Is it possible that the championship storyline is going to start with… elevation!? It seemed like Ken Roczen (Honda HRC) was headed to the front to take command of the race early as he blitzed the whoops and made some quick passes after starting in about 10th position. But on lap 11, Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) made the pass on Roczen and almost immediately Roczen’s lap times dropped from the 46’s to the 47’s and for the last 7 of 9 laps they dipped into the 48’s. Roczen ended with a 47.5 average lap time compared to a 46.5 for both Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) and Eli Tomac. As a result, Roczen lost another 5 points in the title chase and now sits -13 points back of Eli Tomac while Cooper Webb is just over a race back at -29 points.
While the championship battle gets the spotlight, the ride of the night goes to Malcolm Stewart (Smartop Bullfrog Spas Honda). Malcolm took his first career heat race win and then followed it up with an impressive come from behind ride. He was on the ground just after the first turn which left him in 20th position at the end of the first lap. Then he proceeded to pass 13 of the best riders in the world to finish 7th place. This earns Malcolm the Shaker award for the most position changes on the night. Don’t look now, but Malcolm is having a career year with consistent Top 10 performances.
In the 250’s, Colt Nichols had a fantastic ride in just his 2nd outing this season and in the process he put down the fastest lap of the main event. It’s clear he has the speed and with a few more gate drops there’s a good chance he’ll stand atop the podium. That said, his teammate Shane McElrath was yet again on fire and you can tell his confidence is high. He didn’t completely dominate the night like he did the last round, but he did qualify fastest, lead the most laps and take another win to tie the series with Chase Sexton.
As always, drop me a line on Twitter or Instagram @3lapsdown with any questions.
450 ADVANCED ANALYTICS
- Eli Tomac once again showed that he can recover from a bad 1st lap position. This week he was back in 9th place at the end of the first lap and worked through the pack for a 2nd place finish. He’s now got a series leading +54 position changes on the season!
- Malcolm Stewart has 11 Top 10 finishes but hasn’t crack the Top 5 yet this season. Only Tomac, Roczen, and Barcia have more Top 10’s and they’ve all got wins. Will we see Mookie on the podium before the end of the season!?
- Conversely, Chad Reed hasn’t finished in the Top 10 all season. No disrespect whatsoever, but that’s a stat I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.
250 ADVANCED ANALYTICS
- The top 3 in points (McElrath, Sexton, Marchbanks) are also the only riders to have finished in the Top 10 at all 6 rounds.
- Shane McElrath has led laps in 4 main events (most) and 69 total laps led (most). With the exception of Position Changes, he leads (or is tied for the lead) in every season stat category.
- Garrett Marchbanks had a strong come from behind ride. He rounded the first lap in 14th position, made 9 passes, and worked his way back to 5th place. He now has a series leading +21 position change.