The opening round of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Championship has come and gone. To no one’s surprise, Honda HRC rider Ken Roczen lived up to the hype, and took home the win in a dominating fashion. Also to no one’s surprise, reigning champ Ryan Dungey grabbed second place.
There were a couple surprises in the night though, such as a huge fade from 2nd back to 5th by Eli Tomac. Tomac looked strong at the beginning of the night, moving his way up through the pack to get right behind Roczen, but extreme arm pump would cause him to lose his initial speed.
Some other things to note: Trey Canard lined up, but pulled out of the race before the gate even dropped apparently due to a sore shoulder from a practice crash. Chad Reed DNFed while running in the top 10 due to a bike problem after colliding with (wait for it…) Weston Peick. And Mike Alessi had a hard crash over the first triple and appeared to be knocked out; we later found out that he’s alright. Was it just me, or did it look like Roczen jumped that triple on the red cross flag?
In the 250 class, Shane McElrath grabbed his first ever career win. Not only that, but his race was picture perfect, holeshotting and leading the entire race comfortably. Aaron Plessinger was slowly catching up in the end, but McElrath was just too solid for Plessinger to capitalize on anything.
The highly touted rookie Austin Forkner made his pro SX debut tonight, and was on his way to what could have been a top five finish before crashing in the whoops. However, he rebound well and had a few really fast laps to make his way back up to 8th.
Here are the results:
My Opinion: Definitely not as exciting as last year’s A1. Honestly both races were pretty boring. It’s always nice to see an underdog (yes, McElrath is most definitely an underdog; I don’t think anyone expected him to be that fast) win, but the race itself didn’t have many battles. At least Plessinger was somewhat close, which keeps things interesting if McElrath were to make a mistake.
In contrast, no one was even close to Roczen in the 450 class; very boring to watch. If there’s more races like that this year, fans will quickly lose interest. Anyone could have predicted the top five. The only thing interesting was the extremely bad fade by Tomac. Entering the race, Tomac claimed himself that he was feeling much better than last year and was expecting to be in the hunt for wins this year; embarrassingly, he wasn’t even close. He had a good heat race, but let’s not forget that he won his heat race last year at A1 in a similar fashion.
— Moto Now (@MotoNowBlog) January 8, 2017
In regards to Roczen’s win, WOW. What a statement. I know… it’s a long series, but Roczen has never looked that fast before. Seriously, a 10+ second lead in the opening round over Dungey is insane. However, let’s keep in mind that Roczen had a great start to the 2015 season as well… and we all know what happened then. His one down-fall in the past has been his consistency. Dungey’s in this championship for the long haul; we have to see if Roczen is prepared for that as well, which only time will tell.
Stay tuned later in the week for some race statistics and further opinions on tonight’s race, as well as our expectations heading into round 2 in San Diego.
Photo from Supercross LIVE.