Matthes Report: Glen Helen

Glen Helen, contracts and more.

Glen Helen, contracts and more.

Two rounds down here in America and ten to go in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series. We lost Ryan Dungey to retirement and some unexpected issues for front-runners like Eli Tomac, Joey Savatgy and Jeremy Martin have left both classes with a real sense of parity. That’s not something we’re used to seeing, especially in the 450MX class. Here are some news and notes or observations, if you will, from the first two rounds.

– I know some “experts" out there in the Twitter world are coming down on the Monster Energy Kawasaki crew for taking their time when it came to Eli Tomac’s front brake master cylinder issue in moto two this past weekend, but I’ve been in those situations and you want to get it “right" first and worry about speed later. Unlike Dallas though, where the brake seemed to malfunction, this was a rock to the part that damaged the piston inside. Tomac prefers a different brand of master cylinder than what the Kawasaki comes stock with and I think it’s a bit vulnerable to rock damage – makes me wonder if there might be something different on the front of the Kawasaki this weekend.

Eli Tomac is still the favourite for the 450MX title (Monster Energy Media)

– I’m not worried about Tomac in this thing. He’ll be fine BUT I’m probably more impressed with Marvin Musquin through the first four motos than I thought I would be. I know he’s a two-time MX2 world champion, but I just think of Marv as a better indoor rider than outdoor. Looking at the stats through the first two rounds and it’s clear where he’s better than his other main competitors.

Average Starting Position

Marvin Musquin

2.8

Eli Tomac

14.8

Blake Baggett

10.0

Jason Anderson

8.7

The next two riders closest to Musquin in starting position are the injured Christian Craig and Kawasaki’s Josh Grant. Neither rider I would consider championship threats, so you can see what Marv’s doing to start the year or, more appropriately, what his competition are NOT doing.

–  Dean Wilson has started the year off with a couple of fourth overalls and that’s pretty significant because a) most people didn’t think Dean would be this good and b) he hasn’t raced much 450MX the last two years. In fact, in his two years at Red Bull KTM Wilson competed in 14 out of a possible 58 races due to two ACL tears.

Dean Wilson has already secured a ride for next year (Husqvarna Motorcycles)

In talking to Wilson after the race, he’s happy but in fact he feels like there’s more there for him.

It was a good day but I’m actually a little bit disappointed – to be honest – just because I think that I should have been on the podium. My speed’s there and it’s just I got a terrible start. I had to come through the pack," Wilson told me after the race.

The opportunity was there for me and it didn’t happen, so I’m a little bit disappointed in that but it is what it is. Another fourth overall and I’m healthy, and another race done. So it was good, but a podium would have been nice. But I said top tens from the beginning."

Real cool story brewing here for the #15 and the Rockstar Husqvarna team have rewarded him with a new deal for 2018 with an option for 2019. Remember, the first four supercrosses Wilson was out of a van in the back of the pits with his dad wrenching so good for him for these results and locking up a factory bike deal.

– In the 250MX class it looks like Zach Osborne is the man to beat in that class with a 21-point lead already after two races. With Osborne leading 250s and Musquin leading 450s, ALL HAIL MXGP!

But, seriously, as I wrote in my opening paragraph, the 250MX riders have given Osborne this lead by breaking their bikes! Austin Forkner has had two bike issues in four motos, Jeremy Martin had one and Joey Savatgy had one as well. Adam Cianciarulo has podiums in two motos on the year and sits second in the points. Will the first consistent rider not named Zach Osborne please step up?

Chad Reed to JGR Suzuki has been a hot rumour (Monster Energy Media)

– It’s never too early for silly season talk if you go by my emails and Twitter feed. Fans of the sport really seem to love that so, with that in mind, let’s do a SUPER EARLY SILLY SEASON prediction list, yeah?

*These are all speculation and subject to change at any moment, okay?

Justin Barcia to Red Bull KTM

Justin Brayton to fill in at Honda HRC for Ken Roczen

Chad Reed to JGR Suzuki

Mitchell Oldenburg to Rockstar Husqvarna

Joey Savatgy to RCH Suzuki

Josh Grant stays at Monster Kawasaki

Adam Cianciarulo stays at Monster Kawasaki

Jeremy Martin stays down in 250SX for 2018, goes 450MX though

JGR Suzuki keeps Weston Peick and Phil Nicoletti

Broc Tickle stays with RCH Suzuki

Aaron Plessinger to Factory Yamaha

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Husqvarna Motorcycles

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