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Monster athletes compete in the 2018 Lucas Oil Motocross Championship
NEWS

Back with a Monster Vengeance

Jul 222018

Just two weeks ago Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac was forced to dwell on the worst outing of his 450 Class career in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Despite a dominant season up until that point, highlighted by five victories in six rounds, Tomac’s adversity filled afternoon made had a big enough impact to completely erase his 32-point lead and drop him to second in the point standings.

In the days that followed, Tomac moved on from his troubles and did what any champion would do. He went to work. With an uber-resilient mentality instilled by his legendary father, Tomac did everything in his power to make sure that kind of misfortune never happens again. When he and the rest of the field returned to action at the Spring Creek National this past weekend, it was very clear that no one was going to get in Tomac’s way of redemption.

The sixth win of the season for Tomac came via his fourth 1-1 sweep, and it was in emphatic fashion. Given his pace in Millville it wouldn’t have been a surprise had Tomac pulled a pair of stellar starts, grabbed the early lead, and simply ran away from the field. Instead he went to battle with his fiercest rivals, crushed their spirits by running them down and pulling away, and definitively proved that the path to this season’s title starts and ends with Tomac.

450 Class Moto 1

 

Tomac was nearly a full second faster than the rest of the 450 Class in qualifying, so there was no doubt it was his race to lose when the gate dropped on Moto 1. As the field stormed down the long Spring Creek start straight and emerged from the first turn it was Ken Roczen who emerged with the holeshot and early lead. Right behind him both Marvin Musquin and Tomac gave chase and quickly engaged in a spirited battle for second.

 

As Muquin, the entering point leader and winner of the past two races, continued to fight Tomac for the position it allowed Roczen to sprint out to a multi-second lead. Musquin’s crafty defense kept Tomac at bay for a couple laps, but a slight bobble by the Frenchman was all Tomac needed to blow by and set his sights on Roczen.

 

Nearly three seconds sat between Tomac and Roczen, but the blistering pace of the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider helped close that gap quickly. As has been the case many times this season, catching Roczen and passing him are two very different things and the German was exceptional in preventing Tomac from making any serious pass attempt. As they encountered lapped riders both Roczen and Tomac were forced to alter their lines, looking to get around the backmarkers as efficiently as possible. This strategy worked well for Roczen for several laps, but when the Honda rider got slightly held up Tomac seized the opportunity to blitz by on the outside and seize the lead.

 

It wasn’t long before the distance between Tomac and Roczen started to grow, and soon enough Tomac was all alone in the lead. He led the final six laps to take the moto win by 13.1 seconds over Roczen. Behind them Musquin had trouble while running third and crashed, which dropped him to fourth at the end. As a result, Tomac was back atop the point lead.

 

Fellow Monster Energy rider Justin Barcia rode to an uneventful fifth-place finish aboard his Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing ride, while teammate Cooper Webb followed in seventh.

 

450 Class Moto 2

 

Things did not shake out so well for Tomac to start Moto 2 after he got buried in the pack entering the first turn. The champ went to work to make passes on the opening lap and managed to claw his way up to sixth. Unfortunately for Tomac, Musquin and Roczen were out front and quickly distancing themselves.

 

Tomac’s considerably higher pace than his competitors opened numerous opportunities to make passes and he methodically marched his way up to third within just three laps and effectively clinched the overall win by doing so. However, that wasn’t enough. Once in third Tomac was forced to once again deal with Roczen, who lost ground on the lead after an early tight fight between he and Musquin. Roczen kept Tomac behind him for eight laps, but it was only a matter of time before the champ got by.

 

Once in second, Tomac had just over five minutes to erase a five-second deficit on Musquin. With the win in hand Tomac could have easily accepted the runner-up spot and let Musquin win. However, Tomac knew a second-place finish wasn’t going to also give him back control of the point lead, which is what he wanted more than anything. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider put his head down and posted some of the fastest times of the moto to close in on the rear fender of the KTM. With three laps to go Tomac put the hammer down and put heavy pressure on Musquin. Tomac made an incredible outside-to-inside move that caught the Frenchman off guard and put the Kawasaki into the lead with just over two laps to go. Tomac instantly pulled away and led the final three laps to take the win by 6.9 seconds.

