Another double for the Red Bull KTM team with Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin winning the two races for their class at the prestigious Daytona round of Monster Energy Supercross.
The start of the 450 race was hectic, with two guys who are renowned fast starters up front, Andrew Short and Mike Alessi. Short was able to fend off the attacks of Alessi to lead the early stages. Points leader Dungey was in ominous form in second, just being patient and not going too hard too soon. Doing what he does best and waiting for the opportunity as the track settled down.
Another rider with a great start was the rapidly improving Blake Baggett, the sole Yoshimura Suzuki rider really starting to hit form in recent races and Cole Seeley was also up there, after a tough round last week, a good start setting up the HRC Honda rider nicely here too.
5 laps in and Dungey was starting to get a little keener to get past Short, but the veteran has proved a few times this year he does not fade as some others do up front. Also in Dungey’s mind was the closeness of Seeley and Baggett who were starting to show the KTM rider a wheel now and then. Actually forcing the red plate holder into a few mistakes. Supercross is a punishing sport, any mistake will be punished no matter how dominant you appear to be or how comfortable you are.
Then it happened, Seeley saw a chance, snuck past after Dungey tried a different line, the former champion pushed him back, and then they were side by side for a few turns before Seeley so unluckily fell off the side of his Honda and Dungey escaped back into second.
Then further drama for the points leader, after early fast starter Alessi was being attended to on the track after a fall, the riders have to slow to a walking pace as they pass a fallen rider, now third place man Weston Peick on the JGR Yamaha sniffs a chance to pass Dungey in the same place Seeley tried earlier and just fails in the attempt.
Halfway point and it was as if Ryan Dungey just said, “enough already!”. He motored past Short on the fastest part of the track, tail slid his way into the turn and was away. While further back a rider making progress was Chad Reed, the Discount Tire Kawasaki man taking advantage of peoples mistakes on the now rutted and tricky track to move into fourth behind Short and Peick. Then sadly another mistake for the former champ, a simple lowside crash trying to pass Short.
The race then settled into a rhythm, Dungey was Dieseling his way to another win, while behind him Peick was gradually being caught by Tomac, Baggett and a recovering Seeley. The Yamaha rider slowly sank to the back of that pack as Tomac wowed the crowd with a some superb riding, wheelying the whoop section with remarkable bike control and skill in second.
Up front though the streak kept going, Red Bull KTM when they win a 250 race they seem to win a 450 event too and the championship looks to be getting closer for Dungey with a 40 point lead now.
Would the outdoor type track make any difference to points leader Marvin Musquin’s reign at the top of the 250 East standings?
Not from the start at least as the French Red Bull KTM rider took a great lead at the tight first bend and gave himself the best possible position to dominate the race. His main rival for the title Jeremy Martin on the factory Yamaha again showed amazing pace early on but a poor start meant he had to fight past a bunch of slower riders before he could get in the sights of Musquin, and second placed Geico Honda rider and last years 250 east champion Justin Bogle. Martin has the pace, but as we have seen in the 450 class, starts win races far more than speed. And right now Musquin is getting better ones than the rest.
To give an example, after 4 laps Martin was already 9 seconds behind, despite being just as quick through the day. Into clear track and air Martin started to take big chunks of time out of Musquin and obviously Bogle. But the KTM man responded in fine style, and put some quick laps in to pull away again.
You simply cannot give a rider as good as Marvin Musquin that much of a lead and expect to pull it back and he is reaping the rewards with a big championship lead after this round.