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This Week in Monster Energy Supercross: “Duel in the Dome” Winner to be Crowned Saturday in Atlanta

| 27 February 2015 5:51 pm

Monster Energy Supercross Series
Round 9: Georgia Dome

Courtesy of Feld Motor Sports
Photos by Hoppenworld and Kardy Photos
ATLANTA, GA, FEB. 27, 2015

Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, will make its ninth stop of the 17-race season with the last stop of back-to-back Saturday night visits at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome this weekend. Additionally, the inaugural “Duel in the Dome” winner will be crowned, with the rider who obtains the most points over the back-to-back Atlanta weekends emerging triumphant.

Chad Reed (22) in least week’s main event in Atlanta. Photo by Hoppenworld

Chad Reed (22) in least week’s main event in Atlanta. Photo by Hoppenworld

The 450SX Class welcomed its fifth different winner of the 2015 season last weekend as Discount Tire Racing/ TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed posted a perfect wire-to-wire effort to earn his first win since the third race in Anaheim last season. The win was also the first for Kawasaki since the Las Vegas finale in 2014. Through eight races this season, four different manufacturers – Honda, Kawasaki, KTM and Suzuki – have earned a main-event win.

In the 450SX-class standings, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey extended his championship lead to 25 points on the heels of a runner-up finish. The Eastern Regional 250SX-class Championship intensified between points leader and Red Bull KTM rider Marvin Musquin and last week’s winner, Jeremy Martin, who sits four points back on his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha.

Fox Sports 2 will air the second Atlanta race live at 7 p.m. EST/ 4 p.m. PST. Coverage from the second Atlanta race will also be available on the authenticated F0x Sports GO app.

450SX Class

Red Bull KTM

#5 Ryan Dungey

Current Championship Position: First
Atlanta Start: Fourth
Atlanta Finish: Second (+2)
2015 Average Finish: 2.3

Dungey’s podium streak now sits at seven races. He also enjoys his most comfortable points lead since after the St. Louis stop of his championship-winning 2010 campaign.

“[Chad] Reed rode a solid race [in Atlanta], getting a great start and holding on out front,” said Dungey. “I had some work to do to catch up to him after an okay start. Apart from the start, I’m happy with the way I rode. The way the cards fell, with several guys having big crashes, I’m happy to have been able to extend my points lead in the championship. I’m looking forward to coming back [to Atlanta] again this weekend to hopefully get on the top step of the podium.”

Team Honda HRC

#41 Trey Canard

Current Championship Position: Second (25 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: 10th
Atlanta Finish: Third (+7)
2015 Average Finish: 4.4

Canard moved into second in the championship for the first time since the Oakland race of the 2013 season.

“Not a bad night at all – I was happy to be on the podium again and to have moved into second in points, but it was a bummer to get another bad start,” said Canard. “I just moved forward and did the best that I could, which is all we can ask for. I was riding really aggressive, but I think you have to when you’re that far back. I started to catch them a little when I got into third, but it was basically cat-and-mouse all the way to the end. I think the bike was working great in the main event, so hopefully we can keep that going into this week and come out strong.”

#14 Cole Seely

Current Championship Position: Sixth (63 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Fifth
Atlanta Finish: Fourth (+1)
Average Finish: 7.6

Seely is currently enjoying a six-race top-10 streak, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the final Anaheim race. He is just four points out of fourth place in the championship standings.

“I got tangled with another rider and went down in the first turn of my heat race, and I just had flashbacks of the previous weekend, when I had to go through the LCQ,” said Seely after the Atlanta race. “I kind of went into panic mode, because I didn’t want to let that happen! From there on out, I felt like I turned it up a notch. I got a decent start in the main event by sneaking to the inside of everyone in the turn. I came out sixth or seventh and then just tried working my way forward. When Trey [Canard] passed me, I just tried to stay on him to see his lines, and we moved forward together.”

RCH Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy John’s Factory Suzuki

#94 Ken Roczen

Current Championship Position: Third (31 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: 15th
Atlanta Finish: 18th (-3)
2015 Average Finish: 5.6

Following a big crash early in the main event, Roczen carded his worst finish of the 2015 season in Atlanta.

“The whole night – actually, the whole day – was kind of gnarly,” said Roczen. “I felt like we had the bike figured out pretty good. In the main, my bike worked really good and I feel like I could have made up a lot of ground. I went in the whoops and caught one of the Tuff Blocks somehow. It wasn’t a problem with the bike or anything like that. Obviously, I just made a mistake. It just happened.”

#20 Broc Tickle

Current Championship Position: 10th (96 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: 11th
Atlanta Finish: Sixth (+5)
2015 Average Finish: 10.1 (seven races)

Since returning from injury, Tickle has recorded three straight top-10 finishes.

“I’m always stoked to race in Atlanta,” commented Tickle. “Last year, I set a good tone for myself, and I always seem to have a good vibe when we race in the Georgia Dome. I just wanted to have a good weekend. We went through practice and it was okay, and my semi, I just kind of pulled it together. I got my flow down and put some good, solid laps together. That gave me some confidence.

