2018 Anaheim I Supercross Results: Musquin Maintains Momentum

Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin keeps sticks with his winning ways by landing the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross main event win. Shane McElrath wins the 250SX West main.

As usual, a lot of questions were answered when the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross opened up the much-anticipated 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercrossin front of a sellout crowd of 45,050 fans at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, Saturday night, with Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin answering perhaps the most important one.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Marvin Musquin got off to a decent start and passed his way to the front of the field to win the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross 450cc main event. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

Musquin showed that his recent win streak in off-season special events such as the Monster Energy Cup and the Red Bull Straight Rhythm carry a lot of momentum as he worked himself into the lead late in the 20-minute plus one lap 450cc main event to score his first career Anaheim 450cc main event win, his first series-opening AMA Supercross win in the premier class, and his third career 450cc AMA Supercross win.

After qualifying fifth to start the night and finishing fourth in the second 450cc heat race, the 28-year-old Frenchman got off to a fifth-place start in the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross 450cc main event but took advantage of mistakes by some of his competition while laying down steady laps to take over the race lead on lap 10 and stay out of trouble en route to victory ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson and Monster Energy Knich Yamaha’s Justin Barcia, the latter landing his first AMA 450cc Supercross podium finish since 2014.

“To win tonight definitely was not expected,” Musquin said. “It was a difficult day, but I tried to stay calm, and I guess we made it happen.”

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
A visorless Ken Roczen proved to the Anaheim crowd that he is back on track after suffering a horrendous arm injury in 2017. Roczen rode to a strong fourth-place finish. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen also answered an important question regarding his fitness at the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross after coming back from a year layoff due to a nasty arm injury suffered at the 2017 Anaheim II Supercross. The German rider was sure of himself coming into the Anaheim opener, and he delivered on his promise to be “in there” by picking his way through the field after a 12th-place start to come home in fourth place. In the process, Roczen was able to recover from a serious mistake that nearly deposited him on the ground on lap six. Besides that, about the only trouble Roczen had was that he lost the magnetically attached visor on his Fox Racing helmet at some point in the main event.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac also answered a question he’s been asked at the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross press conference, though he arguably got the answer wrong. After missing out on the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross title by four points due to a mistake that resulted in crashes that undid his series points lead, the Coloradoan had said that he hoped to avoid those mistakes in 2018. Unfortunately for Tomac, a crash while comfortably leading the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross main event left him at the back of the field, nursing what appeared to be an injured shoulder. Instead of walking out of Angel Stadium with 26 points for the race win, he ended up with a single point after dropping out of the race and finishing in 22nd place–dead last.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Monster Mishap: Eli Tomac (3) pulled the holeshot over Justin Barcia (51) and appeared ready to set sail in the main event, but a crash forced Tomac out of the race, and he finished last. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

Tomac looked fantastic early as he grabbed the holeshot in the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross 450cc main event, with Barcia, who qualified third and handily won the second 450cc heat race, was hot on Tomac’s tail. Scheduled to ride the first three West rounds of the year in the 450cc class, GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin got off to a great start in third place, thought he would soon fade into the pack, untlimately finishing 11th. Autotrader Yoshimura Suzuki’s Weston Peick was the first man to pass Martin, and Peick would run third until Musquin, who also moved past Martin into fourth, caught and passed Peick for third place on lap six.

Tomac continued to charge well ahead of the field through the first seven laps, but on lap eight he got crossed up at the start of a rhythm section and bailed off his factory Kawasaki, slamming hard into the ground on his left shoulder and arm. Tomac qot up in fourth place and dto get back in the race, but the impact had caused his riding pants to unbuckle, and he was forced to stop again to re-cinch them, dropping to the rear of the field. After that, he began to ride progressively slower before pulling off the track on lap 10 and returning to the pits.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
After Tomac crashed, Barcia (51) assumed the lead. After Musquin passed Barcia, Jason Anderson (21) also caught Barcia and went on to finish second. Barcia was third. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

With Tomac’s crash, Barcia took over and led the next three laps before the smooth-riding Musquin got under him in a turn and took over the lead. By that time, Anderson, who ran in sixth place after the first lap, had caught up to Barcia. It took him a few laps, but Anderson eventually made his way past Barcia in the sweeper turn next to the starting gate to take over second place. Anderson continued to gain on Musquin but would come up short at the finish, netting second place just under 2.6 seconds behing him. Barcia was third, another 2 seconds back.

