PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

MXGP_14_B_2015_MX2_1155The sand can be a friend, as in the case of Jordi Tixier (1), who powered through this Lommel berm. Or, for Valentin Guillod (92), the sand can be a foe. Oddly, this Massimo Zanzani photo doesn’t tell the whole story. Guillod is within striking distance of the 250 World Championship, despite this gaffe in the gritty stuff; meanwhile, Tixier, will need a stroke of good fortune in order to retain the number one plate.

MXA VIDEO: FIRST RIDE ON THE 2016 YAMAHA YZ250F

JEREMY MARTIN VS. MARVIN MUSQUIN

_1041287In 2014, Yamalube Star Racing’s Jeremy Martin demolished the 250 class en route to his first National title. He was so good, in fact, that he clinched the title one round early and won the title by 79 points. Martin started last season by winning the opening five motos of the series. He would go on to win a total of ten motos and six overalls. This season, Martin has nine moto wins and five overalls with one round remaining, and he’s on target to score around the same amount of total points throughout the series. However, Jeremy only leads the standings by two over Marvin Musquin. Martin has been just as good as last year, but obviously Marvin Musquin is a new man in ’15.

Looking back, Musquin finished fourth overall in the 2014 AMA 250 Nationals. He won three motos and two overalls, all of which didn’t come until two-thirds of the way through the series. This year, Marvin has ten moto wins and three overall victories. What can be attributed to his boost in performance? Is it the all-new KTM 250SXF? Perhaps being on Aldon Baker’s program? Maybe the fact that he’s healthy? Confidence coming off a Supercross title? Regardless, Musquin knows that it’s put-up or shut-up time, because Indiana will mark the last time he races a 250 National. Next year “Movin’” Marv’ is moving on up to the 450 class. Will he have a storybook ending to a credible 250 career?

Years from now people will probably dredge up the past, as folks are wont to do, and discuss the turning point in the 2015 AMA 250 National Championship. The record books haven’t been written yet on this back-and-forth exchange between Jeremy Martin and Marvin Musquin. Still, it’s easy to see where things might have gone wrong–or better–for these two riders who, from this point forward, will forever intertwined.  This is what people will be talking about ten years down the road.

JEREMY MARTIN’S HITS & MISSES

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* When Martin was on, he was full steam ahead. Jeremy had double-moto sweeps at Lakewood and Red Bud.

* Martin gave up 19 points to Musquin at Glen Helen alone. His YZ250F wouldn’t start in the first moto and he missed the gate drop, while in the second moto he was collected up in a second-turn crash.

* Jeremy finished on the podium in 15 out of 22 motos.

* He couldn’t get going at High Point, gave away valuable points in the rain during the second moto at Budds Creek, had a terrible start in the first moto at Washougal, and was haunted by another bad start in the second moto at Unadilla.

MARVIN MUSQUIN’S HITS & MISSES

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* Forget ten years from now, because things would have already been drastically different had Musquin not crashed hard while in second place during the first moto at Lakewood. In that moto he scored a measly seven points, while Martin powered away with the win and 25 points.

* Aside from Musquin’s first moto hiccup at Lakewood, he was more consistent than Jeremy Martin over the course of 11 Nationals. The lowest he scored was eighth (moto one at Millville), while Martin finished ninth in the first moto at Unadilla.

* Marvin finished on the podium 15 out of 22 motos (the same number as Martin).

* Musquin wishes he had a re-do in the first moto at Millville, where he was leading early on and crashed.

A LOOK BACK AT THE POINTS SWING

_1041713The Hangtown opener was a good indication that the title would be a Musquin-versus-Martin showdown, as both riders split moto wins and left northern California tied on points. Below is a breakdown of how the point standings looked following every round.

Hangtown…tied on points

Glen Helen…Jeremy Martin down 19 points

Thunder Valley…Jeremy Martin up 2 points

Muddy Creek…Jeremy Martin up 6 points

High Point…Jeremy Martin down 8 points

Budds Creek…Jeremy Martin down 10 points

Red Bud…Jeremy Martin up 7 points

Millville…Jeremy Martin up 19 points

Washougal…Jeremy Martin up 4 points

Unadilla…Jeremy Martin up 2 points

Utah…Jeremy Martin up 2 points

Indiana…???

Who is going to win the 250 National title? It’s too close to call. With partly cloudy skies and zero percent chance of rain predicted for Crawfordsville on Saturday, it should be the perfect battleground for Martin and Musquin to fight it out for the number one plate.