“I worked on my starts last week, but I didn’t have it for the main,” he added. “My start ruined me. I think I could have been a little better, resultswise, with a better start. Overall, though, I’m pretty pumped with my finish. I think I was 11th or 12th after the start and passed my way all the way up to sixth. I think that’s the best I rode all year, so I’m stoked about that. My bike was working really, really good. I’m going to go down to Kenny Roczen’s farm this week and plan to work on my starts some more. I’ll work on more of what I practiced last week and see if I can improve.”

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GEICO Honda

#3 Eli Tomac

Current Championship Position: Fourth (59 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Seventh
Atlanta Finish: 20th (-13)
2015 Average Finish: 7.9

Tomac equaled his season-worst result of 20th in Atlanta after crashing while running fourth.

“I had fun getting after it with [Ryan] Dungey in the heat race and I was hyped for the main,” said Tomac. “I didn’t get the greatest of starts but managed to get past some guys and get up to fourth. I was pushing as hard as I could to close the gap on third so I could be in podium contention, and that’s when I lost it. Nothing I can do now but try again this week.”

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

#21 Jason Anderson

Current Championship Position: Fifth (60 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Sixth
Atlanta Finish: Seventh (-1)
2015 Average Finish: 7.1

Anderson is just one of two riders to finish inside the top 10 in every race this season.

“My night was just average; I ended up with a seventh,” said Anderson. “I got a good start, which was better, but I went a little wide in the first turn. I’ve been really consistent but not where I want to be. I want to be in the top five, fighting for podiums every week. I just need to keep plugging away.”

Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports

#22 Chad Reed

Current Championship Position: Seventh (64 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: First
Atlanta Finish: First (+/-0)
2015 Average Finish: 8.4

Reed now has 44 career victories and sits four race wins behind Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time-wins list.

“It feels awesome – 44 wins!” said Reed, adding with a laugh, “Seems like lately they feel a little better just because they have been a little too far apart. Man, what a rough year! This one feels nice, just to get a good start and to do something with it – it was fun. This is not my worst stadium, but not my favorite stadium. I’ve had a lot of great rides [in Atlanta], but man, I’ve had some good competitors there, with [James] Stewart and R.C. [Ricky Carmichael] over the years, growing up just down the road in Florida. They were really tough to beat there, and I feel like I’ve always been solid, but man, they were always tough! They had a feature on Ricky. I watched, and it brought back some memories, and I just tried to ride how I remember R.C. riding, and it felt good.

“Overall, the guys gave me a great bike, and we changed up a few things,” he added, “but more than anything, I think it was a combination of me actually riding good and the boys giving me a good bike. Looking forward to seeing if we can do this again at Atlanta 2.”

Yoshimura Suzuki

#4 Blake Baggett

Current Championship Position: Eighth (75 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: 13th
Atlanta Finish: Eighth (+5)
2015 Average Finish: 8.8

Baggett has come on strong in recent weeks and now has a six-race top-10 streak.

“[In the main event] I spun it a little bit coming off the gate and was, I think, 16th or so coming out of the first turn,” Baggett explained. “I plugged away from there and tried to get the tire to the ground and get some traction and work our way forward. The track was really technical. I came away with an eighth, so I’ll go back and do a little testing and come back ready for Atlanta 2. I’m looking forward to Media Day and getting the chance to see what changes they make to the track for this week’s race. Hopefully they’ll be able to get a little moisture in the dirt so we have a little better traction.”

BTO Sports KTM

#29 Andrew Short

Current Championship Position: Ninth (80 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Eighth
Atlanta Finish: Ninth (-1)
2015 Average Finish: 9.4

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Eastern Regional 250SX Class

Red Bull KTM

#25 Marvin Musquin

Current Championship Position: First
Atlanta Start: Fourth
Atlanta Finish: Second (+2)
2015 Average Finish: 1.5

Musquin has 1-2 finishes to start the 2015 Eastern Regional season.

“I’m not overly happy with the way I rode [in Atlanta],” explained Musquin. “I let my frustrations from earlier in the day take over in the main event, and I just didn’t ride as smooth and relaxed as I should have. I had a rough heat race, and I should have been more focused in the main. But I started to relax more towards the end of the race and still finished in second place. It takes consistency to win a championship, so I’m happy to be on the podium two weeks in a row and will make sure I’m back to being 100-percent focused when we return to Atlanta.”

Jeremy Martin (6) finished first in Atlanta’s main event last week. Photo by Kardy Photos

Jeremy Martin (6) finished first in Atlanta’s main event last week. Photo by Kardy Photos

Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha

#6 Jeremy Martin

Current Championship Position: Second
(Four points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Sixth
Atlanta Finish: First (+5)
2015 Average Finish: 2.5

Martin has won two of the last three Eastern Regional 250SX main events, dating back to last season.