 

Barcia once again posted a solid fifth-place finish, while Webb put all three Monster Energy riders in the top 10 in ninth.

 

Roczen and Musquin joined Tomac on the overall podium, while Barcia finished fifth and Webb in seventh. Tomac successfully reclaimed possession of the red number plate as point leader and holds a seven-point lead over Musquin.

 

450 Class Results

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki (1-1)

2. Ken Roczen, Honda (2-3)

3. Marvin Musquin, KTM (4-2)

4. Blake Baggett, KTM (3-4)

5. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (5-5)

7. Cooper Webb, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (7-9)

 

450 Class Standings

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 351

2. Marvin Musquin, KTM – 344

3. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 296

4. Ken Roczen, Honda – 288

5. Blake Baggett, KTM – 270

12. Cooper Webb, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 79

250 Class Moto 1

 

The hottest rider in the 250 Class throughout the 2018 season has been Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger. The championship leader has enjoyed a breakout season and entered Spring Creek on an upswing after a dominant victory at RedBud.

 

Monster Energy set the tone in qualifying when all six riders took the top six-fastest times, led by rookie Justin Cooper. When the gate dropped on Moto 1 it was Savatgy who grabbed the holeshot and early lead, only to give it up by crashing on the opening lap. Savatgy’s misfortune handed the lead to Jordon Smith, who received heavy pressure from the Monster Energy trio of Cooper, Plessinger, and Austin Forkner.

 

Plessinger was a man on the move and charged all the way up to second, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Forkner slotted into third. Once into second, Plessinger needed just one lap to work his way around Smith and take over the lead. Once out front Plessinger easily distanced himself from the field, while Smith soon came under fire from Forkner. After a few laps of battle Forkner eventually got the upper hand and slotted into the runner-up spot.

 

Plessinger cruised to the win by 7.5 seconds over Forkner for a Monster Energy 1-2, with Smith third. Cooper was fourth, with Colt Nichols, Savatgy, and Dylan Ferrandis finishing ninth, 10th, and 11th, respectively.

 

250 Class Moto 2

 

Plessinger capitalized on another stellar start in Moto 2, narrowly missing out on the holeshot to Alex Martin but making quick work to take control of the moto by the completion of the opening lap. Cooper wasn’t far behind in third, while Forkner was fifth.

 

Despite his best efforts, Martin simply couldn’t keep pace with Plessinger and soon enough the championship leader was riding all by himself out front. As he lost ground to Plessinger, Martin also dropped into the clutches of Cooper, who was solidly locked into third.

 

Forkner put himself in the mix for a spot on the overall podium, but after an incident with a lapped rider he was forced to come into the mechanics area for attention. Savatgy effectively filled the void left by his teammate and did well to fight his way up to fourth.

 

Out front it was clear sailing for Plessinger, who posted a 1-1 moto sweep for the fourth time this season and clinched back-to-back wins for the first time in his career, continuing what has been a dream season. Martin followed in second, with Cooper third and Savatgy fourth.

 

Plessinger was joined on the overall podium by his teammate Cooper, giving Monster Energy a 1-2 finish, with Martin third. Savatgy helped put a trio of Monster Energy riders in the top five in fifth. All six Monster Energy riders landed inside the top 10.

 

What was already a healthy lead in the championship standings for Plessinger has grown to 49 points over Martin, one point shy of a full two-moto advantage. Cooper firmly sits in third, with Forkner in fourth.

 

250 Class Results

1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (1-1)

2. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (4-3)

3. Alex Martin, KTM (7-2)

4. Jordon Smith, KTM (3-7)

5. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (10-4)

8. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (2-18)

9. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (9-9)

10. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (11-8)

 

250 Class Standings

1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 333

2. Alex Martin, KTM – 284

3. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 239

4. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 216

9. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 214

11. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 172

17. Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 87

18. Colt Nichols,  Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 80

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