San Diego - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
After Justin scored his first podium of the season last week, I wrote that I wouldn't be surprised to see him win if he got a start. And, well, he got a decent start and went on to win the Main Event! It'll be a little difficult for him to ride this new wave of momentum into Indianapolis considering the 250 West Coast guys have a pretty big break now, but I think he's just happy to get a win. And speaking of Indianapolis, it'll be interesting to see how Justin and the rest of the 250 West guys handle coming into the first East-West Shootout of the year after not racing for so long. Maybe Justin will see it as an opportunity to put himself back into contention for the title.
The Bad: Aaron Plessinger | 8th Place
Not the best start and a mid-race crash led to a disappointing finish for Aaron Plessinger, who continues to have an up-and-down season. He'll win one week and then struggle the next week and finish outside the top five. I wouldn't say that's the best formula to win a championship, but even with his struggles he's been more consistent than the other title contenders and still holds a four point lead over Joey Savatgy heading into the break. I'm curious to see how this championship will play out when the guys return to action in several weeks time.
The Ugly: Justin Hoeft | DNQ
Justin Hoeft has more than enough speed to qualify for 250 Main Events, and I think he also has the potential to get himself inside the top 10. But he has found himself on the ground quite a bit this season including two hard crashes in San Diego, which ended his night early. I'm sure we'll get more insight into his condition in the next episode of his team's reality show, but hopefully he didn't pick up any serious injuries and will be back behind the gate at Indianapolis.
The Good: Marvin Musquin | 2nd Place
Marvin's back! After struggling with his shoulder a bit and hanging around outside of the top three for a few weeks, he finally worked his way to a second-place finish in San Diego. It even looked like he was going to try and charge after Jason Anderson when he got into second, but Anderson was running a pretty good pace and Marvin didn't have enough time to close up enough to make it a battle. Still, this podium finish was a huge step in the right direction and a solid indicator that we'll see the two-five contending for wins again very soon, maybe as early as next week.
It was also interesting to hear Marvin and Jason's thoughts on the "racing incident" that occurred between the two of them at Oakland. Even just watching the press conference on a computer, you can see and almost feel the tension between the two of them. They may be training parters, and they may still be friends, but they're going through a bit of a rough patch right now. Will Angry Marvin make an appearance and toss Jason into the stands at some point in the future? I doubt it, but if the situation gets any worse it may lead to that.
The Good Bonus: Broc Tickle | 5th Place
I didn't see, or hear about, Broc Tickle all day, but he grabbed his first top five of the season on Saturday. Maybe now we'll see him start working his way towards the podium (which is where many of us expected him to finish semi-regularly this season)? I can only hope so, as his season up to San Diego was not what Broc, and presumably his team, were hoping for. His gear has looked on point week in and week out, though. So there's that.
The Bad: Justin Barcia | 8th Place
No, Justin didn't fade backwards this week because he finally landed a full-time contact with Monster Energy/Knich Yamaha. Goodness gracious, some people and their theories. Justin lost his rear brake at some point during the Main Event and could only do so much from there on out. Now, is eighth where he wants to be when he's trying to contend for the title? No, but stuff happens sometimes. I'll be looking to see him back in the battle for the podium next week.
The Ugly: Ken Roczen | 21st Place
Nope. Not good. No bueno. Nicht gut. This was my number one fear when Ken Roczen made it clear that he was going to race again. I couldn't imagine how devastating it would be for him to come all the way back and get hurt again. But here we are. Ken got block passed by Cooper Webb and tried to block pass him back (with maybe a little dash of extra aggression), and they both ended up going down. Ken's right arm got sucked into Cooper's swingarm and it did some heavy damage to his arm. It sounds like the only major injury he has as of right now is a fracture in his hand, but it sounds like he's slated for surgery later in the week. I doubt he'll be on the line for a few upcoming rounds, but assuming nothing is messed up too bad I fully expect for Ken to be back as soon as he can. Sigh, this is now Jason Anderson's championship to lose.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson