Round Five of The 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series was completed last night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The race featured one of the absolute most chaotic 250 main events in recent memory, along with Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen picking up his second win in a row. With that win, he stretches his points lead by over a dozen points.
Chaos is a ladder
The 250 Main Event and some of the storylines around it bear mention due to the sheer chaos surrounding it. Jett Lawrence had to qualify through the last chance qualifier due to going down and suffering a shoulder injury in his heat race. Despite winning the LCQ, Honda decided to play it smart with the 17-year-old and sat him for the 250 Main Event.
Here is where the real chaos begins. Mitchell Oldenburg of Muc-Off Honda was removed from the LCQ due to an accusation from the AMA (National sanctioning body of motocross/supercross) of switching bike frames from the heat races to the LCQ.
He did not, and for some insane reason, they gifted Oldenburg a free Main Event spot despite DNF’ing in the Last Chance Qualifier Race. Bobby Piazza, a privateer Yamaha rider who finished fifth in the LCQ probably should have gotten Lawrence’s vacant spot. Piazza was told by The AMA that he was not needed as an alternate for the 250 Main Event. For whatever reason, the AMA let Oldenberg race in the Main Event. I have no idea how or why The AMA ended up making that call, but it would not make a difference at this point.
250 Main Event
And finally, for the coup de grace, The AMA made the wild move of throwing out the checkered flag when they should have had the white flag out for race winner Colt Nichols of Star Yamaha. Despite this miscue, they ended up calling the race at this point, leaving the broadcast crew of Todd Harris and Ricky Carmichael, along with most viewers confused. All around, it was a bizarre turn of events on the 250 side of things. But without further ado, it’s time to get into the 450 field and breakdown some of the performances from last night.
94 Ken Roczen – Honda HRC (1st Place)
Roczen has now won back-to-back main events. His performance tonight was the best he’s looked since his 2017 form. Roczen just missed out on the holeshot in the main event to Justin Barcia. Shortly after, he proceeded to get by him and rode off into the sunset. Roczen built up a seven-second lead over Barcia in a little under six minutes. Roczen was consistently running the fastest laps on the track. His margin of victory at the end neared 12 seconds, and Roczen managed to lap up to the tenth-place rider.
Now five rounds in, Honda HRC’s top dog has a 13-point cushion over second-place Cooper Webb and a 14-point cushion over third-place Eli Tomac. Roczen looks unstoppable at his current pace. If he keeps this up for the next eight or so races, it will be hard for anyone else to walk away with the number 1 plate this season.
51 Justin Barcia – Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing (2nd Place)
Barcia had a rough night on Saturday as he finished 13th. Last night, he finished second, which must feel like a godsend. Despite losing out on the lead to Roczen after the holeshot, Barcia showed consistent speed from flag to flag. Unfortunately, Roczen was untouchable last night. Barcia also held off Eli Tomac for a wide majority of the second half of the main event.
Although Tomac looked to be faster, for the most part, Barcia was able to use his lead to his advantage. He took away lines where Tomac could have passed him. Barcia also capitalized on Tomac’s mistakes. For a night where it was a gut-check for Barcia long term in this championship, he answered the call. Along with that, Barcia pulled himself right back into title contention. He now sits in fourth place in points, 20 back of Roczen going into Saturday.
7 Aaron Plessinger – Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (5th Place)
Last night we got a glimpse into what I believe to be what most people were expecting when Aaron Plessinger made the jump to the 450 Class a couple of years ago. His fifth-place result ties his career-best finish (Atlanta 2019). Plessinger managed to have a good start that almost got him the holeshot in the main event. His results this year have not been as consistent as the riders ahead of him in the points. You can see in his riding that he is more comfortable on the bike since Star Yamaha has taken over the 450 Factory program.
Having a good level of familiarity with your team and your mechanics is paramount in supercross. This helps with knowing how you like your bike to be set up with the suspension, gearing, etc. I bring this up because several riders from the old Monster Energy Factory Yamaha 450 team had less than pleasant things to say about that program, most notably Cooper Webb. Webb found success and a 450 Supercross Championship immediately after leaving and going to Red Bull KTM. I would imagine that Plessinger is maybe in that field as well. For Plessinger, it’s nice to see him finally have some success in the premier class.
25 Marvin Musquin – Red Bull KTM (11th Place)
It has been a less than ideal start to 2021 for the veteran Frenchman. After a third-place result in the opening round in Houston, Musquin has failed to reach a top-five result in his last four main events. Along with that, he has failed to have a top-ten finish in the last three races. It seemed tonight would be different as Musquin was able to nab a holeshot in his heat race and coast to the win. In the main event, he got caught up in an incident off the start and was a non-factor once again. He even finished a lap down.
I do not want to say here that I am giving up on Musquin, but the ship is sinking and is taking heavy water. He now sits nearly 40 points back of Ken Roczen. Musquin needs to set his ship right and get at least a podium this Saturday. If he is unable to, any shot of him winning this title may as well be gone.
21 Jason Anderson – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (DNS)
Unfortunately for the 2018 champion, a dislocated finger would knock Anderson out for the evening during yesterday’s practice/qualifying sessions. The injury was the icing on the cake to a disastrous start to the season for him. Anderson has yet to record a single top five or even top ten finish in the four races he competed in. He even had to make the Main event via the LCQ last Saturday.
Anderson is a championship-caliber rider but has not shown off that fact this season. He is one of, if not the most likable personalities in the entire sport, making him an easy rider to root for. Anderson is now 60 points out of title contention. Hopefully, whenever he returns, he can still be a top rider in the sport.
That is going to do it for Indianapolis 2 Supercross coverage. The third and final round at Lucas Oil Stadium is this upcoming Saturday. After that, the series will shift to Orlando, Florida. This will be the first time the sport has been there since 2007.
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
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