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MINI-VIEW: AARON PLESSINGER

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By Jim Kimball

Growing up in the small hamlet of Hamilton, Ohio, thirty miles north of Cincinnati, Aaron Plessinger did what most kids tend to do by following in his father’s footsteps. Scott Plessinger won GNCC titles, so naturally Aaron was drawn to the off-road racing scene. After winning several championships, Aaron set his sight on motocross. Young Plessinger made waves when he won the 250 amateur all-stars class at the Monster Energy Cup last year. He teamed up with the high-profile Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha team and has done an excellent job as a rookie in the 250 class in 2015. Plessinger has already earned “Rookie of the Year” honors in the Supercross series, and he looks to be on track for the AMA 250 National ROY award when all is said and done on Saturday in Crawfordsville, Indiana. We caught up with Aaron just after he rolled off the Miller Motorsports track this past weekend with a fourth overall.

Aaron, what a great rookie year you are having, going back to Supercross where you were awarded the “250 Supercross Rookie of the Year.” I really had a lot of help coming into this year from Cooper Webb and my trainer, Gareth Swanepoel, to the rest of the team. We started working on Supercross last September, and I kept plugging away until things started clicking. I adapted pretty quickly to Supercross, but there was still some work to be done. I was pretty stoked with my first season in Supercross, being that I got a lot of top-five finishes and a podium out of it. All in all, Supercross was pretty good for me.

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Being from a small town in Ohio, how has the transition been to living in SoCal? It was definitely a big change. I really didn’t like it at first, but I had to adapt to it, because I need to be there. It’s better now that I have been in southern California for a while.

You’re good friends with Cooper Webb, aren’t you? Yes, we train and ride together every day. I also ride a lot with Broc Tickle. It’s been awesome working and riding with those guys. I have learned a lot. Having these guys that have been in the sport by my side has been great.

What was it like to win the 250 class at the Monster Energy Cup last year? It was a big accomplishment for me, and it gave me more confidence heading into my first Pro season of Supercross. If I hadn’t done so well at the Monster Cup then I’m not certain that I would have done as well in Supercross. With that being my first true Supercross race, I know it helped me out a lot!

You began your racing career in offroad events like the GNCC series and did very well. What was the draw to motocross? I rode GNCC’s for almost six years straight and won a lot of races and championships. It was awesome coming from offroad to motocross. I think that it helped me with every aspect of my riding. My pace was a little off coming into Supercross, but aside from that the off-road riding helped tons.

Is your dad involved much in your racing career these days? Definitely. My dad has been there all along, and he will continue to be there. He trained me from the beginning of my racing, and since he is a multi-time GNCC Champion, he can give me lots of pointers.

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You may be too young to remember the early days of Star Yamaha. With no disrespect, they were once considered a “B-team”, but now they may be the premiere 250 team in the pits. You are right, so it’s probably a bit hard to say much about that. I had followed them for a while, and I have seen them grow a tremendous amount. It’s amazing to see how far they have come, and to see how much they do for everyone on the team. Winning a couple titles, and of course challenging for one right now, is an awesome thing. Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha is definitely one of the top 250 teams.

Everyone seems to talk about Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb not getting along. How do you interact with them? Maybe they had a little more of a feud last year, but with Cooper being hurt, and now not being in the championship fight, I think they may have a little bit of a friendship now. I can still see it at times, so it is there. As long as they are competing against each other it will always be there a little bit. I can be a friend with a lot of different people, but when you are on the track it’s all about racing. They probably hide it a little better than they used to, but I think that it’s still there. I like them both and consider them both as friends.

What are your thoughts on how your first outdoor season has gone? Earlier in the season I didn’t do as well as I thought I would have been doing. There have been ups and downs for sure, but these last few races have been very good. I got third overall at Washougal, and then a podium in a moto at Unadilla. Then I finished fourth here in Utah. I really want to do well at the last one coming up!

Is it difficult learning all of the National tracks? All these tracks have been a lot different than the practice tracks I ride in California. I feel that I have adapted pretty well to them, and that it has been very good for me to ride a variety of tracks. It’s been good to get used to all the types of soil at the National tracks. I need to do it now, because I hope to be a championship contender next year. Hopefully I will be right up there in the chase!

