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

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#WHIPITWEDNESDAY

DSC_7813Rider: Jason Anderson
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Date: February 20, 2016
Photographer: Brian Converse
Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: 300mm
Exposure: 1/1600 sec.
F-stop: 4.0
ISO: 4000

WE BRING THE STORIES TO YOU

MXA_Newsletter
In the fast-paced digital environment people don’t always have time to browse our website for the latest information. That’s why we’ve built a weekly list of MXA’s news and top stories and then email them directly to you. What could be easier? This week we bring you the race results from Arlington, along with a bunch of cool photos from the race, as well as features on Steve Lamson and Ryan Dungey. Of course you would have already read this valuable information if you signed up for our weekly newsletter.

Don’t miss out on all the major happenings in our sport, racing or otherwise. All you need to do is click here and sign up for our weekly newsletter. It’s free, it comes once a week, and we promise not to sell your email address to a spam site.

SECTION 1: THE STRANGE & UNIQUE

2017 HONDA CRF450: IS IT TRUE?

Honda_CRF450_2017Manufacturers are tight-lipped and secretive about unveiling new designs, but that hasn’t stopped news from being leaked online. For example, before the 2010 Yamaha YZ450F was set to be released to the public, a Yamaha employee snapped a photo of the radically new bike with his phone and spread it across the internet.

Believe it or not, if you really want to get a look at what’s coming down the pipeline, all you need to do is buy a ticket to Japan and attend a round of the Japanese National Championship. The Japanese brands use their motocross series as a sort of testing grounds for ideas and concepts. While not all of the designs make it to the production line, the works bikes provide a general direction for where the brand is headed.

And so it goes with the 2017 Honda CRF450. History has shown that Honda, like many brands, follows a four-year production cycle. They introduced the all-new CRF450 in 2009. Four years later they came out with the latest generation of the bike. With 2017 right around the corner, it’s fair to say that Honda will have a brand-new CRF450. Judging by the details provided by interest site www.honda2017.com, the ’17 CRF450 will have electric starting capability, a much more powerful engine with a dual-camshaft configuration, updated bodywork, and a new frame. Granted, this article was written well over a year ago, but it raises interest now due to the fact that Honda should release news on the 2017 motocross models in the coming months. How strange it seems that 2017 is right around the corner.

YOUR DREAM COME TRUE: KTM 550SX FACTORY EDITION FOR SALE

KTM 550SX Factory EditionDo you remember when MXA tested a one-of-a-kind KTM 550SX Factory Edition two-stroke? The radical bike, created by Jeff Moffet at Oregon Motorcycle Adventures, is a melding of a 1994 KTM 550 two-stroke engine and a 2015-1/2 KTM 250SXF Factory Edition. Moffet’s creation was so unique that we put it on the cover of the February 2016 issue (just below a radical Service Honda CR500AF).

Immediately we received phone calls and emails about the status of the KTM 550SX Factory Edition, and whether it was going to be for sale. To be honest, we didn’t know at the time what Jeff Moffet was going to do with his monster machine. Guess what? If you were among the dozens who hoped the 550SX Factory Edition would hit the open market then your prayers have been answered. The bike was listed on eBay several days ago. Click here to view the auction page. Bidding ends Friday evening. There are currently 39 bids on the bike, although the reserve has not been met. If you’re looking to own a piece of motocross history and have rather deep pockets, all you need to do is click here. Good luck!

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SECTION 2: PERSONALITIES

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: BROC HEPLER

Hepler_2005_Unadilla_2“After Las Vegas I was never right. I knew that I couldn’t continue with the way I was feeling, and I never wanted to feel that bad again. I’m sure that I would have been able to find a ride and still make a good bit of money for the Nationals in 2010. However, I want the current group of professional riders to see that I could have made a lot of money and still gone racing, but it wasn’t worth the risk to harm my health for the rest of my life. To fully answer your question, I didn’t seek out a ride for 2010 or even talk to anyone about racing again. In January 2010 I started taking college courses. I knew my racing career was over.”

Click here to read the full interview.

LATEST ARENACROSS WINNER: GAVIN FAITH

THE JOY & SPECTACLE OF SUPERCROSS

MXA freelance photographer, Brian Converse, flew to the Dallas Supercross. His assignment was to capture the essence of Supercross. His masterful work is on display below.

LMP_5674 LMP_5606 DSC_8031 DSC_7999 LMP_5600 LMP_5563 LMP_5571 LMP_5677 LMP_5714 LMP_5717

CHASING THE DREAM: EPISODE 1

CHRISTIAN CRAIG ON HIS RUN-IN WITH JOEY SAVATGY

Craig-ArlingtonSX2016_1CE6A“I got off to a holeshot; Savatgy got around me. He bobbled coming out and I snuck on the inside. I thought I made the pass and then I heard him coming to the left of me, and there was a left-hander coming up so I knew I had to block that inside right away or he was going to take me high. I jumped into the second set of whoops and I moved over pretty quick. If not, I would have taken high for sure. He was going for it. I ended up taking him out. It’s unfortunate. I don’t like being a dirty rider, but it’s a racing incident. It happens. I’m sure he would have cut over, too. I didn’t mean to cut over as hard as I did, but, you know, you’re in the mode of racing and pass, pass, pass, so you don’t think at the time, really. You’re just thinking: Get in front and get over.”

