The tables have turned in the 450 class. James Stewart’s opening
round domination has now turned into the Ryan Dungey show. Since Stewart has
taken zero points in three of the last four motos, Ryan Dungey has taken full control
of the championship and now fans if we’re in for a repeat of the 2010 season.
If you don’t remember 2010, most of Dungey’s toughest competition
- Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart, Chad Reed - had pulled out with injury or
illness in 2010 and he would end the season with an impressive 19 moto wins out
of 24. Unless the current field of 450 riders can step up their speed, it looks
like we might be pushing repeat on the 2010 season. If that happens, then we’ll
just have to do what we did back then; shift our focus to the 250 class.
The 250 class hasn’t disappointed in quite some time. Whether it
was the battles of Villopoto and Townley back in 2007, or the great comeback
from Trey Canard in 2010, the 250 class has always showcased great racing. This
weekend, the 250 motos were the ones to watch. Starting with Moto 1, it looked
as if the Geico Honda team was going to capture their first podium sweep in
years, but Blake Baggett had other plans. Baggett, who started outside the
top-10, managed to make his way up to third, severing the Geico Honda hopes.
The team still took the moto win with Justin Barcia, but he was nearly caught
by both second-place finisher Eli Tomac and Baggett., making for an exciting
The first moto had its share of position changing and bar
banging, but it was the second moto that had the crowd sticking around for the
final race of the day. Ken Roczen grabbed the early lead and pulled a decent
gap on the pack. Behind him, Baggett was able to score his best start since
Hangtown in third, but it wasn’t until halfway through the race that he turned
on the speed to make the pass by Barcia. Unfortunately, less than a lap after
moving into second, Baggett went down, eventually settling for fifth. The real
show was held in the final four laps when teammates Barcia and Tomac battled
for second and third. While their battle was exciting to watch, the two were
pulling within a few second of Roczen. Once Tomac got by Barcia, he was able to
pressure Roczen in the final lap and take the win and his second overall of the
season. It was a blow to Roczen, who had led every lap to the white flag.
Although he was obviously disappointed, the German rider was able to joke about
the missed opportunity to earn his first moto win on twitter (saying he was
killing it until saw five bucks on the ground).
With eight motos now in the books, the 450 class points are
spreading out, while the 250 points are tightening up. Dungey now has a
ridiculous 42-point lead over consist Mike Alessi, with Jake Weimer just three
more points back of Alessi. In the 250 class, Baggett entered Round 4 with a 16
point advantage, and now he takes only a seven point lead into Budds Creek this
weekend over Barcia. This weekend will be interesting to see if anyone can
touch Dungey, and if Baggett can hold on to his red number plate.