VIDEO: KTM ORANGE BRIGADE RIDERS AT LORETTA’S

A RANDOM QUOTE FOR YOUR PLEASURE

“At some point the AMA and FIM need to look into changing some of their rulings. That reminds me of the 360fly video camera helmet deal. Chad was kicking tires on how far he could push things. There shouldn’t be a rule of any consequence that prevents teams from making money to go racing. There are fees for teams to race, and sponsors pay for exposure and representation at the races. At some point changes need to be mandated. The promoters should work to help teams keep going in order to get outside money for utilizing to go racing. Had Reedy been able to secure 360fly then I believe the team wouldn’t have had to close down. Maybe a lot of other teams are in the same boat.” – Dave Osterman

To read the interview in its entirety, please click here.

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SHADOW BLAKE BAGGETT AT UTAH

2016 YAMAHA YZ250F INTRO: THE OUT-TAKES

IMGL8556The MXA gang went to Perris Raceway on a steamy Monday evening to shake down the 2016 Yamaha YZ250F.

IMGL8577Steve Butler (far left) used a generous amount of hand gestures to get the point across to the media that the YZ250F is far and away the best bike ever built. Obviously the hand gestures worked on fellow Yamaha employees Philip Lash (center) and Travis Preston (right).IMGL8682Ground control to Major Tom. Or, in this case, the pilot is Johnny Jelderda.

IMGL8564We’re not sure if Jody is laughing because Daryl Ecklund (far left) is employing Steve Butler’s hand gestures, but Johnny Jelderda doesn’t look impressed. Meanwhile, Jarryd McNeil (far right) is too busy thinking about how to do an even bigger whip for X Games 2016.

IMGL8737 2This is 100 percent concentration.

_MG_0496The famous Perris rocks.

IMGL8520Note the differences between the 2015 Yamaha YZ250F and ’16 model.

250 CLASS VS. 450 CLASS: THERE’S NO COMPARISON

If anything has been proven this summer, it’s that the 250 classes have been far more exciting to watch than what has taken place in the premiere, or 450 classes. That statement holds true for the AMA Nationals, as well as across the pond where the Grand Prix series has been heating up. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the 250 and 450 point standings from the two series, as well as a few footnotes:

450 AMA Nationals

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1. Ryan Dungey…500 points
2. Justin Barcia…-93 points
3. Ken Roczen…-98 points
4. Blake Baggett…-167 points
5. Christophe Pourcel…-209 points

* Unless you’ve been holed up in your parent’s basement playing World of Warcraft, you know that Ryan Dungey clinched the title this past weekend at the sun-baked junk pile of a track known as Miller Motorsports Park. The only real news left to report is that arch enemies Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen will slug it out for the title of being known as “Best of the Rest.” Take note that 450 rookie, Blake Baggett, is a few points short of sewing up fourth overall on the season. He deserves applause, or at the very least a golf clap. Way to go, BB4.

450 Grand Prix

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1. Romain Febvre…547 points
2. Gautier Paulin…-84 points
3. Evgeny Bobryshev…-124 points
4. Tony Cairoli…-131 points
5. Max Nagl…-187 points

* Many will say that Romain Febvre won the 450 GP title simply by attrition. That’s not true. For starters, the championship hasn’t been decided yet. Gautier Paulin, Evgeny Bobryshev and Shaun Simpson still have a mathematical chance of winning the title. So do Tony Cairoli, Max Nagl and Clement Desalle. The problem they face is that injuries do not allow them to compete until well after the title has been clinched. As for Febvre’s accomplishments as a rookie in the 450 class, he was winning motos well before the established stars were sidelined.

250 Nationals

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1. Jeremy Martin…461 points
2. Marvin Musquin…-2 points
3. Joey Savatgy…-151 points
4. Zach Osborne…-156 points
5. Jessy Nelson…-173 points

* Obviously there’s really not a whole lot to talk about in the point standings, aside from the two point separation from Martin to Musquin for the 250 National title. Of course there’s a smaller headline in the fight for third overall in the standings between Savatgy and Osborne, but the real draw this Saturday will be the epic battle between Yamaha-mounted Jeremy Martin and KTM’s own Marvin Musquin.

