As always, the opener created more questions than it answered. What’s ahead for Lucas Oil Pro Motocross? We asked our experts—be sure to add your responses below.
1. Can Jeremy Martin keep this up?
David Pingree: Great question... I wish I had the slightest idea. Look, I wasn't picking Jeremy for a podium spot this summer so his 1-1 at GH came out of left field for me. Looking back, maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise. He doesn't qualify for the first two supercross races this year and has the tenacity to slowly dig back out and get a podium and a win by the end of the season. That takes some serious grit. The momentum from his Vegas win carried right through to the start of the series and now here we are scratching our heads wondering if the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha duo of Martin and Webb will win every moto this summer. That is probably a stretch but one thing is for sure: Both guys are legit title contenders.
Jason Thomas: I am going to say yes and no. The yes in regards to can he keep winning. I do think he will win many more motos this season after watching Glen Helen. The no is toward how he won. I don’t foresee him winning every moto by 20-plus seconds, that’s just not likely. Either way, that was one heck of an impressive day by Martin.
Steve Matthes: Yeah, for sure. This was a shot across the bow to his competitors. If J-Mart had gone out there and went 2-2 for the overall (by the way, Tim Ferry won four Nationals in his career and they were all by 2-2 scores, so I'm not bagging on that score) or 1-4 (Kelly Smith's 2000 High Point overall winning score, by the way) then I think I'd be more on the fence about this. But Martin CRUSHED them on Saturday and even if he shows some slippage, he's still going to be great. I think barring injury I saw some flash and speed that should indicate Martin will be in the mix for podiums every time out on the track and that should lead to being right there in the title hunt. Can he keep up this 1-1 and massive leads every weekend? No, but he'll be good.
2. How about Yamaha's performance on the weekend? Broke a ten-year winless streak in the 250s (going 1-2 for good measure) and won a 450 moto with Josh Grant. Did anyone see this coming?
Ping: Nostradamus couldn't have seen this coming. Before the start of the first 450 moto Nick Wey walked up to me and said, "Watch: JGR Yamaha's will be one-two going into this first turn. I've ridden with those guys and those bikes are stupid fast." I chuckled and nodded, thinking Nick had lost his mind. And then Grant and Nicoletti rounded the first turn out front and my jaw dropped. The 250 guys were equally impressive out front of both motos. I think it's great to see the Yamaha camp back on their game.
JT: I was very, very impressed with Yamaha’s showing on Saturday. The brand has taken a lot of heat about their revolutionary design over the last few years and honestly I think it was justifiable. There were many racers that weren’t happy and voiced that opinion. As with all new designs, though, improvements will be made and the bugs will get worked out. The thing that really stands out to me was their engines. They holeshot three of four motos and even the red flagged moto as well! They were visually strong up the long Glen Helen hills. It had to be sweet redemption for the boys in blue.
Matthes: In our pre-season podcast we spoke about how Yamaha's drought of ten years without an overall win in the 250 Class was indeed going to come to an end this year—but I don't think we knew it would be this fast. Or that another Yamaha would go 2-2 (Cooper Webb). And Grant won the first moto and even Filthy Phil got good starts and ran up front for a while. Yamaha has always had a presence at Glen Helen (they even have a hill named after them) and Yamaha always brings its dealers to the race and sets them up in a VIP area (I watched some of the races from as well). It was a blue wave for those guys out there on Saturday. And good for them, they've had a rough go of things in the last few years. Glad to see the tide turn and the mole that was always being wacked finally grabbed the hammer and wacked back.
3. Will the 450 Class just be a Red Bull KTM show or will others be there to challenge?
Ping: Stewart, Barcia and Canard were the guys I thought might get up there and add some color to the orange wave at the front. I think when the series gets back east it will get better for those guys a little but this summer is going to be dominated by Dungey and Roczen. If you don't agree with that you weren't paying attention at Glen Helen.
JT$: It won’t be a runaway every weekend but they are certainly the favorites as of today. I have said Dungey is the clear-cut favorite from the get go and after winning the first race of the season, I see no reason to back off that now. Roczen will be really good and may end up winning this but the real question will come later in the season. Can he maintain the same level that Dungey has proven capable of? I think he may struggle to keep that intensity all summer and I see Dungey stretching this thing out over time. The wild cards will be JS7, Canard, Barcia, Reed and Tomac when he comes back. Can they get into the mix and win some races? The two KTM boys have laid down the gauntlet, it’s time to respond for everyone not in orange.
Matthes: Scarily enough, I don't know. I THOUGHT we would see a dog fight in that class this summer but what we saw at Glen Helen wasn't good for anyone not named Dungey or Roczen. The other guys have a lot of work to do and I hope, nay, I pray, that we'll see the other guys on the other colors get up and challenge the pumpkin riders. I have to think they will—it's too long of a season to see a two-rider runaway every weekend. Please.