Although Baggett had closed from over nine seconds down, the German was still grasping to a narrow lead late in the race. As Roczen tried to separate from Baggett, he was held up by lapper Tevin Tapia, which forced Roczen to miss the downhill triple and take the outside line—opening up a gap the size of the Atlantic for Baggett to slide through. But the difficulties for Roczen were far from over as another trio of lappers would hold him at bay through the next few sections, allowing Baggett to ride off into the sunset with the moto win. Even Baggett seemed surprised when, a half lap after taking the lead, he glanced over his shoulder and couldn’t even find Roczen.
“I’m not going to blame it on the lappers, you know it’s just a racing deal out there, but they held me up a lot, and it was not only one guy, it was three or four people in one lap,” echoed a slightly less enthusiastic Roczen at the post-race press conference.
The old racing adage of “every rider has to deal with lappers” while valid, never really explains the entire story. And on this day, lappers became The Moment that defined the race.