The Georgia Dome saw plenty of action in Monster Energy Supercross' last visit to the stadium. Eli Tomac charged through the pack to nearly catch Ryan Dungey, Marvin Musquin put Justin Bogle into the dirt, Zach Osborne got his first career supercross win, and nearly everyone got sand blasted at least once as they climbed their way over the wall and into the sand section. And that doesn't even include Friday night's Amsoil Arenacross action. #MotoFest, bros.
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|
250SX Class Lap Times
|Lap Rank||Finish||Best Lap||On Lap||Avg Lap Time||Rider|
The Top Three
To kick off the main event Ryan Dungey grabbed the holeshot in classic Dungey fashion. After getting a so-so jump out of the gate, Dungey stayed on the gas just a smidgen longer than the rest of the pack and then got on the brakes hard to crawl around the inside of the corner. Meanwhile, Dungey's two championship challengers—Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin—where stuck shuffling around mid-pack.
Last year, Dungey got holeshot after holeshot by simply braking early, cutting inside in turn one, and taking the lead. That's what he did on Saturday in Atlanta, too. I went back through and watched each of Dungey's main event starts this year to see if the technique he used with so much success last year was paying off at other races. I was a little surprised to see the technique wasn't working as well as last year, and I think a lot of this has to do with the way the first turns have been laid out this year. Apart from Anaheim 1 and Atlanta, the first turns have been either long and sweeping or two 90-degree turns which makes it hard to stick to the inside and pivot underneath everyone. But when he gets a nice, clean 180, Dungey still knows what to do with it.
Take a look at how the top three 450 riders' lap times broke down in Atlanta after the first lap.
Looking at the chart above you can immediately see the benefits of getting out front early. Blake Baggett and Dungey lines are much flatter and consistent where as Tomac's line drops down when he gets a clear track and rises when he has to pass someone.
You'll notice that Dungey's lap times were a lot less consistent in the second half of the race. After lap 12 he struggled to string multiple laps together and find a flow. There could be a couple reasons for the inconsistencies, like getting through lapped traffic, but the deteriorating track is most likely the cause. Steve Matthes said that someone in Dungey's camp mentioned Dungey is struggling later on in the races because the tracks are getting so chewed up, and the chart seems to mirror this thought. After the race Dungey said, "So the tracks are breaking down a lot. I feel like we need more time to do a little more fixing. We were going through the whoops and we were skimming them all day and then we’re jumping them at the end. There’s not enough time to do any work. The tracks, it’s nasty. It really is, but it’s racing."
You can also see that Baggett did a great job of latching onto Tomac's pace after he was passed on lap 16. He dropped his lap time significantly and was also closing in on Dungey until the last lap when he was in the high 54 second range.
Tomac vs Dungey Part II
In the chart below I mapped out the time between Dungey and Tomac for the entire race. Again you can see the benefits of getting out front early as Tomac lost just over six seconds on the first lap.
Tomac also voiced some displeasure with the track, more specifically, the wall jump leading into the sand section. "That was just ridiculous. Even the wall jumps themselves, I think with the timed events now there’s really no reason for them. Why are we getting slowed down? And a wall? It’s a wall. I think about every rider would say they don’t like them at all. The sand too. The sand is cool, but with the wall there … I don’t want to sound like a whiner, but it was kind of dumb."
If you take a look at lap 20, it offers a clue as to one reason Tomac hated the section. On the lap he got blasted in the face with sand by Justin Barcia, blocking his vision. He was forced to grab a tear-off in the squirrelly sand section and after it was all said and done he lost .3 seconds to Dungey. It doesn't sound like a lot, but when you consider Tomac was closing in on Dungey at around half a second a lap, that was a .8 second swing in Dungey's favor and complete momentum killer for Tomac.
In the 250 class, Zach Osborne got his first win of his career and he made it look pretty easy, with his average lap time being nearly .3 seconds faster than the next closest average time held by Jordon Smith.
If you take a look at the segment times provided by the AMA, you might be surprised to see that Osborne was only quickest in the third segment. Luke Renzland (blue) was fastest in the first and R.J. Hampshire (red) was fastest in the second. A closer look at how these segments were laid out provides a clearer picture of where Zach (yellow) was making up his time.
The third segment is the longest of the three and holds the most corners and whoops, which means there's a lot of time to be made here. Earlier in the day, Christian Craig was killing it in the whoops, but it didn't seem to phase Osborne that much. He said, " I felt like in the back of my mind that before the end of the night it would definitely be that we were jumping through them. So I tried to kind of dial that in the last practice. I wasn’t the fastest, but I knew that I could do everything that I was doing the whole time and do it good. I felt like that was the key."
Well he might not have thought it was the fastest at the time, but by the time the track broke down and pretty much everyone was jumping through the whoops, he was .205 seconds faster than anyone else through the section.