Atlanta, Georgia hosted the ninth round of the AMA Supercross Championships over the weekend and it was an all KTM podium in the 450 class with championship leader Cooper Webb taking the win over Blake Baggett and Marvin Musquin.
Adam Cianciarulo who won the first of the 250 East/West Shootouts ahead of Dylan Ferrandis and Austin Forkner.
The KTM trio of Webb, Musquin and Baggett led the pack out of the first corner with Aaron Plessinger and Ken Roczen in tow while Chad Reed and Eli Tomac sat in eighth and 11th respectively.
As Tomac slowly worked his way up the field it was Webb, Musquin and Baggett no more than a few bike lengths from each other until lap 14 when Musquin made a small mistake in the tricky sand section and lost a spot to Baggett who then reeled in Webb and started making life tough for the championship leader.
Meanwhile, back in the pack, Plessinger was holding off Roczen for fourth as Tomac had brushed aside Reed, Tyler Bowers, Dean Wilson and Justin Brayton to move into sixth place. On the lap 17 Plessinger went down in the sand and Roczen made his way by for fourth, well back from the three KTM riders.
When the chequered flag dropped Webb won his fifth 450 main event of the 2019 season by just 1.1 seconds over Baggett who had a similar gap back to Musquin. We had to wait another 18-seconds before we got to see Roczen cross the line ahead of Plessinger, Tomac, Brayton, Wilson, Joey Savatgy and Cole Seely.
Unfortunately, Chad Reed stalled his Suzuki late in the race to drop back to a disappointing 13th place but the Aussie still sits seventh in the championship, two spots ahead of Justin Barcia who was forced to sit out the event due to suffering a concussion after crashing during the week.
Cooper Webb – P1
“Yeh, it was tough, the track was changing a lot but I knew where I was good but there were also places where Marv would catch me, I knew where he was catching me but I didn’t know what line he was using, it is hard when you are leading so I just hit my marks and they weren’t working as good as I would have liked so I started changing things up, made a few mistakes in front of Blake who I knew would be good through the whoops but towards the end I found some lines so another win, that was sweet.”
Blake Baggett – P2
“It was really hard to pass, you could make a run on someone but to get by was another thing, Marv and Cooper were making runs at each other, I could see it going on in front of me then I got into second and could do the same but when they have that horseshoe sand section over the tunnel I will hands down voice my opinion that I am not for it, it is supercross with steep obstacles and no sand.”
“It felt like it was going to be a better race for me – I had a great start so I 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 in some areas of the track, so I was able to really put pressure on him in some areas but 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 Baggett got me. At this 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.”
Ken Roczen – P4
“Going into Atlanta, I was feeling a lot better than I have the past two weeks from the flu. 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% 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 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.”
Aaron Plessinger – P5
“Atlanta supercross was pretty awesome! 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 thirteenth 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 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!”
Eli Tomac – P6
“I was feeling great all day, especially with the fastest lap time in qualifying. 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.”
Dean Wilson – P8
“I think it was a pretty positive day, 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.”
Joey Savatgy – P9
“Another top-10 finish for my rookie year. 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!”
450SX Main Event Results
450SX Points after 9 of 17 Rounds
Cooper Webb – 199
Ken Roczen – 186
Marvin Musquin – 182
Eli Tomac – 177
Blake Baggett – 142
Dean Wilson – 137
Chad Reed – 124
Aaron Plessinger – 122
Justin Barcia 120
Justin Brayton – 113
250 East-West Shootout Report
The first of the East West Shootouts in Atlanta was highly anticipated with all of the talk about the thus far undefeated Austin Forkner and the not so consistent Adam Cianciarulo. Both are leading their respective championships, and going head-to-head it was Forkner who quickly shot into the lead at the start of the 15-minute main event while Cianciarulo was just outside the top five.
Chase Sexton sat in second place for seven laps until Cianciarulo sliced up the inside in the right hand turn after the whoops and the troubles didn’t end there for Sexton with Dylan Ferrandis clocking the fastest time of the race as he inched closer to the Honda pilot.