SECTION 3: SUPERCROSS 

250 EAST OPENER THIS WEEKEND

Atlanta StadiumDallas was the opening round of the 250 East series in 2015, but that wasn’t the case this time around, as Dallas was the seventh round of the 250 West. Instead Atlanta will play host to the first 250 East race. At this point in the season, with the 450 class getting a bit stale and the 250 West title hopefuls well established, it’s refreshing to watch a new fleet of youthful racers embark on a quest for the title. Atlanta is the second coming of Anaheim 1, although it doesn’t quite live up to the hype of A1. However, southern motocross fans typically show up in droves. There’s an energy in the air that the racers feel. For that reason, ATL usually creates atypical race headlines. Remember when Trey Canard won his very first Supercross race in 2008? That same evening Davi Millsaps won his first 450 Supercross main. In 2011, Chad Reed slammed into James Stewart on the last lap. Both riders went down, and an unassuming Ryan Villopoto was gifted the victory. How about in 2014, when Mike Alessi cleaned out Broc Tickle? See below if you don’t remember that crazy incident.

Surely the 2016 edition of the Atlanta Supercross will ignite fireworks. While the 450 class has turned into the Ryan Dungey show, with appearances by Ken Roczen, the 250 East is fresh. Expectations and past results are the only guiding factors in determining who will emerge in that class.

Among those on the provisional entry list for Atlanta, eight names stand out–Jeremy Martin, Aaron Plessinger, Shane McElrath, Justin Hill, Martin Davalos, Arnaud Tonus, Malcolm Stewart, and Tyler Bowers. A few are coming off injuries (McElrath and Bowers), others are entering the series high on confidence (Stewart and Plessinger), and others must use Atlanta as a springboard to reignite their careers (Hill and Davalos). One rider in particular–Jeremy Martin–has tremendous pressure on his shoulders. The two-time AMA 250 National Champion has achieved success outdoors, but he’s been snakebitten throughout his Supercross career. Will 2016 be the year that Martin puts it all together and wins a Supercross title? Time will tell.

THE PLAYERS

#6. Jeremy Martin–Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha

JMartin-StarRacing-Cox-2016-074

#23. Aaron Plessinger–Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha

Plessinger-StarRacing-Cox-2016-032

#30. Shane McElrath–Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM

132901_Shane_McElrath_KTM_250_SX-F_2016

#36. Justin Hill–Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM

132917_Justin Hill KTM 250 SX-F 2016

#49. Martin Davalos–Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

17656_Martin_Davalos_Action

#50. Malcolm Stewart–Geico Honda

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#53. Tyler Bowers–Pro Circuit Kawasaki

Bowers_2016_Pro Circuit Kawasaki

#66. Arnaud Tonus–Pro Circuit Kawasaki

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250 EAST PROVISIONAL ENTRY LIST   

250_East_Entries

SECTION 4: GRAND PRIX

2016 MXGP SERIES STARTS THIS WEEKEND

The names, places and news coming out of Europe

The opening round of the 18-race Grand Prix series kicks off under the lights at the Losail Circuit in Qatar on Saturday evening. Anticipation builds as Romain Febvre, the 2015 MXGP Champion, embarks on a perilous journey to defend his title against the likes of Tony Cairoli, Max Nagl, Gautier Paulin, Evgeny Bobryshev, Shaun Simpson, Jeremy Van Horebeek, Glenn Coldenhoff, Ben Townley, Clement Desalle (who is going to give it a go this weekend despite recently breaking his arm) and Tim Gajser, among others. In the 250 class, Jeffrey Herlings will give it another go on his factory KTM 250SXF. Herlings, the runaway favorite for several years running, lost the opportunity to win the previous two 250 World titles due to injury. It will be interesting to see if anyone in the 250 class will be able to pressure Jeffrey. There are several capable riders, such as Dylan Ferrandis, Pauls Jonass, Aleksandr Tonkov, Thomas Covington and Max Anstie. You might not remember some of these names, as the 2015 season was rife with injuries.

Of course, the 2016 edition of the MXGP series doesn’t live up to the same billing as the previous year. That’s because Ryan Villopoto no longer lines up to the gate, Tyla Rattray has also retired, and Clement Desalle will miss the early rounds due to a broken arm [update: News broke this morning that Desalle is going to try and race in Qatar]. Ben Townley is also injured, although he intends on racing in Qatar. Hopefully the teams are able to soldier through a long and tumultuous season unscathed.

Who will win the opener in Qatar this weekend? Heck, who will win the title? See below.

