Sign of the (Lap) Times: Minneapolis

Sign of the (Lap) Times Minneapolis

February 21, 2017 4:00pm

When Ryan Dungey made his way past Davi Millsaps and into second place behind Eli Tomac over the weekend, an already electric crowd was ready to go full-on lightning storm in the hopes that he would be able to make a run at Tomac. Sitting in the crowd, I began to have flashbacks to 2013 when Dungey was able to run down Ryan Villopoto for the lead and when the crowd's cheers pushed Dungey around the track. Well, Tomac laid down the silence on Saturday night, slowly stretching his lead out during the first few laps of the race and eventually slicing through the lapped riders in a way that Dungey was unable to match. 

Let’s dive into the lap data to figure out how these races were won and lost with this week’s Sign of the Lap Times. First, our traditional lap time charts.

450SX Class Lap Times

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap On Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1st 47.667 7 49.486 Eli Tomac
2 3rd 48.041 4 50.059 Ryan Dungey
3 2nd 48.076 7 49.637 Marvin Musquin
4 4th 49.037 10 51.019 Jason Anderson
5 5th 49.540 8 51.052 Cole Seely
6 7th 49.780 7 51.361 Broc Tickle
7 8th 49.979 5 51.988 Trey Canard
8 6th 49.995 2 51.551 Davi Millsaps
9 16th 50.098 7 51.961 Chad Reed
10 10th 50.136 5 52.667 Mike Alessi
11 11th 50.281 4 52.343 Malcolm Stewart
12 17th 50.437 7 53.961 Justin Barcia
13 12th 50.552 7 52.702 Dean Wilson
14 9th 50.607 7 52.057 Blake Baggett
15 14th 50.968 7 52.397 Josh Grant
16 13th 51.143 5 53.294 Jake Weimer
17 15th 51.814 5 53.118 Vince Friese
18 18th 53.065 5 55.981 Nick Schmidt
19 20th 53.362 5 56.359 Jimmy Albertson
20 19th 53.320 6 57.031 Cade Clason
21 21st 54.189 6 58.113 Alex Ray
22 22nd 54.289 4 58.208 Adam Enticknap

250SX Class Lap Times

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap On Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 3rd 49.439 6 50.931 Zach Osborne
2 4th 49.660 5 52.2 RJ Hampshire
3 1st 50.013 4 51.091 Joey Savatgy
4 2nd 50.297 5 51.268 Jordon Smith
5 5th 50.770 7 52.59 Adam Cianciarulo
6 21st 50.901 6 52.22 Benny Bloss
7 10th 51.201 15 52.182 Colt Nichols
8 9th 51.264 8 53.127 Kyle Peters
9 13th 51.308 10 53.166 Fredrik Noren
10 7th 51.429 2 53.201 Anthony Rodriguez
11 8th 51.662 11 53.006 Luke Renzland
12 15th 51.828 3 53.586 Cameron McAdoo
13 14th 51.832 7 54.508 Lorenzo Locurcio
14 6th 51.886 5 52.759 Dylan Ferrandis
15 12th 51.939 13 53.143 Christian Craig
16 11th 51.973 4 53.961 Jesse Wentland
17 18th 52.016 6 53.294 Mitchell Harrison
18 16th 53.273 8 55.641 Gannon Audette
19 17th 53.381 3 56.256 Tony Archer
20 19th 54.123 3 56.91 Paul Coates
21 20th 54.410 5 55.932 Dakota Alix
22 22nd DNF DNF DNF Alex Martin

The Top Three

For the first six laps, Dungey was almost able to match Tomac's pace, losing a tenth or two every lap. Then Tomac uncorked a 47.667 on lap seven, the fastest time of the race, and gave himself some room to breathe. That was also the last clean lap the lead pack had before they started running into lapped riders. Take a look at how the lap times for the top three compare.

Dungey had that one big spike in his lap time on lap 11, but look at how inconsistent his times are from lap 18 on. Meanwhile, Marvin also struggled to keep his line flat, although he was still turning quicker laps than Dungey. One cause for the inconsistencies could have been the dirt in Minneapolis. During the press conference all three riders agreed that there was a weird combination of hard spots and soft spots as the moisture worked its way up from underneath the surface. 

Dungey vs Tomac

Now look at how the gap from Tomac to Dungey increased throughout the main event with some callouts to key moments in the race.

You can see Tomac was inching away until lap 10-11 where Dungey was unable to get around a lapped rider for the entire lap, losing around three seconds. This allowed Tomac to get comfortable and killed any momentum Dungey had. Once Tomac slipped away from Dungey's sights, Dungey wasn't able to match his pace as consistently. On the podium after the race Dungey said, "I got off to a great start there with Eli and he was running some good laps. We were right there in tow and I just fell off the back and made a few mistakes and just ... you know, I got a little work to do and that's okay."

Lapped Traffic

It may not have been as apparent watching on TV, but lapped riders were everywhere in Minneapolis. It seemed like once Tomac got around one, there would be a group of two or three waiting for him in the next section. Steve Matthes even mentioned it a couple times on our Twitter page. 

Matthes was spot on when he thought the leaders might have lapped some people four or five times—they actually lapped Alex Ray and Adam Enticknap four times and lapped up to 17th place three times. 

When you look at how short the track was and how tricky in became with that soft dirt, it's no surprise that the leaders ran into the lapped riders so quickly. Marvin Musquin said in the post-race press conference, "The track was actually pretty short once again, just like last weekend in Dallas, and we had a lot of lappers." 

Hard Chargers

Now it's time to recognize some hard chargers. On a track that many said was one lined and hard to pass on, Dean Wilson (450SX) and Colt Nichols (250SX) were both buried at the end of the first lap and managed to pass 10 riders over the course of the race. Wilson said after the race, "I wish I had a better main event. I didn’t get the best of starts, then I collided with another rider and went down after the first turn. By the time I got going I was well behind last and just tried picking guys off. I got up to 12th, which isn’t amazing, but I qualified third which is a positive."

Nichols' poor position after the first lap was due to a crash after colliding with Dakota Alix. 

Wacko Zacho

Finally, let's get to the 250 Class. Joey Savatgy rode a fast and consistent main event and took home the win without much drama on his part. On the other hand, Zach Obsorbne's night was anything but drama free. After getting an average start in the main event, Osborne charged hard and fought his way past Jordon Smith and into second place. Just as he was getting close to Savatgy, Osborne went down in the corner after the sand section and put himself in an even bigger hole than he was in after the start. As you can see in the chart below that shows the gap between Osborne and Savatgy throughout the race.

Osborne had the fastest laps in both qualifying and the main event this weekend. Can he avoid the mistakes soon and finally net his first career 250SX win?