Ken Roczen and Christian Craig both put the brakes on the title favorites as the two cruised to victory in their respective classes for Round 5 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season on Saturday in Glendale, AZ.
The series' new venue at University of Phoenix Stadium brought drama, two new winners, a tighter points race and the longest start in the history of the sport.
In the 450 class, Roczen wasted little time getting in front passing Davi Millsaps, who grabbed the holeshot in the Main and held off Roczen in their Heat race, and never looked back. Roczen set a commanding lead the entire way proving no match for defending Champion Ryan Dungey who worked his way from eighth on the first lap to finish second and land on the podium for the 21st straight time.
Roczen executed his race flawlessly and won for the first time this year and first since Round 3 of last year. It was his third-straight podium marking a third, second and first-place showing the last three rounds. Roczen opened the year in fourth and took fifth in Round 2. He's now in second-place, 21 points behind Dungey, who watched his three-race win streak come to an end.
"It's such a good feeling, the track was really tough out there," Roczen said. "We've been working so hard to get everything dialed in. It's awesome to be finally at the top."
Ken Roczen got his first win of the season in Glendale, AZ
At this time last year, Roczen was nursing injuries incurred at the Oakland round which ultimately led to his departure from the series to heal. Roczen's performance in the last three rounds have popped him into second-place and closed the gap on Dungey. Jason Anderson and Chad Reed, both tied in points coming into the round, fell to third and fourth-place, respectively.
Just a week after his lowest finish in seventh-place, Eli Tomac turned in his best performance of the year landing on the podium in third-place. He held his own in second for 11 laps but couldn't hold off the surging Dungey who made the pass on Lap 15. Though Dungey's attempt for his first career four-race win streak ended up short he's finished first or second in 16 straight rounds.
"I was pushing it, that start wasn't the greatest," he said. "I tried to make the passes as quick as I could. A couple of close ones, trying to drive to get to the front and get myself a chance at the end for maybe a win. Can't win them all"
Ryan Dungey eventually got around Eli Tomac to finish second
Millsaps, a former MotoSport sponsored rider, grabbed the holeshot for the second time this year which helped in a fifth-place showing, his best of the year. Reed finished in sixth, tied for his lowest of the season, while Anderson brought home his second-straight fourth-place finish. Rookie Marvin Musquin, who took third-place last week, took ninth for the third time this year.
James Stewart, Trey Canard and Blake Baggett did not race but Canard and Baggett are expected to be at the gates on Saturday in San Diego. Stewart remains week-to-week as he recovers from a Round 1 concussion.
The 250SX West class got its third different winner of the year as Christian Craig quickly passed Jimmy Decotis, who grabbed the holeshot, and led wire-to-wire holding off a pesky Cooper Webb who settled for second when his front wheel washed out on Lap 10. It was Craig's first career Supercross win.
Craig and Webb have brought bar-to-bar battles to the track all year and in Round 3 Craig led for much of the race but unable to hold off Webb and Zach Osborne, instead settling for third which he repeated last week. This week, like so many prior rounds, Webb got buried in the starting pack and worked his way to second by Lap 4. He nearly crashed on Lap 8 in the whoops section that took him out during practice and tried making several attempted to pass on Laps 8, 9 and 10 before going down in a corner and never mounted a challenge to Craig after that.
Christian Craig held off Cooper Webb to grab his first career Supercross win
"What a ride for me, this is unbelievable," said Craig who retired twice then returned to the series for his infant son. "A year ago I was working construction building homes in the winter in Minnesota. I never thought I'd be here but I worked my butt off. I saw this one coming, it was a matter of time."
Webb, the defending Champion, who was on his way to his fourth straight win last week before a mechanical failure ended his race and subsequently the points lead, is now tied with last week's winner, Joey Savatgy, who finished third in Glendale. Webb's season has gone from talk to an undefeated season to being in a bona fide fight for the crown. Craig has posted the most points of any rider in the last three rounds and is just 11 points behind Webb and Savatgy after starting the season in 17th place.
Petco Park in San Diego hosts its second round of the year on Saturday before the series treks east to Texas. Doors open at 12 p.m. with opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. and gates dropping for the Main event at 7 p.m. Buy tickets online or at the box office.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Glendale Results
Glendale Supercross 450SX Class Results
- Ken Roczen
- Ryan Dungey
- Eli Tomac
- Jason Anderson
- Davi Millsaps
- Chad Reed
- Justin Brayton
- Cole Seely
- Marvin Musquin
- Wil Hahn
Glendale Supercross 250SX West Class Results
- Christian Craig
- Cooper Webb
- Joey Savatgy
- Mitchell Oldenburg
- Colt Nichols
- Chris Alldredge
- Alex Martin
- Kyle Cunningham
- Jimmy DeCotis
- Kyle Peters
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (119)
- Ken Roczen (98)
- Jason Anderson (93)
- Chad Reed (90)
- Eli Tomac (88)
- Cole Seely (83)
- Marvin Musquin (63)
- Davi Millsaps (61)
- Justin Brayton (61)
- Jake Weimer (53)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Cooper Webb (98)
- Joey Savatgy (98)
- Christian Craig (87)
- Colt Nichols (81)
- Zach Osborne (74)
- Jimmy DeCotis (71)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (66)
- Kyle Peters (62)
- Jordan Smith (61)
- Kyle Cunningham (54)