Forkner was riding smooth and fast but by lap 10 Cianciarulo had chopped the margin to just one second. A few seconds further back Ferrandis got around Sexton for third with Justin Cooper, Shane McElrath and Colt Nichols all moving into the top seven after poor starts.
On lap 11 Cianciarulo made the pass on Forkner, with Ferrandis surprisingly moving around Forkner with four minutes to go but there was no catching Cianciarulo. The East Coast championship leader took the win by four second over Ferrandis, who dropped Forkner by seven seconds while Sexton, Cooper, McElrath, Nichols, Martin Davalos, Michael Mosiman and Brandon Hartraft rounded out the top ten.
Adam Cianciarulo – P1
“I learned a lot throughout the day, kept a positive attitude to not let the bad moments of the day get to me. This is the best Pro Circuit bike I’ve ridden and I think it shows with both Austin and I leading laps. My team never stops pushing for the best and I’m very grateful to give them another win. It’s crazy because I never even had two wins in a row and now I have three. It feels great.”
Dylan Ferrandis – P2
“Last year I left here with a broken arm, a busted jaw and broken teeth so it is good to be on the podium tonight, we showed that the West Coast series is strong, AC was fastest tonight but all up I am happy.”
Austin Forkner – P3
“I tried to latch on the Adam after he passed me but they were just a little quicker than me, particularly in the whoops, I crashed twice there in practice and didn’t want a repeat of that so I told myself that I was just going to jump through them, then bam, Dylan got me but I had a good gap (to the next rider) so I figured that this is still a win for the East Coast as far as I am concerned and after the day that I have had I am happy to salvage a third.”
Justin Cooper – P5
“The bike was awesome all day. We didn’t play around with the settings much, I felt pretty comfortable all day with the bike. The track conditions were deteriorating every lap out there so it was pretty tough to hit your marks every lap, but all in all I’m very happy with both of my starts tonight, I just didn’t get aggressive enough through the first turn. I’m still making little steps forward each weekend and am happy with the progress. It was another solid night with positives to take away. It’s time to turn up the heat because we are hungry for more!”
Colt Nichols – P7
“I just got a bad start on a night when I didn’t need to get a bad start. The bike was great. I didn’t really make any changes to it all night, but the track conditions were really tough. It was very, very technical and hard to do the same thing lap after lap. It made it really critical to not make any mistakes, and I didn’t do that very well. So I’m a little upset looking back on the night, but it’s all good. I still salvaged some decent points. Now it’s just get ready for Seattle.”
Martin Davalos – P8
“It felt really good to be back in Atlanta, especially since some of my best finishes have been earned here. The bike felt good all night and I felt that my speed was there but with the shootout format and all of the riders in the mix made it a little more difficult. There is a lot of great talent out here so I’m proud of a top-10 position, but I’m always looking to improve. We’ll get back to work and be ready for Daytona.”
250SX East/West Shootout Results
250 East Coast Report
For the current top three riders in the East Coast series the shootout did them no harm, with Forkner’s third place earning him a handy 18-point margin back to Cooper who in turn has a two-point buffer back to Sexton.
The big losers on the night were championship contenders Jordan Smith and Alex Martin who came home 18th and 14th respectively to drop them more than a whole round points-wise back from the championship leader.
250 East Coast Points after 4 of 9 Rounds
Austin Forkner – 99
Justin Cooper – 81
Chase Sexton – 79
Jordon Smith – 70
Alex Martin – 60
Martin Davalos – 58
Brandon Hartranft – 54
Kyle Cunningham – 51
Mitchell Oldenburg – 50
Kyle Peters – 46
West Coast Report
The shootout couldn’t have gone better for Cianciarulo who now holds a 15-point lead over Ferrandis who moved into second in the championship by two points over McElrath.
McElrath in turn has a three-point lead over Nichols but the big loser was RJ Hampshire who ended the shootout in 12th which has dropped the Honda rider to 54 points behind Cianciarulo.
Other West Coast riders who had sub-par finishes at the shootout were Chris Blose (13), Cameron Mcadoo (16) and Garrett Marchbanks (20) while Jimmy Decotis didn’t even make it to the main event after finishing ninth in the LCQ.
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