Monster Energy Supercross rolls on with the seventh round of its 17-week season on Saturday, heading to Texas for a visit to AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The first of two 2019 rounds in the Lone Star State will see the latest chapter in what may be one of the most compelling 450 title battles in recent memory, while both 250 championships are underway with the East class having kicked off last weekend in Minneapolis.
In a Supercross season that has been heavy on storylines and light on major injuries (knock on wood) so far, there’s been plenty to talk about in both classes every single week. Here are the top storylines heading into Arlington:
Last year’s 450 title fight basically ended before it started, with Jason Anderson one of the only riders who managed to stay healthy all season long. But if we knew back then that this is what we’d be getting a year later, it’s hard to imagine anyone would be complaining.
Six races in, the top four riders at the sport’s highest level are separated by just two points. Ken Roczen, who missed much of the 2018 indoor season due to injury, is back on top with Honda with 125 points. Cooper Webb, whose move to Red Bull KTM has yielded three victories so far, is second with 124. Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin, Anderson’s top title rivals from last year, are tied for third with 123.
In fact, Anderson is one of the only significant absences in the sport right now, as he remains sidelined after a major practice crash. His injury actually opened the door for Dean Wilson, his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate from last year, to return to the team after running as a privateer in the season’s early rounds. Wilson remains fifth in points, seven clear of Anaheim 1 winner Justin Barcia.
As for the highly anticipated rookie race, last year’s 250 West champion Aaron Plessinger is the top rider at ninth in points. But Joey Savatgy led 14 laps in Minneapolis before starting to make mistakes, and has more than once found himself at the front of the field since moving up to a 450 for Monster Energy Kawasaki. While he’s no real threat in the points chase, don’t be surprised if he cleans up with a little more experience and maybe even becomes the first rookie winner of the season.
250 East Class
Jordon Smith and Austin Forkner were two of last year’s top 250 East riders, with Smith placing second to Zach Osborne in the final standings and Forkner scoring fourth despite missing the last two races of the year. As has been the case in the West class, Minneapolis proved that the returning veterans should be the class of the field yet again.
Forkner won his heat and led the final from the holeshot despite suffering multiple practice crashes. Smith, meanwhile, came home second after an adventurous final that started with a flat tire on the parade lap and also featured a fall that briefly dropped him off of the podium.
If the East class produces its own breakout star to answer the West’s Colt Nichols, it may actually be another Star Racing Yamaha rider. Justin Cooper outfoxed veteran Alex Martin to earn his first career Supercross podium in just his second indoor race. A three-time podium finisher in last year’s Pro Motocross season, don’t sleep on Cooper as a potential championship wild card.