“It’s hard work, you know?” Musquin said. “We put in some good hours in the gym, on the bike, off the bike, bicycle, and a great off-season and, like you guys said, a lot of momentum. I won the Monster Energy Cup and a lot of other races like that, and it was great, but Anaheim is different. It’s the championship, and I had a difficult day. I was tight. I was not riding like I wanted to. Practice was tough. I was not quick enough. Those guys [competitors] were going faster than me. The track got slick. My starts were not so good. But in the main I was able to go through the pack and get into the top four pretty quick, and then top three.

Musquin was also quick to admit that, had Tomac not crashed, the Kawi man might have been hard to catch.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Jeremy Martin (6) battles with Cooper Webb (2). Webb would go on to finish 10th, Martin 11th. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

“Eli was riding really well,” Musquin said. “We have to say. He was leading with a couple seconds [advantage], so it would have been hard to catch him. But he made a mistake. The track was really tough. I almost crashed, probably the same as him, but I saved it. I was really consistent. Twenty minutes is a long moto, and I knew it was going to be tough physically. I just had to control. Jason [Anderson] was behind me, but I was controlling [the race].”

Roczen battled with teammate Cole Seely for part of the main event, and that may have slowed his progress some, but the real clincher that kept him from ultimately challenging for the podium was just that, as Roczen lost his footing in a rhythm section and nearly went down. After the save, he had to pass Seely again, and then Peick, to salvage fourth place. Peick held on for fifth, ahead of Seely, Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda’s Justin Brayton, Red Bull KTM’s Broc Tickle and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant. Monster Energy Knich Yamaha’s Cooper Webb completed the top 10.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Chad Reed made the main event and nursed his ankle injury as he rode his CR22 Husqvarna to a 15th-place finish. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

One other note: two-time AMA Supercross Champion and racing legend Chad Reed put his privateer CR22 Husqvarna FC 450 into the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross main event after finishing eighth in the first heat race. Still nursing an ankle injury incurred last summer, Reed rode casually to a 15th-place finish.

In the 250cc class, Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM’s Shane McElrath backed up his 2017 Anaheim I Supercross main event win in the 250 SX West class with another win in the 2018 Anaheim I Supercross. McElrath grabbed the holeshot at the start of the 15-minute plus 1-lap main event and led all 18 laps of the main event, pulling clear of the eventual runner up, Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger, and third place, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Shane McElrath backed up his 2017 Anaheim I 250cc West win with another win in 2018. McElrath led from start to finish. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

“This is a big year,” McElrath said. “The West Coast has got a lot of competition from a lot of teams, too. I’ve never really felt that much nerves.”

McElrath looked fast as he won his heat race, and he was out front when the 22-rider 250 SX West main event field rounded the first turn to start te main event. GEICO Honda’s Chrstian Craig, who won the first of the two 250cc heat races, ran second early after quickly passing McElrath’s teammate, Alex Martin, but Craig was quickly picked off by Plessinger and Cianciarulo. Out front and with a clear track in front of him, McElrath would put time on the field to win with slightly more than 2.5 seconds in hand over Plessinger.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Aaron Plessinger worked his way into second place but could not match McElrath’s pace. Plessinger finished second. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

“We’ve worked really hard this off-season,” McElrath said. “We really got everything out of it that we could. We learned from last year. It’s early in the season, but it was A1, and I had more nerves this year than I did last year. It just felt good to get out there and just put in laps. This track was really technical, and just demanding. It’s a simple layout, but it’s tight. It’s demnding. The whoops were breaking down. We’ve got a stacked class this year, so it felt good to just get good starts tonight and put in a good, solid race. These guys, they’re going to put up a fight all year, but we’ve done our homework, and we’re ready to battle ’til Vegas and into outdoors.”