450 CLASS PREDICTIONS

Qatar 450 Overall Winner

gautier-paulin-actionGautier Paulin (Honda)–The HRC Honda rider from France had an exceptional offseason. Paulin spent most of his winter training with Aldon Baker in Florida. His knee should be completely healed, and given how Baker has the ability to build champions, Gautier went to the right place.

Qatar 450 Runner-Up

Romain Febvre (Yamaha)–Something tells me that last year’s MXGP Champion will split moto wins with fellow countryman, Paulin, under the lights at Losail. Febvre has proven that he’s no slouch. Now he needs to show that he can beat a talented field of healthy racers, rather than weather the storm in the early rounds and shine as the injuries start to pile up. I suspect that Romain will be firing on all cylinders this Saturday.

Qatar 450 Third Overall

092_int3_naglMax Nagl (Husqvarna)–Trying to correctly choose the top three finishers in the opening round of any motorsports series is a fool’s bet, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. I’ll go with IceOne Husqvarna’s Max Nagl. He has a history of starting the series very strong–the German has placed second and first in the past two openers–and he’s also on the brand-new Husqvarna FC450.

450 MXGP Series Champion

It’s anyone’s guess. Did anyone predict that Ryan Villopoto would loop out and retire only four rounds into the series; that Clement Desalle, Max Nagl, Tony Cairoli and Kevin Strijbos would miss races due to injury; that Romain Febvre would win eight overalls in his rookie 450 season en route to the title? Of course not. Qatar marks the beginning of a marathon run to the crown, and the MXGP series can turn on a dime.

250 CLASS PREDICTIONS

Qatar Overall 250 Winner

133988_Jeffrey Herlings KTM 250 SX-F 2016Jeffrey Herlings (KTM)–It’s unadvisable to bet against Herlings at this point. He’s healthy, experienced, and the fastest rider on the gate (sometimes even faster than anyone in the 450 class). The only way Herlings loses in Qatar is by his own demise. Yes, he’s that good.

Qatar 250 Runner-Up

134002_Jeffrey Herlings KTM 250 SX-F 2016Pauls Jonass (KTM)–I chose Jonass for second because the Latvian now believes that he belongs up front  (ven though he ha a thumb injury). Jonass nearly won the 250 World Title in 2015, so he’s back to achieve a goal that, at one time, he thought was impossible. Sometimes it only takes the belief in yourself to reach new heights.

Qatar 250 Third Overall

Dylan Ferrandis (Kawasaki)–The Frenchman is the anchor for the CLS Kawasaki team, and he likely enjoys that role. Dylan was a title threat last year before breaking his leg. He might be one rider in a small group capable of keeping Jeffrey Herlings in his sights.

250 MXGP Series Champion

Jeffrey Herlings (KTM)–The two-time 250 World Champion has racked up 47 GP overalls since 2010. This is his seventh year in the class, and he’s on the powerhouse Red Bull KTM team. There isn’t any reason he shouldn’t win the title in what will be his last year in the 250 class. However, nothing is certain, and that’s why they line up to the gate every weekend. Herlings should have won the last two years, but should and did are two different words entirely.

TEAM HONDA HRC VIDEO: BOBBY & HIS BUDDIES

MONSTER KAWASAKI VIDEO: DYLAN & PETAR

MXGP RIDER ENTRY LIST

450 Class

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Desalle is questionable and Matiss Karro injured his ACL this week

250 Class

250classq

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SECTION 5: THE FASTEST OF THE FAST

An ongoing list of the top qualifiers and holeshot winners from each round of the 2016 AMA Supercross Championship

FASTEST QUALIFIERS: 450 CLASS

Supercross-Round-6_More-Practice_San-Diego_02132016_0652Anaheim 1…Trey Canard
San Diego 1…Ryan Dungey
Anaheim 2…Ken Roczen
Oakland…Ryan Dungey
Phoenix…Ryan Dungey
San Diego 2…Eli Tomac
Dallas…Ryan Dungey

FASTEST QUALIFIERS: 250 CLASS

250 Fastest Qualifiers_Cooper WebbAnaheim 1…Cooper Webb
San Diego 1…Cooper Webb
Anaheim 2…Zach Osborne
Oakland…Cooper Webb
Phoenix…Cooper Webb
San Diego 2…Zach Osborne
Dallas…Joey Savatgy

HOLESHOT AWARD: 450 CLASS

MWR_450 Holeshot Award_Anaheim 1Anaheim 1…Cole Seely
San Diego 1…Chad Reed
Anaheim 2…Davi Millsaps
Oakland…Ryan Dungey
Phoenix…Davi Millsaps
San Diego 2…Ryan Dungey
Dallas…Ken Roczen

HOLESHOT AWARD: 250 CLASS

MWR_250 Holeshot Award_Anaheim 1Anaheim 1…Jessy Nelson (West)
San Diego 1…Jordan Smith (West)
Anaheim 2…Jimmy Decotis (West)
Oakland…Christian Craig (West)
Phoenix…Jimmy Decotis (West)
San Diego 2…Jordan Smith (West)
Dallas…Christian Craig (West)

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