That was an exciting night of racing, from the most unlikely win by Ken Roczen to plenty of aggressive riding from Austin Forkner. But before I dive into the racing, I want to call-out how cool it was to watch Malcolm Stewart score yet another Top 5 finish, especially because he was wearing a “Black Lives Matter” butt patch. Stay with me, I won’t digress from the racing for too long.
The deafening silence from the NBC broadcast crew that likes to bring in human stories is, well, deafening. What’s personally most interesting is the silence of all the other riders. A simple yet powerful statement of support could be made by Malcolm’s fellow racers and friends. I for one believe there’s tremendous potential in showing comaraderie and unity. Here’s to hoping a few step-up and break the silence in the next 2 rounds.
Back to the racing… how about that blatant brake check by Cooper Webb in the first turn?! Can’t fault him for some aggressive moves considering the most important championship of the season is slipping away. That said, as it stands, he’s now got a battle on his hand for 2nd given tonight’s performance by Ken Roczen. Ken rounded the first lap in 2nd position, patiently waited to pass Webb on the 4th lap, and then went on to add 26 laps led to his already season leading 137 laps led en route to his 4th win of the season. Ken now has a 1 point lead over Cooper and sits 24 points behind Eli Tomac. Anyone else think that Cooper was expecting Ken to fade at the halfway point given his recent announcement of shingles?!
Eli looks to be putting this championship into management mode, but we’ve got battles for 2nd (Webb v Roczen), 4th (Barcia v Anderson), and 6th (Stewart v Wilson v Osborne). While the battle for the championship may end up being lowkey over the next two rounds, I’ve a feeling we’ll see some great racing for these positions. Speaking of, Zach Osborne has been on the move since we arrived in Salt Lake City.
In the last 5 rounds, Zach has scored 100 pts, 3rd to only Cooper Webb (121 pts) and Eli Tomac (117 pts). He’s by far the most improved rider since returning to action. Over the last 5 rounds, he’s gone from averaging 10th on the first lap to 4th. He’s gone from finishing an average of 10th to 4th. He’s also doubled the number of laps led (9 to 21) and is one of only 3 riders to finish in the Top 5 in all 5 rounds in Salt Lake City. Zach Osborne is showing the results that earned him the 2017 and 2018 250 East SX championships. Could he be the 5th rider to win a main event this season?
Last but not least, is it just a coincidence that I reported the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team has dominated holeshots over the last 5 years (38 in total and over 153% more than Star Racing) and tonight Dylan Ferrandis pulls his 2nd ever holeshot on his Star Racing Monster Energy Yamaha!?
One fun stat… in 43 years of supercross (since 1977), there’s only been a change in the lead twice after Round 15. Once in 1992 when Jeff Stanton passed Damon Bradshaw for the championship at the last round. The other was in 2017 when Ryan Dungey passed Eli Tomac in the championship standings at Round 16 in New Jersey. Said differently, the leader of the series after round 15 wins the championship 95% of the time!
Hope you enjoyed this weeks version of Advanced Analytics. Check out the Round 15 key stats and box scores for each class below. As always, drop me a line on Twitter or Instagram @3lapsdown with any questions or just to bench race. Hope you enjoy the analysis.
450 KEY STATS
- Eli Tomac continues to maintain a perfect 15 Race +/-. The next closest competitor is Cooper Webb with a +11 followed by Justin Barcia and Malcolm Stewart with +9. #theneweli
- Ken Roczen had the best lap time of the main event with 5 other riders within 0.94 seconds.
- Benny Bloss qualified 2nd today, won his heat race, and went on to finish 13th in the main event. He and Martin Davalos are showing their value here towards the end of the season.
450 BOX SCORE
250 KEY STATS
- In 30 career main event starts, Dylan Ferrandis has won 6 times and only gotten 2 holeshots. Maybe most interesting to note is that in his championship winning season last year, he averaged a first lap position of 3.7 vs a 6.5 this year. Who’s got the skilled Frenchman winning this title?
- In 30 career main event starts, Austin Forkner has won 11 times and gotten 15 holeshots. The big question now becomes who’s Forkner got left for friends come next Sunday’s east/west shootout?!
- In only his 5th main event, Jett Lawrence got his first podium after starting in 11th position and moving forward +8 positions. While Jett’s performance was impressive, it was Derek Drake with +10 position changes to take the Shaker award for most position changes. Both rookies, these young racers are going to entertain for years to come.
250 BOX SCORE