After taking its first break of the 2018 season last weekend, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross is back in action today with a return to High Point in Pennsylvania. Part of the schedule since 1977, Blake Baggett (450) and Jeremy Martin (250) enter as the defending event winners, though Eli Tomac’s perfect six-for-six start in the first six motos of the year has made him the 450 rider to beat coming into the event.
Tomac hasn’t won at High Point yet, although his form so far this year suggests he’ll have a great chance to do so. But there are plenty of other compelling stories in the paddock this weekend—don’t forget about these three as you watch today’s action:
Is Ken Roczen all the way back?
No, he hasn’t taken a win yet; Tomac’s perfect 6-0 start to the season has made sure of that. But Roczen’s return from injury has seen him lead 20 laps, second most in the 450 class so far, and take podiums in three of the last four motos, as well as his first overall podium in the last 14 rounds at Thunder Valley. The Honda rider, undoubtedly frustrated by his oft-injured status over the past couple of years, is long past due for a return to the top of the box overall. He did it back-to-back here in 2015 and 2016—could he make it three out of four?
How much will Zach Osborne’s absence affect the 250 championship?
The shoulder injury that Osborne suffered at Thunder Valley not only took him out for the rest of the season, it also opened up the title chase for the three riders currently ahead of him points. Jeremy Martin is the current leader over Aaron Plessinger and brother Alex Martin, having taken the overall victory two weeks ago with a 2-1 showing in the two motos. But Jeremy’s advantage is only 13 points over his brother and a slimmer eight over Plessinger, so the title chase is officially wide open from here.
Which injury replacement or promotion has the best opportunity to succeed?
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna will field Phil Nicoletti in 450 to replace injured Supercross champion Jason Anderson and Dean Wilson. With Nicoletti departing his other fill-in ride at AutoTrader/Yoshimura Suzuki, Justin Hill will move up from the 250 class a little early, taking on selected 450 rounds from here on out. That also leaves room for Enzo Lopes to stay with the team in 250, as Jimmy Decotis, the injured rider he replaced, will return next week at Muddy Creek. Nicoletti, Hill, and Lopes all have great rides ahead of them, with great teams behind them—could one of them break out and perhaps even steal a victory?