“My Saturday night in Atlanta was awesome!” exclaimed Martin. “I came in fighting a cold, but I pushed through it and came out with the win in the main event! My expectations for Atlanta 2 are to have fun and show everyone how strong my Yamaha YZ250F is this year.”

#62 Anthony Rodriguez

Current Championship Position: 10th
(26 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: 12th
Atlanta Finish: Eighth (+4)
2015 Average Finish: 10.5

Rodriguez earned his first top-10 finish of the season in Atlanta.

“Atlanta had its ups and downs, that’s for sure,” Rodriguez said. “The day started off a little weird. I didn’t have the best practices, but I managed to get better for qualifying. Then, in the heat, I got a pretty decent start, about seventh, and then I worked my way up to fifth. Then, when I was in fifth, I had a crash and that put me in, like, 13th. I made a comeback, all the way to 10th, but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the main event, so I had to go to the LCQ. I was pretty bummed about it, but I got my head straight. I went to the LCQ as prepared as I could be, and I did really well in that race. I got the holeshot, led the whole race, and made it to the main. Once I was in the main, I had a pretty bad gate choice, since I was one of the last ones to pick a gate. But I came from pretty much second-to-last all the way up to eighth place. I was pretty happy to be able come from a dead-last spot to a top-eight finish. I can’t wait for Atlanta 2 because I know I’m going to do a lot better. I’m looking forward to it.”

GEICO Honda

#1 Justin Bogle

Current Championship Position: Third (5 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Second
Atlanta Finish: Third (-1)
2015 Average Finish: 2.5

En route to a third-place finish, Bogle led his first laps of the 2015 season in Atlanta. Only he and Musquin have finished on the podium in each of the first two races.

“I feel comfortable with my training, but my execution during the race is what I need to work on for this weekend,” said Bogle. “I feel good on the bike and I’ll be ready. I had one good night in Atlanta and I’m ready to get a win the second time around. I am not a practice champion, so I sometimes struggle in the initial practice sessions, but when it comes time to perform and earn points, I know exactly how to deliver. I don’t plan on giving away any more points towards the championship.”

#80 R.J. Hampshire

Current Championship Position: Eighth (21 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: 11th
Atlanta Finish: Ninth (+2)
2015 Average Finish: 8.0

Hampshire has finished inside the top 10 in each of his first two career Monster Energy Supercross starts. He is currently battling through an injury.

“I know that I need to take it easy, but hopefully I can get some good days of training in this week,” said Hampshire. “It’s hard to heal in a week’s worth of time, but I can’t stop now. It’s important for me to keep improving every single weekend, so I won’t let this injury make things any different. I think it also helps that we’re racing in Atlanta [on] back-to-back weekends. It gives me a little bit more confidence in my road to gaining more experience when we return to a venue that I’ve been at before.”

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki

#37 Joey Savatgy

Current Championship Position: Fourth (11 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Ninth
Atlanta Finish: Fifth (+4)
2015 Average Finish: 4.0

Savatgy earned his first career heat-race win in Atlanta before securing his second straight top-five finish.

“My start is what kept me off the podium,” Savatgy admitted. “We worked on those this week, and I have no reasons to not be up front. My team and my KX250F are second to none.”

#200 Arnaud Tonus

Current Championship Position: Ninth (23 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: 21st
Atlanta Finish: 10th (+11)
2015 Average Finish: 9.0

Tonus overcame a near-dead-last start to pass 11 riders and earn a top-10 finish in just his second race on U.S. soil.

“I haven’t been able to show my potential in the main events so far,” said Tonus. “I’ve gone down on the first lap in Dallas and Atlanta, so I’m confident with a good start and a clean opening lap, I can be battling for the podium.”

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

#47 Martin Davalos

Current Championship Position: Fifth (17 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: First
Atlanta Finish: Fourth (-3)
2015 Average Finish: 6.5

Davalos led more than half of the laps in the first Atlanta main event. The Georgia Dome was the site of his first career Monster Energy Supercross win last season.

“After last weekend, the team worked really hard during the week, testing, to get me more comfortable,” said Davalos. “Practice went well, and the heat-race win was good. In the main, I got a great start and then just tightened up. I feel like I lost the race in the dragonback section. I was too worried about setting up my front wheel instead of just driving through. There’s certainly room for improvement on myself. I had a great bike last weekend and a great team behind me. I need to put my head down, work on my intensity, and come back swinging this weekend.”

JAB Motorsports

# 43 Matthew Lemoine

Current Championship Position: Sixth (-17 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Fifth
Atlanta Finish: Seventh (-2)
2015 Average Finish: 6.0

Smartop Motoconcepts

#45 Vince Friese

Current Championship Position: Seventh (17 points behind the leader)
Atlanta Start: Third
Atlanta Finish: Sixth (-3)
2015 Average Finish: 6.0

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For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to www.SupercrossLive.com, the official website of Monster Energy Supercross.

[For more from the first Atlanta round of the series, including race coverage, results and more photos, please see “Reed Races to His First SX Win of the Season”… Editor]

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