250 Class Moto 1
For point leader and two-time winner Aaron Plessinger, the key to his 2018 success has been a direct result of his improved starts. The Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha rider had positioned himself at the front portion of the field more often than not through the first four rounds and that confidence vaulted him to his first holeshot of the season in the opening moto at Muddy Creek.
Plessinger edged out his biggest rivals, the Martin brothers, to start Moto 1 with the lead, but trouble struck early when he tucked the front end. The small mistake proved costly, but Plessinger remounted quickly and got back into the action just outside the top 10. In his absence, Alex Martin took the lead, with Jeremy Martin in second. Behind them, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha rookie sensation Justin Cooper made a challenge for third.
The Martins eventually swapped spots, which put Jeremy into the lead, but Cooper continued to apply pressure on Alex for second. That continued attack forced a mistake out of the elder Martin, which allowed Cooper to move into second. He maintained his hold on the runner-up spot through to the finish.
Martin took the moto win, with Cooper right behind. Plessinger fought valiantly to break back into the top 10 and finish ninth. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo of Austin Forkner and Joey Savatgy were impressive as well and battled one another for fifth place throughout the moto. In the end, Forkner outlasted his veteran teammate to secure fifth, while Savatgy settled for sixth. In his second race back from injury Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis finished 11th, but he would make his presence felt in a big way in the next moto.
250 Class Moto 2
As the field exited the first turn to start Moto 2 it was Alex Martin to grabbed the holeshot just ahead of his teammate Sean Cantrell and Ferrandis. The Frenchman refused to let the lead slip away and got around Cantrell for second on the opening lap before applying pressure on Martin for the lead. Plessinger emerged from the fray in fourth, while Forkner served as the only other Monster rider inside the top 10.
Cooper’s hopes for a shot at a first career victory were dashed on the opening lap when he came together with Jeremy Martin on the opening lap, which sent both riders to the ground. Martin was done for the day, while Cooper restarted dead last.
Ferrandis continued to carry the torch for both Monster Energy and his Star Yamaha squad, as he was all over Martin for a series of laps. Despite the pressure, Martin weathered the storm and continued to hold on to his very slim lead. As the moto reached the halfway point, lapped traffic put some distance between the lead duo.
Plessinger eventually moved into third, while Savatgy broke into the top 10 and continued to climb up the standings. Forkner was forced to recover from an early incident that dropped him outside the top 15, but he also did well to claw his way back into the top 10.
Out front, Ferrandis mounted another serious challenge for the lead in the waning stages of the moto. A major mistake by Martin saw him crash spectacularly out of the lead, which allowed the Frenchman to cruise by. From there Ferrandis never looked back to take his first moto win of the season after just his third gate drop of the summer. A surging Shane McElrath followed in second, while Martin recovered for third. Plessinger settled for fifth, with Savatgy seventh and Forkner ninth. Cooper did all he could to finish 28th.
When the points were tallied, McElrath broke through for his first career win. Ferrandis led the way for Monster Energy with a stellar runner-up finish highlighted by his moto win. Savatgy finished sixth, with Plessinger right behind in seventh. Forkner and Cooper ensured five Monster Energy riders were inside the top 10 by finishing eighth and 10th, respectively.
Despite an afternoon in which he wasn’t at his best, Plessinger still managed to add to his lead in the 250 Class championship standings. He now holds a 23-point lead over Jeremy Martin. Cooper and Forkner also maintained their spots inside the top five, while Savatgy broke into the top 10.
250 Class Results
1. Shane McElrath, KTM (3-2)
2. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (11-1)
3. Chase Sexton, Honda (8-4)
4. Alex Martin, KTM (12-3)
5. Jordon Smith, KTM (7-6)
6. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (6-7)
7. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (9-5)
8. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (5-9)
10. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (2-28)
17. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (10-20)
250 Class Standings
1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 199
2. Jeremy Martin, Honda – 176
3. Alex Martin, KTM – 170
4. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 158
5. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 143
10. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 112
13. Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 72
14. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 68
27. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 12