RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki
#1 Ken Roczen
Obviously one of the favorites, Roczen won the 2014 450MX Championship, and he won that title in his rookie year. He raced for Red Bull KTM in 2014; this will be his 450MX debut on a Suzuki. The question is if his bothersome ankle, which cost him the second half of supercross, will hold him back early. He usually dominates Hangtown though (winning both 250 motos in ’13 and both 450 motos in ’14), so the opener will tell quite a story.
#20 Broc Tickle
Tickle is solid, but he missed all of outdoors last year with a broken back. His supercross season was okay. At one point he seemed poised to be a podium threat, but he never sealed the deal. When he last raced 450MX, in 2013, he finished seventh in the final standings.
#3 Eli Tomac
Tomac won the 2013 250MX title, but missed the first four rounds of his 450MX debut with a broken collarbone. He won Millville mid-season and showed the speed to challenge anybody throughout—he’s right at the top of the title favorites list. Bad starts and strange crashes thwarted Tomac’s 450SX title hopes this year; he’s hoping that doesn’t happen again outside.
Red Bull KTM
#5 Ryan Dungey
Dungey was just edged by Roczen in last year’s close 450MX title fight. Now he has a new and improved KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition and training from Aldon Baker. He’s also coming off his best supercross season ever, where he claimed the title and eight race wins. The two-time 450MX champ is always a contender outdoors.
#15 Dean Wilson
Wilson is out for the summer with a knee injury.
#4 Blake Baggett
Baggett was the 2012 250MX Champion and finished second in 250MX last year. He’s also particularly fast at Hangtown. This is his first go on a 450 outdoors, but his supercross season was surprisingly good, and he’s usually better outdoors. This is a solid dark-horse pick.
#7 James Stewart
Stewart is not eligible to race due to a drug test result dating back to 2014. He becomes legal to race again just before the final two rounds, but his team has indicated he’ll wait until the off-season supercross races to return.
Team Honda HRC
#14 Cole Seely
Seely just finished a superb rookie 450SX season with a win and third in points, but he’s always excelled in supercross compared to motocross. He has a few 250MX podium finishes, but has never won an outdoor moto or overall. Still, if his style works so well on a 450, there’s a chance he can make some noise here.
#41 Trey Canard
Canard ended last summer in a flurry, winning the final round with 1-1 scores. But he broke his arm in a supercross crash last month and isn’t expected back by the opener.
#10 Justin Brayton
Brayton normally does better in supercross, but he missed the middle of supercross this year with injuries. Now he’s back to 100 percent and promising to have more focus on outdoors. Normally the two California races are his weakest, so they’ll tell the story here.
#29 Andrew Short
Short would be a borderline podium guy and a threat to holeshot any moto, but he’s out for a few rounds with a broken kneecap.
Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna
#21 Jason Anderson
Anderson is a rookie who had an up-and-down supercross season this year. Last year he won the 250SX West Championship but didn’t perform as well outdoors—he did grab one moto win at Budds Creek though.
#377 Christophe Pourcel
Pourcel is the ultimate wild card. Twice he had the 250MX title in his grasp, and his style might work even better on a 450. He had a decent comeback to American racing last year on a Yamaha 250, winning Unadilla and taking most of the qualifying fast lap awards. He’s mercurial—if he puts in the effort and he gels with the team and bike, look out. If not, look away.
#23 Weston Peick
Peick was a Cinderella story last summer, as he was finally upgraded from privateer status to a spot with RCH Suzuki, and he was pretty solid most of the summer. He continued to make gains this year in supercross with JGR. If he keeps going at this level, he’ll podium in some motos.
#51 Justin Barcia
Make or break time for Barcia, who was a big-money signing in the offseason but failed to make the podium in an injury-ravaged supercross campaign. He has talent and speed outdoors but needs to find it again. He missed all but two rounds of last year’s outdoor campaign with an ankle injury.
#46 Phil Nicoletti
Phil is no longer the Phil-In at JGR, he’s contesting the entire 12-round series regardless of how Barcia and Peick do. He’s a capable rider who hovered around the top ten in just about every moto he competed in last year. A great starter with better skills outdoors than in, could take another step with a full schedule this summer.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
#48 Wil Hahn
Hahn missed all of last year outdoors with injuries and will make his 450MX debut at Hangtown. He broke his upper arm again at the start of supercross and probably won’t be 100 percent at the opener. Davi Millsaps has been terminated from this team and they are not expected to announce a replacement.
Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports
#22 Chad Reed
Reed is a crowd favorite, but his best years outdoors might be behind him—the last few campaigns have been physically tough on him. We hear he’s been putting in the work, though, so, as always, never count the veteran (and 2009 450MX Champion) out.