250 Grand Prix

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1. Pauls Jonass…433 points
2. Tim Gajser…-4 points
3. Jeffrey Herlings…-10 points
4. Valentin Guillod…-25 points
5. Jeremy Seewer…-38 points

* This series is a doozy. Jeffrey Herlings led for a long time, but a dislocated hip knocked him out of the chase. Still, “The Bullet” sits third in the standings. He’ll slip down after this weekend’s GP in Italy. Take a look at how close things are otherwise. Pauls Jonass, who had been waiting in the wings at KTM and sat in Herlings’ long shadow, is suddenly the man to beat. Tim Gajser, the Slovenian sensation, has been up and down in the results. So has Valentin Guillod. There are four rounds remaining. Expect this title to go down to the wire.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: WMR SUSPENSION SERVICE

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[Press Release]

Service has always been WMR Competitions passion when it comes to suspension and the customer. Since 1999 WMR has been setting up suspension for top riders throughout the world. Our experienced staff has been instrumental in the development and application of many internal parts for production suspension on Showa, KYB and WP. This goes for the big bikes, as well as the minis. Information is gathered from the customer and applied to a database derived from thousands of hours of testing with riders of all abilities, whether it is in Supercross, Motocross or Off-Road. Correct settings, spring rates and category types are chosen for the customer that is unique to the application. Our main goal is to provide the customer with a quality level of service, a personalized setup and quick turnaround. With our oil change service, everything is completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected and measured for wear. 

We recommend that customers send both their forks and shock in at the same time for all suspension re-valves, oil changes and mods to assure safe and accurate setups. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Contact our Suspension Department to have your suspension serviced. Shop hours are 9:00 am – 6:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Toll-Free at 1-(866) WMR-RACE or email us at in[email protected]

Before you send in your suspension, download the service form of your bike, print it, fill it out and send it with your suspension. A sales representative will call you once we received it to go over the work you are requesting. Please allow 5 to 7 business days for suspension service (turn-around time may vary, depending on parts in stock). Once your work is completed we will contact you to verify payment and shipping information. Retail prices: Fork Service – $110*, Fork Custom Re-Valve – $175*, Shock Service – $105*, Shock Custom Re-Valve – $165* (*Pricing will vary on model and time taken. Does not include parts and oils).

MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS: THE TEAMS

While there are still announcements pending regarding team lineups for the 2015 Motocross des Nations in Ernee, France, many of the players have released news. It is unfair to speculate about who the top teams might be, especially with over one month to go before the gate drops, history has shown which countries produce good results on a year-to-year basis. Those traditional stalwarts are the United States, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy.

At the Unadilla National it was announced that Justin Barcia (MX1, or 450), Jeremy Martin (MX2, or 250) and Cooper Webb (MX3, or Open)–all Yamaha riders–will represent America in France on September 27th. What about all the other teams? See below.

FRANCE

MXGP_14_B_2015_MXGP_2209Gautier Paulin will trade in #21 for the #1 that he helped Team France win last year. France will be tough to beat on home soil, especially with an all-star cast of racers.

MX1…Gautier Paulin
MX2…Marvin Musquin
MX3…Romain Febvre

GERMANY

_BAS3133Max Nagl is recovering from a broken leg. He says that he’ll be ready to race the MXDN for Germany. Ken Roczen will not be on the tam because he is having minor back surgery on August 31.

MX1…Max Nagl
MX2…Henry Jacobi
MX3…Dennis Ullrich

NEW ZEALAND

MX1…Ben Townley
MX2…Kayne Lamont
MX3…Cody Cooper

BELGIUM

MXGP_14_B_2015_MXGP_3048Kevin Strijbos typically shines at the MXDN for Belgium.

MX1…Jeremy Van Horebeek
MX2…Julien Lieber
MX3…Kevin Strijbos

IRELAND

Graeme Irwin
Martin Barr
Stuart Edmonds

USA

_BAS1130How will Justin Barcia do in his third appearance (2012, 2013, 2015) at the MXDN?

MX1…Justin Barcia
MX2…Jeremy Martin
MX3…Cooper Webb

BRAZIL

Thales Vilardi
Fabinho Santos
Jean Ramos

AUSTRALIA

_BAS3410Dean Ferris (above) and Todd Waters are top-ten regulars in the 450 GP series.

MX1…Todd Waters
MX2…Jay Wilson
MX3…Dean Ferris

JAPAN

Makoto Ogata
Toshiki Tomita
Yohei Kojima

GREAT BRITAIN

MXGP_14_B_2015_MX2_1501Max Anstie is good enough that he very well could steal the show in the 250 class.

MX1…Shaun Simpson
MX2…Max Anstie
MX3…Dean Wilson

FUN FACT: MXDN WINNERS

_MZ28850Since the MXDN began, way back in 1947, only nine countries have raised the Chamberlain Trophy. Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Russia (formerly USSR), Czechoslovakia, USA, Italy, France and Germany are on the distinguished list.

FIRST LOOK: 2016 AXO RACING GEAR

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MXA VIDEO: WE RIDE THE 2016 KAWASAKI KX450F

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