Cianciarulo was third, 4.6 seconds behind McElrath. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy overcame an eighth-place start to pass his way up to fourth place after putting Craig away with six laps to go. Craig finished fifth.

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Adam Cianciarulo was a solid third place in the 250cc SX West main event. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series
2018 Anaheim I Supercross
Angel Stadium
Anaheim, California
Results: January 6, 2018 (Round 1 of 17)

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
(Left to right), runner-up Anderson, winner Musquin and third-place finisher Barcia enjoy the spoils of the podium. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

450 Main Event
1. Marvin Musquin-KTM
2. Jason Anderson-Hus
3. Justin Barcia-Yam
4. Ken Roczen-Hon
5. Weston Peick-Suz
6. Cole Seely-Hon
7. Justin Brayton-Hon
8. Broc Tickle-KTM
9. Josh Grant-Kaw
10. Cooper Webb-Yam
11. Jeremy Martin-Hon
12. Blake Baggett-KTM
13. Vince Friese-Hon
14. Tyler Bowers-Kaw
15. Chad Reed-Hus
16. Kyle Cunningham-Suz
17. Ben Lamay=Hon
18. Alex Ray-Yam
19. Matt Bisceglia-Suz
20. Dakota Tedder-KTM
21. Adam Enticknap-Hon
22. Eli Tomac-Kaw

2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series Points Standings (after 1 of 17 rounds)

1. Marvin Musquin-26/1 win
2. Jason Anderson-23
3. Justin Barcia-21
4. Ken Roczen-19
5. Weston Peick-18
6. Cole Seely-17
7. Justin Brayton-16
8. Broc Tickle-15
9. Joshua Grant-14
10. Cooper Webb-13
11. Jeremy Martin-12
12. Blake Baggett-11
13. Vince Friese-10
14. Tyler Bowers-9
15. Chad Reed-8
16. Kyle Cunningham-7
17. Ben Lamay-6
18. Alex Ray-5
19. Matt Bisceglia-4
20. Dakota Tedder-3
21. Adam Enticknap-2
22. Eli Tomac-1

2018 Anaheim I Supercross
McElrath (center), Plessinger (left) and Cianciarulo (right). PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

250 SX West Main Event
1. Shane McElrath-KTM
2. Aaron Plessinger-Yam
3. Adam Cianciarulo-Kaw
4. Joey Savatgy-Kaw
5. Christian Craig-Hon
6. Mitchell Oldenburg-Yam
7. Justin Hill-Suz
8. Chase Sexton-Hon
9. Justin Cooper-Yam
10. Kyle Chisholm-Yam
11. Bradley Taft-Yam
12. Dakota Alix-KTM
13. Hayden Mellross-Yam
14. Mitchell Harrison-Hus
15. Justin Hoeft-Yam
16. Justin Starling-Hus
17. Ryan Breece-Kaw
18. Killian Auberson-KTM
19. Jean Ramos-Yam
20. Brandan Leith-Kaw
21. Alex Martin-KTM
22. Phil Nicoletti-Suz

2018 Monster Energy AMA 250 SX West Supercross Series Points Standings (after 1 of 10 rounds)
1. Shane McElrath-26/1 win
2. Aaron Plessinger-23
3. Adam Cianciarulo-21
4. Joey Savatgy-19
5. Christian Craig-18
6. Mitchell Oldenburg-17
7. Justin Hill-16
8. Chase Sexton-15
9. Justin Cooper-14
10. Kyle Chisholm-13
11. Bradley Taft-12
12. Dakota Alix-11
13. Hayden Mellross-10
14. Mitchell Harrison-9
15. Justin Hoeft-8
16. Justin Starling-7
17. Ryan Breece-6
18. Killian Auberson-5
19. Jean Ramos-4
20. Brandan Leith-3
21. Alex Martin-2
22. Phil Nicoletti-1