2019 Atlanta Supercross 450 Class Race Report
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb achieved his fifth victory of the season in front of 59,107 fans inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium this past weekend. The Atlanta race was held at the closest venue to Webb’s hometown of Newport, North Carolina, and would serve as a home race for the KTM rider. Webb grabbed the holeshot and led wire to wire in the 26-lap main event, and now holds a 13-point lead over his nearest competitor in the point standings.
“Atlanta was a great night for me,” Webb said. “The main event was awesome! I got a holeshot and led from start to finish. I had a lot of pressure from Marvin [Musquin] and also a lot of pressure from [Blake] Baggett, so it was cool to stay comfortable, stay loose, and get another win. The fifth win of the year is incredible and I’m just blessed to be in this position at the halfway point. It’s exciting.”
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS’s Blake Baggett ran in second and got close to Webb at times, but was unable to make a pass attempt for the lead and crossed the line in second place. Baggett explained that not only passing but closing in on riders was tough on the Atlanta track.
“I think it’s the track conditions and the sand,” Baggett said. “It’s tough when they put sand in a Supercross event. I’m definitely not for it. You can get a run up to him, but then you’re going through tear offs so fast [that] you needed to hang back. And then once you’ve got dirty goggles, it was tough to see. You have to pull a tear off [so] you’ve got clear vision and can make another run at it. But [I’m] a little disappointed that I came up that short to be feeling that good at the end of the night.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin made a mistake while running in second place at the halfway point in the race. The French rider’s front wheel went over the inside berm in the sand section, which allowed Baggett to pass him. Musquin would remain in third place for the remainder of the race to make it an all-KTM podium in Atlanta.
“It felt like it was going to be a better race for me,” Musquin said. “I had a great start [and] was running second, which was good, but I was eating a lot of sand in the sand section. It was definitely tough. I was pushing really hard. I was better than Cooper [Webb] in some areas of the track, so I was able to really put pressure on him in some areas. Then I would go through the sand and I had to go in the main line because it was the safest and the quickest line, but you kind of had to follow. I made a mistake and went off the main line, and then [Blake] Baggett got me. At [that] point, I just could not make the pass on Blake, even though I showed some really good speed. It’s only a third place tonight and I’m not very happy with the result.”
Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger rounded out the top five, respectively.
“Going into Atlanta, I was feeling a lot better than I have the past two weeks from the flu,” Roczen said. “We came into the race with a little different suspension setting, so I was excited to try that, but the track was one of the toughest. It was really soft and rutted, so it was risky trying something new in those conditions, when you don’t know 100 percent what the bike is going to do. In the heat race, I got an okay start but was fully pinched off in the first turn, so that messed me up a bit and I was only able to finish seventh. In the main event, I was on the far outside and grabbed a good start. I had to jump a different rhythm than most of the other guys in the first lane and got passed, so I went straight back to sixth. I moved into fifth, then got stuck behind [Aaron] Plessinger for a while. I spent way too much time trying to get around him, then when I did after he went down, I couldn’t really do anything from there, so I just rode a solid race and got fourth. I’m really looking forward to Daytona. It’s obviously the first time I’ve raced there in a long time, so it should be good.”
“[The] Atlanta Supercross was pretty awesome!” Plessinger said. “I was struggling in the first practices a little bit, but we made a little shock change and it was definitely for the better. I qualified 13th and went into the heat race with a pretty good gate pick. I came out pretty bad on the start, but I made it work and was able to come back to fifth. Then [in] the main event, I lined up in a pretty good spot and yanked a really good start. I was running fourth for a while and crashed right in the sand, then got up in fifth and stayed there. We made a lot of steps in the right direction. I’m really, really excited about tonight and looking forward to Daytona next weekend!”
“I was feeling great all day, especially with the fastest lap time in qualifying,” Tomac said. “I made a few errors in my heat race but still felt confident heading into the main. I just wasn’t able to get out in front off the gate and it really cost me. I’m glad we were able to make up some positions and wrap up the first half of the season healthy. I’m really looking forward to Daytona next weekend, it’s definitely one of my favorite tracks and a great one to kick off the second half of the series.”
“I think it was a pretty positive day,” Wilson said. “I qualified third and was riding really well in my heat race. In the main event, I kind of didn’t get a great start and just pushed all the way through the checkers. Unfortunately, I only ended up with an eighth and that’s not where I want to be, but I’m just going to keep pushing every week and aim for that podium because I know that’s where I can be. I’ve been through a lot, so I’m happy to just be at every race, but the big goal for me is the podium because that’s where I really want to be.”
“Another top-10 finish for my rookie year,” Savatgy said. “I'm still learning quite a bit and adjusting to the longer, full season in the 450SX class. Obviously, I would like to be up on that podium, but it's all about progress and I feel that's exactly what we continue to do each week. I’m looking forward to another round close to home and I’ve always loved racing Daytona, so I feel we have a real shot at a podium next weekend!”
“There are a lot of positives to take away from today,” Seely said. “The heat race went really well. I got off to a good start and was able to make some quick moves to get by everyone early. I really tried to focus on hitting my marks because the track was tricky and I felt that it was really going to come down to who made the least mistakes. I tried to take some mental notes for the main event. Lining up for the main event, I was having a hard time getting amped up to race. I don’t know if it was nerves because this weekend marked a year since my injury, but normally I can channel that and feed off it. Tonight though, I just felt flat in the beginning of the race. I didn’t get the best start after coming together with Dean [Wilson] and then my first two laps were just terrible. I made a ton of mistakes and was almost fighting myself. When I came around and saw P-19 on the pit board, I knew I had to make something happen and really set the top 10 as my goal. I started to put together solid laps and was matching times for a lot of the guys toward the front, so I just focused forward and kept making as many passes as I could. I just ran out of time and guys to pass when I got into 10th, but I was happy because normally I run out of steam toward the end and I think tonight I really maintained until the end. I need to just figure out the first part, and once I’m able to put all the pieces together, I know I’m going to have a really solid weekend.”
2019 450SX Class Championship Point Standings