 1 drop at 2 p.m. (EST) Saturday. Check out the track map:
2015 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ryan Dungey (303)
- Ken Roczen (259)
- Justin Barcia (240)
- Blake Baggett (212)
- Jason Anderson (197)
- Broc Tickle (190)
- Christophe Pourcel (186)
- Weston Peick (171)
- Phillip Nicoletti (151)
- Freddy Noren (132)
250 Class Standings
- Jeremy Martin (298)
- Marvin Musquin (291)
- Zach Osborne (207)
- Joey Savatgy (191)
- Alex Martin (188)
- Jessy Nelson (188)
- Adam Cianciarulo (178)
- Matthew Bisceglia (142)
- Aaron Plessinger (142)
- Christopher Alldredge (137)