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Monster Energy Cup: Riders to Watch

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via JGRMX (1); Justin Barcia (2); Cooper Webb (3)

The countdown is on to the biggest-money event of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season: the Monster Energy Cup, returning to Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas for the eighth straight year. The non-points, all-money event is always a great preview of the next season, and multiple top riders who are changing seats for the 2019 schedule will be debuting their new bikes this Saturday night.

We all know that 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross champion and nine-time 2018 Supercross race winner Eli Tomac, as well as defending Monster Energy Cup and $1 million prize winner Marvin Musquin, will be the favorites. A few other top names, such as Jason Anderson and Ken Roczen, aren’t on the entry list. But how about some of the other riders on the grid? Here are the other names we’ll be paying attention to from some of the sport’s other top teams:

Monster Energy Yamaha: Justin Barcia

Barcia was the winner of the second-ever Monster Energy Cup back in 2012, but couldn’t sweep the event, kicking off a five-year drought of million-dollar prize winners. After helping the United States to a sixth place finish at Motocross of Nations last weekend, Barcia will hope to become the first-ever rider to take multiple Monster Energy Cup victories with a win on Saturday night.

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM: Blake Baggett

Tomac and Musquin had the more spectacular seasons, but Baggett was more consistent at fourth in Supercross points this year. One of only six 450 riders to score points in every event this year, he scored five podium finishes, including three in a row in the winter and back-to-back third-place finishes to end the year. Baggett is always a solid sleeper pick for a strong performance and to snag an occasional win.

Red Bull KTM: Cooper Webb

After missing multiple Supercross and Pro Motocross rounds this year due to injury, Webb gets a fresh start at Red Bull KTM after Aaron Plessinger replaced him as Barcia’s Yamaha factory teammate. Paired with Marvin Musquin, Webb will look to get his new relationship off on the right foot in Las Vegas, even as he missed both this event in 2017 and the Las Vegas regular season finale back in May.

Monster Energy Kawasaki: Joey Savatgy

Pushing out Josh Grant, Savatgy moves up to the 450 class for 2019 alongside Tomac after finishing fourth in the 2018 250SX West standings, but a disappointing ninth in the Pro Motocross 250 class. Savatgy took a victory in the second Anaheim race and four podiums in 10 Supercross starts this year, but just missed the podium in the combined East-West season finale here in the spring.

Autotrader/Yoshimura Suzuki: Chad Reed

After making his return to the outdoor scene at Ironman to end the 2018 Pro Motocross season, Reed rejoins JGRMX after posting respectable fifth and eighth place runs in his first race since June 2015. While his privateer Supercross effort has been inspiring over the years, seeing the Australian legend back on a factory bike for an all-star event like this has to have old-school fans dreaming.

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