Monster Energy Supercross Round 8 Observations

Monster Energy Supercross Round 8 Observations

by February 21, 2021 1 comment

A chaotic and injury-filled night of Monster Energy Supercross from Orlando last night may have painted a pair of championship pictures in the span of about an hour. Here we go into the highs and lows of Round 8 of Monster Energy Supercross.

250 Roundup: 

Justin Cooper and Jeremy Martin 

Justin Cooper would start his 2021 campaign just as he did in 2020, opening with a win in the season-opening round of this year’s 250 West Championship. Unfortunately, his win would end up being overshadowed by a trio of major injuries to significant title rivals. First, his teammate Jeremy Martin about 15 seconds after the gate drop, had rookie Stilez Robertson land his Husqvarna bike directly on Martin’s left shoulder. Once he got up, Martin looked like he was very much nursing that shoulder area as he walked off to the side of the track. Needless to say, this ended Jeremy’s night. 

Alex Martin 

Secondly, we go to his brother Alex Martin who went down at the end of the next session and appeared to suffer some form of a head injury. In one of the wackier moments of this season, one of the track workers who came to his aid ended up getting hit by an oncoming rider. It was certainly something to see that happen. Regardless this incident would bring up a red flag and cause a full race restart. 

Jordon Smith 

Finally, Jordon Smith, who has dealt with numerous injuries in the last half-decade, started his 2021 season by getting hurt after the red flag. He ended up losing control of his KX250 at the end of the whoop section, which I will say was about as poorly constructed as it could have been last night, and ended up slamming into the face of the step-up jump after the whoops.

All in all, this was a very disappointing start to the 250 West Class. Injuries have been far too common in both 250 regions to this point, and it looks like they will once again. The podium ended up being Justin Cooper winning, Cam McAdoo second, and Garrett Marchbanks third. Unfortunately, that may not have been all on the injury front as we shift to the 450 class.

450 Roundup:

2 Cooper Webb – Red Bull KTM (1st Place)

Ken Roczen fans look away. I know this scenario is probably all too familiar to you guys, and I would imagine Webb’s performance last night was not much of a welcome sight. Webb completed the Orlando sweep while slicing Roczen’s points lead to only six points heading into the bye week. A good start put him in a great spot from the jump, and he was able to track down Adam Cianciarulo, who had built up a sizable gap to open the 450 Main. Once Webb ran him down, it was game set and match, as he was able to hold off both Cianciarulo and eventual second-place finisher Marvin Musquin for the rest of the evening, picking up his third win of the season.

Webb, these last two weeks, has been able to get into a groove where he looks as if he is about as comfortable as he can be on his SX-F KTM machine. Maybe it is the fact that he’s very close to home, seeing as he trains in Florida. Maybe it’s the result of better weeks of practice, but regardless Webb has clawed his way back into the title picture and is within very close striking distance of Ken Roczen.

51 Justin Barcia – Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing

Saturday did not start the greatest for BamBam. During the opening session of practice-qualifying, Barcia ended up crashing on the landing of the finish line jump and seemingly got the wind knocked out of him. Fortunately for Justin, this did not seem to ruin his night as he was able to find himself in podium position from just about the wire to wire. He was even able to have a strong showing down the stretch, holding off a hard-charging Eli Tomac and Roczen.

Barcia now has advanced into fourth in the points standings and now has his third podium finish of the year, which ranks third in the 450 class, only trailing Roczen and Webb. And the thing is if he did not have that accident with Vince Friese at the third Indianapolis race, there is a good chance he would have been in third place in points and somewhat in the title hunt after last night. So, all things considered, this has been a great season so far for Barcia.

