With the series’ annual visit to Daytona International Speedway as part of Daytona Bike Week in the books, Monster Energy Supercross returns indoors on Saturday with a visit to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The 11th of 17 rounds in the 2019 season won’t be an East/West Showdown for 250 riders as it was last year, but there’s still plenty of talent ready to drop the gate in the Hoosier State.
Defending 450 winner Marvin Musquin will look to take his first victory of the season as 22 of the world’s best riders face off in the home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts this weekend. Here’s what we’ll be watching out for on the track on Saturday night:
Eli Tomac took his third win of the season, and second overall 450 victory in three weeks, with a win in Daytona over Red Bull KTM teammates Cooper Webb and Musquin. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider’s solid, if slightly inconsistent, season now has him second in points, tied with Musquin at 203 on the count and his victories giving him the advantage in tiebreakers over the winless Frenchman.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Webb has only finished worse than second once since he finally claimed his first 450 victory, and that was in the lime-marred main event from San Diego. Five victories and two runner-up performances in the past eight events have Webb 19 points up on Tomac and Musquin right now—or the difference between finishing third in the final and missing it entirely.
Of the sport’s other riders, only Honda’s Ken Roczen is still within striking distance of the leaders, sitting just two points behind Tomac and Musquin as they all but ensure that second place will change hands on Saturday. Behind Roczen, you’ll have to go 40 points to get back to Blake Baggett, the Glendale winner and three-time 2019 podium finisher who completes the top five.
With Dean Wilson and Chad Reed each about 10 points separated from their nearest competitors in both directions, the next major points cluster sees the five riders between eighth and 12th separated by 10th points. Justin Brayton leads the group over rookies Joey Savatgy and Aaron Plessinger, the latter of whom will miss this week with a broken heel. That all but assuredly opens up a space in the top 10 for Anaheim 1 winner Justin Barcia, Plessinger’s Monster Energy Yamaha teammate, or Cole Seely, who partners with Roczen at Honda.
Austin Forkner got back to his winning ways in Daytona, a week after losing his overall win streak in the East-West Showdown in Atlanta but still finishing third to top the East riders. At 23 points, his margin atop the standings is approaching a full race with half of the season in the books and only five rounds remaining. Forkner’s sixth place in Indianapolis last year was the best of returning 250 East riders who are expected to compete.
The fight for second place, much like in the 450 class, features a tie between two riders: Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton. Each rider has a second place, two thirds, a fourth, and a fifth, making this weekend a true tiebreaker in every sense of the word. 250 veterans Alex Martin and Martin Davalos complete the top five.
Jordon Smith’s hopes of improving on last year’s runner-up finish for Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM came to a close when he skipped Daytona to let a wrist injury heal, while Mitchell Falk intends to return to action this weekend after riding only in the Minneapolis opener. In their absence, 250 West rider Shane McElrath rode his 250 in the 450 class, qualifying 14th, finishing eighth in his heat, and taking a respectable 12th in the final. Could he be one of next year’s 450 rookies?