Just like that, we’re more than halfway through the 2019 season as we head to RedBud for the seventh round of racing. We’ve seen some great racing in both classes and have had multiple different riders in each class battle it out in the front of the pack. So far, this season has been one to watch, as we’ve already seen that anything can happen any given weekend.
In the 250 class, Adam Cianciarulo has held on to his points lead and now leads the class by 23 points. Behind AC is Justin Cooper and Dylan Ferrandis, who are within just 14 points of each other. The gap back to the fourth-place rider Colt Nichols is about 50 points, making it a three-rider race for the championship.
Adam Cianciarulo has put together five moto wins and five overall wins to help him get out to his points lead. Justin Cooper has also been riding well, getting the first moto win in each of the first three rounds to keep it a tight battle with AC. However, Cooper had a down week at High Point and managed just a 9th place finish after going 6-9 on the day. Meanwhile Cianciarulo earned himself a second and a first place finish to stand atop the podium. Since then, Justin Cooper has finished in second place in three of last four motos – only one of these was second to Cianciarulo. Cooper has a somewhat sizeable gap to close, but he seems to have found his rhythm again and has shown he can beat out Cianciarulo. If he can keep chipping away at the points lead, we may see a close battle late in the season. Dylan Ferrandis has remained somewhat under the radar throughout the season, as he repeatedly has had poor starts and had to battle his way through the pack. Ferrandis just achieved his first moto win of the season two weeks ago in the Florida heat, and followed it up with another moto win at Southwick. If Ferrandis can figure out his starts, he can definitely stay competitive for the title.
In the 450 class, it likely comes as no surprise that defending-champion
Eli Tomac currently holds the red plate. The Kawasaki rider has a 26-point gap
back to the second-place rider, Marvin Musquin. Tomac has put his Kawasaki into
first place in five motos so far, but has only found himself with the overall
win in two races. Meanwhile, Musquin has rebounded from a series of poor races
in which he found himself in the dirt in the first turn on multiple occasions.
The Frenchman has won the last two overalls at Florida and Southwick, earning a
first place finish in one moto each weekend. While Tomac’s lead is more than
one race’s worth of points, it’s nothing to write home about yet, as Musquin
may be catching fire at the right time. Tomac hasn’t put himself in the best
position at times, starting around 10th place, but he has been able
to work his way forward in each occasion. We’ve only gotten to see these two
riders truly battle together a few times this season. Last week at Southwick,
Musquin grabbed the first moto holeshot and was able to immediately pull away
from the likes of Ken Roczen, Zach Osborne, and Tomac. In the second moto,
while riding in second, Tomac closed in on Musquin but Musquin was able to find
another gear and fend off the Kawasaki rider. If Musquin can eliminate his
first-turn mistakes and keep starting in the top three or so, we’re going to
have a great battle on our hands. Musquin knows full well what it’s like to
finish in second behind Tomac – he’s been doing it a considerable amount over
the past few years. Maybe this is the year that we see Musquin put his KTM on
Ken Roczen is sitting in third in the points standings, just two points behind Musquin. However, Roczen has had a roller coaster of a season so far. There have been motos where he grabs the holeshot and puts down lap times that are two to three seconds quicker than the riders behind him, allowing him to quickly gap the field. But there have also been races where he gets a good start, but gets passed my multiple riders and finishes somewhere from fifth to tenth for no clear reason. Whether it be mid-season fatigue, he’s not gelling with the bike settings, or he just hasn’t been gelling with the recent tracks, Roczen needs to find some consistency if he wants to have a shot at the championship.
This weekend will make for a riveting racing of weekend, as the Independence Day weekend race is always full of excitement!