For Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett, it’s been his starts and opening laps. For GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia it’s been his inability to back up a moto win the second time around. His teammate Eli Tomac hasn’t been able to bring the Texas/High Point super-human speed every weekend and for Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, his Achilles heel is not being able to close the deal after leading laps.
Out of the four riders, Baggett leads in two important categories, which are the points chase (duh) and experience in winning races. He’s led this series before and won plenty of races in it, the others can’t really say that. The Pro Circuit team knew that they had to get Baggett out of the gate respectably (his team owner Mitch Payton says a top five start is good enough), then let him get his outside lines established and his incredible fitness going. This is a recipe that equals, according to Payton, lights out for his competitors.
Baggett would use 2-1 moto scores to capture his second overall on the season.
Andrew Fredrickson photo
After a close second in the first moto at Budds Creek, Baggett caught Roczen from a ways back and motored away with a big gap considering how late he took the lead. The 2-1 score was enough for the overall.
Afterwards, Payton was being coy about what it was they changed on the bike between motos -- but it worked. Looked like the recipe needed a final ingredient. Although Baggett is the only one of the four amigos in this title chase without a major professional title, he may just have the right combination to get his first.