94 Ken Roczen – Honda HRC (4th Place)

It was never a matter of if, but really when on the subject of Roczen getting a subpar main event start. He found himself buried on the start around 15th position and had to scratch and claw his way to get a hard-fought fourth-place finish. Ken also was able to work over Tomac after about 10 minutes of trying, with about five minutes remaining in the main event. While unable to do the same to Barcia despite having a good chance to, there is no shame in his performance last night. Saturday was about damage control for Roczen, and he did as good of a job as Honda HRC could have hoped.

The good news is that Roczen is still the points leader in the 450 Class after round number eight. The bad news now is that his boogeyman in Cooper Webb is now only six points behind him, riding a two-race winning streak, and now has a bye week to rest on that fact before the series heads to Daytona. Now, this is not all doom and gloom here, but Roczen was in this position before in 2019, and Webb was able to snatch the points lead from him midway in that season, and he never looked back. Roczen, now in 2021, has a chance to right the wrongs of two years ago.

21 Jason Anderson- Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (5th Place)

On Saturday we got a glimpse at the motorsport’s phenomenon, known as “Untucked Jason Anderson” (For those unaware sometimes he will not tuck in his riding jersey and it visibly shows), as he was able to top the 450 class in qualifying and win his heat race. While the speed earlier in the day did not ultimately translate to the main event win later in the evening, Anderson finally was able to show glimpses of what I expected him to ride like going into 2021. In his heat race, he showed some aggressiveness in roughing up Musquin with two corners to go to ultimately take the victory.

In the main event, he hung around the top ten or so, but at the end of the night, he got into a top-five spot by passing Tomac. While it was not a win, I was thrilled to see this side of Jason Anderson last night. Despite his more aloof tendencies off the bike, he is one of the single best riders on the planet, and he showed that he is not willing to law down anymore, and he laid down the hammer, so to speak tonight. If he can improve on his starts, I would expect him to contend for a win in two weeks at Daytona.

1 Eli Tomac – Monster Energy Kawasaki (6th Place)

Saturday night may as well of been the death knell in Tomac’s hopes of winning back-to-back supercross championships. Despite getting a significantly better start than points leader Roczen, he was unable to translate that into a podium, let alone a finish better than Roczen. Tomac once again looked good, but good does not cut it eight rounds into the championship when you are over a full race back in points. After having to try and hold of Roczen for the better part of the final 10 minutes, Tomac was undone getting caught up by lap traffic, which gave way to Roczen taking fourth place from him.

But what was more concerning was how easily Anderson was able to navigate by him for fifth place. I do not know if it was Tomac getting tired at the end of the main event, or just him packing it in. Regardless, he has dug himself further down into his points hole to the point now where he may not be able to get out. His only saving grace at this point is Daytona is coming up in two weeks, where he has dominated in his career, and then three races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But it may already be too late.

9 Adam Cianciarulo- Monster Energy Kawasaki (21st Place)

What started as a promising main event for the second year 450 Rider would end disastrously by his evening’s end. Cianciarulo was able to pick up a holeshot in the main event and built up a four-second gap on the field and seemed to be in cruise control at that point. However, Webb was able to run him down and take the lead about five or so minutes in. Cianciarulo was able to keep pace with Webb, well, until disaster struck.

Cianciarulo ended up making a mistake in the whoops section and fell forward off the bike when then landed on him when he hit the ground. And what looked like a solid podium night turned into a missed opportunity, as Adam is now out of fourth place in points and back in fifth. The good news is any injuries he may have can take priority as he gets a full week to rest up before Daytona Supercross in two weeks. 

A Bye Week Is Well Needed

We are now one round shy of hitting the midway point of the Supercross Season. Unfortunately, there were many injuries tonight, including a couple in practice to riders Justin Starling and Adam Enticknap. So, I hope both of them and all the previously mentioned riders the best of recoveries. Some good news on the injury front is that Chase Sexton and Justin Brayton are both expected to be at Daytona Supercross after their respective injuries (Brayton had a practice crash earlier this week and decided to pull out of last nights race).

Thank you guys for the read, and we’ll see you with Daytona Supercross coverage. 

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