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Sign of the (Lap) Times: Southwick

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Despite the fact that Eli Tomac won five consecutive overalls entering round six at Southwick, and despite the fact that he had built a 32-point lead, the racing in the 450 Class the last few rounds has been excellent. Southwick was no exception, as Tomac and Marvin Musquin dueled again in the first moto. Tomac built a huge lead in the second moto, but a pair of mistakes cost him the overall, which went to Musquin for the first time in 2018.

The 250 Class continues to be wild, with a handful of riders capable of winning a moto or overall. Dylan Ferrandis used a late run in between Alex Martin and Austin Forkner to clinch the second moto win and his first career overall. Martin and teammate Shane McElrath rounded out the podium.

Let’s dive into the lap data to figure out how these races were won and lost with this week’s Sign of the (Lap) Times. First, our traditional lap time charts. 

450 MOTO 1

LAP RANK FINISH BEST LAP ON LAP AVG LAP TIME RIDER
1 1st 2:14.772 7 2:16.628 Eli Tomac
2 2nd 2:15.350 7 2:18.778 Marvin Musquin
3 4th 2:16.010 3 2:22.378 Ken Roczen
4 3rd 2:16.021 2 2:20.028 Justin Barcia
5 5th 2:17.490 6 2:20.415 Blake Baggett
6 6th 2:19.063 3 2:23.860 Benny Bloss
7 11th 2:19.071 2 2:25.945 Chris Canning
8 7th 2:21.772 7 2:24.546 Lorenzo Locurcio
9 8th 2:22.251 2 2:25.553 Cooper Webb
10 18th 2:22.793 2 2:30.184 Justin Bogle
LAP RANK FINISH BEST LAP ON LAP AVG LAP TIME RIDER
1 2nd 2:12.736 2 2:21.798 Eli Tomac
2 1st 2:16.338 3 2:20.893 Marvin Musquin
3 4th 2:18.322 2 2:25.387 Ken Roczen
4 3rd 2:18.836 3 2:22.692 Justin Barcia
5 5th 2:19.025 3 2:23.738 Blake Baggett
6 6th 2:20.193 3 2:26.308 Benny Bloss
7 20th 2:20.845 2 2:32.676 Justin Bogle
8 7th 2:22.594 3 2:27.606 Lorenzo Locurcio
9 8th 2:22.810 2 2:29.497 Phil Nicoletti
10 11th 2:23.748 4 2:29.326 Weston Peick
LAP RANK FINISH BEST LAP ON LAP AVG LAP TIME RIDER
1 4th 2:14.978 6 2:18.659 Dylan Ferrandis
2 2nd 2:14.987 5 2:17.754 Alex Martin
3 3rd 2:15.112 5 2:18.185 Aaron Plessinger
4 6th 2:15.489 2 2:19.908 Shane McElrath
5 1st 2:15.738 4 2:17.748 Austin Forkner
6 5th 2:15.754 4 2:19.264 Chase Sexton
7 17th 2:16.166 4 2:23.514 Justin Cooper
8 32nd 2:16.973 6 2:19.213 Joey Savatgy
9 7th 2:17.687 3 2:20.312 RJ Hampshire
10 20th 2:18.439 2 2:27.392 Jimmy Decotis
LAP RANK FINISH BEST LAP ON LAP AVG LAP TIME RIDER
1 7th 2:16.796 4 2:21.600 Aaron Plessinger
2 1st 2:16.827 5 2:19.448 Dylan Ferrandis
3 20th 2:17.857 2 2:20.511 Austin Forkner
4 2nd 2:18.069 4 2:20.737 Alex Martin
5 12th 2:18.086 6 2:21.823 Jordon Smith
6 2nd 2:18.286 2 2:19.981 Shane McElrath
7 5th 2:18.474 4 2:21.556 Joey Savatgy
8 8th 2:18.962 4 2:23.443 Colt Nichols
9 3rd 2:18.953 2 2:20.532 RJ Hampshire
10 14th 2:19.303 3 2:24.923 Chase Sexton

As we said above, the first 450 moto was bonkers. It had everything you’d want to see in a matchup between the titans of the class. Tomac would attack and Musquin would fight him off. Tomac would regroup, go at Musquin again, and the Frenchman would still fight it off. Eventually Tomac made the pass with two laps left and Musquin crashed trying to retake the lead.

How did their lap times compare down the stretch? Let’s look:

Lap Eli Tomac Marvin Musquin
10 2:17.755 2:17.809
11 2:18.769 2:17.500
12 2:16.751 2:17.725
13 2:18.093 2:17.625
14 2:16.913 2:17.451
15 2:16.262 2:17.590
16 2:15.387 2:42.080

Forkner vs. Martin vs. Plessinger

As good as Tomac vs. Musquin was, the first 250 moto had a three-rider race to the finish between Austin Forkner, Alex Martin, and Aaron Plessinger. A couple late mistakes would cost Plessinger down the stretch and Forkner stood tall against a late push by Martin.

Let’s take a look at their times:

Lap Austin Forkner Alex Martin Aaron Plessinger
11 2:18.237 2:17.300 2:17.193
12 2:18.907 2:18.439 2:16.669
13 2:17.933 2:18.246 2:18.887
14 2:19.035 2:18.773 2:18.450
15 2:18.883 2:18.703 2:19.225
16 2:18.749 2:18.980 2:24.779

Plessinger put down an insane 2:16.669 on lap 12. It was more than two seconds faster than Forkner and just under two seconds faster than Martin. It allowed him to get into contention, but mistakes on the final two laps would cost him the win. 

Also, every time Martin and Plessinger would gain time on Forkner, he’d respond with a good lap—especially on lap 13, when he dropped down to a 2:17.933.

Martin vs. Forkner vs. Ferrandis

We all know about the controversial ending to the second 250 moto by now, but we have yet to look at the lap times down the stretch. 

In the three laps before Martin tried to make his pass on Forkner, both he and Ferrandis were gaining significant time on the leader. In fact, on the lap prior to the pass attempt, Ferrandis gained nearly two full seconds on Martin and three full seconds on Forkner. Even if the crash had not happened, it’s clear Ferrandis would have been a factor late in the race anyway. He was coming!

Check out their times leading up to the crash:

Lap Alex Martin Austin Forkner Dylan Ferrandis
7 2:20.768 2:19.806 2:19.700
8 2:21.047 2:19.496 2:22.252
9 2:18.262 2:20.515 2:18.300
10 2:19.596 2:21.231 2:19.291
11 2:20.424 2:21.274 2:18.943
12 2:30.153 4:20.438 2:21.067