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Monster Energy Supercross Minneapolis: Weekend Preview

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Supercross

After five weeks on the West Coast, Monster Energy Supercross finally heads east to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the 250 East season opener and sixth round of the 450 season. The 2019 season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting title chases in a long time, with only one repeat 450 winner so far and most of the top riders in all classes keeping themselves on the bike.

As the 250 West riders take a break and let their East compatriots drop the gate for the first time, there’s plenty to talk about coming into Saturday’s action. Here’s a quick look at the top storylines:

450 Class

After taking heat wins and the third race win in the Anaheim Triple Crown event, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac finally broke through for his first overall win of the year in a muddy San Diego final. The victory enabled one of the incoming championship favorites to finally take the points lead for the first time this year.

It marked another shift at the front of the pack in a year mostly dominated by KTM so far. Whether with new factory rider Cooper Webb, who took back-to-back wins in Anaheim and Oakland, returning favorite Marvin Musquin, or privateer Blake Baggett, the podium has seen more than its fair share of orange so far in 2019. Even Baggett’s Rocky Mountain ATV/MC teammate Justin Bogle was mere minutes from his first career podium last weekend before a late miscue dropped him from second to fourth.

Musquin did return to the podium in San Diego and remains in the title hunt, tied with Honda’s Ken Roczen for second in points, while Webb dropped to fourth in the standings. Save for defending champion Jason Anderson, this year’s title chase has been mostly short on injuries so far; riders like Roczen, Cole Seely, and Anaheim 1 winner Justin Barcia who missed significant time last year are still on their bikes so far (knock on wood).

Privateer Dean Wilson is tied with Baggett for fifth in points, with Baggett’s win in Glendale the tiebreaker between them. 450 rookie and last year’s 250 West champion Aaron Plessinger is the top rookie in the standings right now, eighth in points and just eight points back of his Yamaha teammate Barcia. Chad Reed and Seely complete the top 10.

250 East Class

After seeing the best of the West for the first month of the season, the East field finally gets a chance to race this weekend in Minnesota. They’ll have a tough act to follow, though, as the first five events of the season have produced some exciting racing and new stars.

While Adam Cianciarulo’s repeated trips to the top of the podium now have him atop the West standings, it’s been Colt Nichols at the front of the pack for much of the year. He’s outrun veterans like Cianciarulo, Shane McElrath, and his Star Racing Yamaha teammate Dylan Ferrandis for much of the season, replacing Plessinger as one of the class’s rising stars. We’ll see if another rider can assert himself the same way in the East class.

Factory riders expected to compete in the East class in 2019 include Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner and Martin Davalos, JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki’s Alex Martin and Kyle Peters, Geico Honda’s Chase Sexton and Christian Craig, Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper and Mitchell Oldenburg, Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM’s Jordon Smith and Mitchell Falk, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jordan Bailey and Thomas Covington.

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