Two rounds down in the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross series, fifteen to go. Kenny Roczen and Shane McElrath are the big winners through the two rounds and I feel like we’ve learned a few things about the series through the early races, but we still have a lot of questions.
Can the rest of the 450 field figure things out? I know Anaheim 1 didn’t see the runaway by the top two that San Diego did, but it has been very clear that #94 and #1 are the two best riders. I’d love to see what Jason Anderson can do with a start or if Eli Tomac can figure things out ASAP but, right now, all this parity talk for the series has gone out the window. It looks, LOOKS (key word), like it’s going to be two dudes doing all the winning.
Questions for the 250SX class are less; I think, after two races, this title looks like it’s between McElrath, Aaron Plessinger and Justin Hill. Martin Davalos probably can’t hold it together for a title run, but can win races, Austin Forkner is proving to be, well, a rookie and Jeremy Martin’s got the most passing points but the worst finishes.
The MX Vice boys talked to Malcolm Stewart the other day, as he gets ready to make his season debut on the Ride365.com team. Mookie will be on the #47 Suzuki RM-Z450 and he’s certainly a wildcard in terms of results. I can see Malcolm finishing anywhere from eighth or ninth to a way back if his bike and/or fitness isn’t ready to go. He’s a talented guy for sure.
I’m going to ask him or anyone around him why it took two races to get everything together – that was a bit strange for sure. The hype is high at Anaheim 1, the media is there, people get their information from that race and it’s preferable to, you know, show up there. So that’s weird but it is what it is and I’m excited to see what he can do.
Through two races, I thought it would be helpful for you readers to get some translation of some post-race comments I’ve gotten through the first two rounds.
Mitch Payton on Austin Forkner’s start in San Diego: “He kind of got banged around by McElrath and Plessinger. I think he’ll learn from that. I hope he’s more aggressive to those guys the way they were to him."
Translation: “Those guys think they can push teeny-tiny Forkner around, well I hope he parks them both ASAP."
Mitch Payton on the new timed mains: “I don’t want to watch the hour meter or whatever and just watch that. I still think that’s not perfect, but it is new and maybe they think this is better. They said they just want to try it."
Translation: “I’m giving these guys a chance on these timed mains, but I don’t like ‘em one bit."
Pro Circuit’s Justin Hill on the triple in San Diego that knocked some riders out of the day: “There wasn’t a problem. You just had to hit it hard – that was just the deal."
Translation: “Uhhh yeah, I don’t know what the problem is. That sh*t’s easy."
Ken Roczen on being happy his fitness was on point after the win in San Diego: “I think I’m all right with what I’m doing."
Translation: “Yeah, screw Aldon Baker, let me go and eat a pizza."
TLD KTM’s Shane McElrath on his pre-season expectations being low: “The last month the media has been out at the track and everybody’s been talking. It’s easy to kind of get caught up in that but, at the same time, we’ve been working for four months and we’ve had two or three little breaks, so we’ve definitely put in our work."
Translation: “The media has been talking about everyone but me so they can all suck it."
JGR Suzuki’s Phil Nicoletti on him and Scott Champion getting into it after the heat race in Anaheim: “It is what it is. It’s a heat race. I’m going for it. I caught you from dead last, passed you. I qualified, you didn’t. End of story. I’m not going to argue about it."
Translation: “I beat you, I’m a better rider so shut up."
Weston Peick on the difference between the Yamaha and the Suzuki machine: “The Suzuki’s are definitely getting there faster-wise, but I think the Yamaha has a freaking killer bottom-end where you can seat bounce and pretty much do anything you want. That also hurts you at the same time. Having too much power wears you out."
Translation: “The Yamaha’s got a better motor, but if I keep talking myself into it I’ll like the Suzuki better."
Weston Peick on his battle with Vince Friese at Anaheim: “I could have ended his career. Actually, I should have."
Translation: “I could have ended his career. Actually, I should have."
Ken Roczen on starting the season two for two: “The biggest thing is that I have no doubt in my mind, but at the same time I’m staying really calm, trusting my capabilities, what I’ve done in the last few months and especially the trust that I have in the team and the people around me."
Translation: “I’m a bad dude and I know it. Good luck to the rest of you suckers."
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Sean Ogden