Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ hosts Round 2 of the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season on Saturday where Ken Roczen tries to make it two in a row and MotoSport riders just try to get into the Main.
Roczen led all 20 laps of Round 1 at Anaheim to get the early lead in points. He was followed by rookie Jason Anderson and Trey Canard who kept up his solid racing from Motocross. Davi Millsaps and Eli Tomac, both considered serious challengers to the title, each fell in the Main and ended in 19th and 20th place, respectively.
It's early but Round 1 is telling as only five times in the 40 year history of Supercross did the eventual champion place outside the Top 5. Villopoto finished in 16th when he took the 2013 crown so Millsaps and Tomac have their work cut out for them but it can be done.
Fredrik Noren should be ready to go for Phoenix
On the homefront, none of the MotoSport-sponsored riders in the 450 class qualified for the Main. Jimmy Albertson, Fredrik Noren and Nick Wey both needed the LCQ and failed to move on to the Main. Albertson rolled to the finish behind Wey who missed the cut by one spot, just behind Tevin Tapia. Wey missed the Main last year at A1 but went on to make 15 straight for a 15th place overall in 2014. Cody Gilmore placed eighth in Semi 1 but did not start the LCQ. Adam Enticknap placed 10th in Semi 1 but 16th in the LCQ.
Noren went down on the second turn in his first Heat and cut the tip of his finger which required 11 stitches. He returned to race in the Semi and LCQ where he crashed after attempting a pass ultimately preventing him from finishing.
"The team is proud of how Fredrik kept fighting and he almost made the Main," said Guy Cooper, team manager for MotoSport.com/GPI/Honda Racing. "But all is well and he'll be ready to go for Phoenix."
Expect Jimmy Albertson to be in the Main for Phoenix
In the rest of the 450 field, Ryan Dungey and Andrew Short rounded out the Top 5 at A1. Chad Reed who reached the podium in four of the first five Rounds last year before a crash ended his season landed in 10th. Rookies Cole Seely, Dean Wilson and Joshua Hill, second, third and fourth place, respectively, in the 2014 250SX Western Region didn't fare as well as Anderson who took the championship last year. Seely took 14th, Wilson 15th and Hill finished 16th. Both Wilson and Seely needed the LCQ to qualify but did so without much effort finishing neck-and-neck but nine seconds ahead of third-place Kyle Partridge.
Josh Hansen looked good at A1
In the 250 Western Regional, Josh Hansen brought MotoSport's sole Top 10 finish taking ninth behind Alex Martin though in the early stages of the race put up a fight for third-place alongside Justin Hill and Tyler Bowers. Veteran Tommy Hahn, also MotoSport-sponsored, finished in 14th place. Hansen grabbed second place in Heat 1 to qualify for the Main.
In the rest of the 250 field, Jessy Nelson surprised everybody by grabbing his first career win. It was a perfect start to the year as he took the holeshot and never lost the lead. Bowers, the four-time Arenacross Champion, finished third behind Zach Osborne. Both riders banged bars battling for the lead in their Heat race resulting in a broken thumb for Osborne. Malcolm Stewart, brother of James Stewart and who finished sixth overall in 2014 for the Western Region, finished 22nd to start the 2015 season.
Tommy Hahn placed a respectable 14th at A1
Ryan Villopoto won Phoenix last year, as did Anderson in the 250 class, and both riders went on to win their respective Championships. Since 1999, just half of the 450 class Phoenix Supercross winners finished the season on top and less then half in the 250 class won it all by the end of the year. Hansen won Phoenix in 2011. Check out the animated track map below:
Doors open to Supercross Round 2 at 12 p.m. (PST) on Saturday when practice begins. Main event starts at 6:30 p.m. (PST). Buy tickets online or at the box office, 401 Jefferson in Phoenix, AZ.
2015 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ken Roczen (25)
- Jason Anderson (22)
- Trey Canard (20)
- Ryan Dungey (18)
- Andrew Short (16)
- Justin Barcia (15)
- Weston Peick (14)
- Broc Tickle (13)
- Mike Alessi (12)
- Chad Reed (11)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Justin Nelson (25)
- Zach Osborne (22)
- Tyler Bowers (20)
- Justin Hill (18)
- Aaron Plessinger (16)
- Shane McElrath (15)
- Cooper Webb (14)
- Alex Martin (13)
- Josh Hansen (12)
- Michael Leib (11)