#33 Josh Grant
Grant is a real dark horse. When all is right, he has lethal speed in motocross, and for once he’s actually coming off of a strong and healthy finish in supercross. Don’t be surprised if Grant wins some this summer.
Team Chiz Kawasaki
#11 Kyle Chisholm
Chiz returns to the Nationals in the US after a few seasons in Canada (he won an overall up there last year). In his last full tour through the US in 450MX in 2012, he finished 8th in the series. After a solid ending to supercross he’s picked up additional help from Kawasaki for the summer.
#39 Fredrik Noren
Fast Freddie was the feel good story of last summer when Team Honda picked up the Swedish privateer and he fought to tenth in the final standings. The factory squad liked him so much that they moved him to this team—known internally as Crossland Racing—and funneled some factory parts his way. Noren tried a few supercrosses and then helped Honda’s outdoor testing before tearing his meniscus. He says he’ll be back and ready for Hangtown.
#130 Tommy Hahn
Hahn comes out of retirement for a full shot outdoors on a 450, which was the class and bike that worked best for him in the past (he won the Steel City National on the 450 in 2009). He tried a few races here and there the last two summers, but this is a true comeback. His supercross foray in 250SX West was okay. It’s hard to predict how this summer will go.
CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha
#58 Killian Rusk
The Rock River team started the year with Ben LaMay in this spot. Then he was dismissed and replaced by Josh Hill, who was injured at Daytona. So now Rusk inherits a prime position. Last year his best overall finish was a fourteenth, but he showed signs of improvement in supercross this year, making seven of the last eight mains. Top-ten finishes are a possibility.
Nick Wey is at least partially heading down the road to retirement, he will not be racing this summer…Jake Weimer is still hurting after a huge supercross crash, he might be back for a few late rounds…Davi Millsaps is rumored to be building his own deal to race a Suzuki RM-Z450 at the last few races…Mike Alessi and Vince Friese and the SmarTop Motoconcepts team have announced they’ll race a few selected nationals…Privateer Matt Lemoine is expected to race a 450 after spending the last few years as a 250 rider…Kyle Cunningham is expected to jump from 250SX to a 450 outdoors…
Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
#1 Jeremy Martin
Martin imposed his will from the first gate drop last year. He won five of the first six motos—and ten in all—and built a nice points lead early to fall back on. Blake Baggett and Cooper Webb provided challenges, but Martin seemed to be a step ahead all year. He’s picked up the legendary Johnny O’’Mara as a trainer now, and is a favorite to repeat in 2015.
#17 Cooper Webb
Webb kept Martin honest for much of the season. In his second year, he secured nine moto podiums and three moto wins and finished just two points back of Blake Baggett in the standings. Webb dominated the 2015 250SX West Region and enters Lucas Oil Pro Motocross as a favorite alongside his teammate. However, he sustained an ankle injury at the supercross finale, which may affect his training entering the Nationals. He says he should be a go for Hangtown though.
#62 Anthony Rodriguez
Rodriguez never really got his rookie season off the ground in 2014. He missed all but five rounds due to injury. When he did race, which wasn’t often, he showed some promise, with four top-tens in ten motos. If he can find some more consistency—like he did in supercross—expect a better season from the Venezuelan.
#157 Aaron Plessinger
Plessinger was arguably the biggest surprise of the 2015 supercross rookie class. Many expected him to be good, just not this good. He ripped off four top-fives in eight rounds en route to SX Rookie of the Year honors. Outdoors may be even better—just don’t be surprised this time around.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
#37 Joey Savatgy
Savatgy comes over following a year at Rockstar Energy Racing KTM (now Husqvarna). After battling injuries early in his career, the third-year pro showed a spark late in 2014, finishing 4-3 at the rain soaked Indiana National. He had three podiums in Monster Energy Supercross’ 250SX East Region.
#50 Adam Cianciarulo
Cianciarulo missed last year’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with a shoulder injury, and also missed the entire 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season with similar troubles. He recently told us that while his shoulder is 100 percent, his fitness and speed are still coming around. It may take time for him to regain his speed, so don’t be shocked if he doesn’t come out on fire at Hangtown.
#66 Chris Alldredge
Alldredge raced the final three rounds in 2014 after graduating from Loretta Lynn’s. His best finish was a fifth in the first moto at Utah. The rookie struggled mightily in supercross, barely keeping it on two wheels much of the season. Outdoors is more his forte, so expect much better results.
#200 Arnaud Tonus
Tonus, who has come over from the GPs, raced just three rounds of Monster Energy Supercross before being sidelined with an illness. We hear he will miss at least the first two rounds, maybe more.
#911 Tyler Bowers
The four-time AMSOIL Arenacross champion is out for the entire Lucas Oil Pro Motocross campaign after undergoing back surgery.
#19 Justin Bogle
Bogle had seven moto podiums in 2014, but he wasn’t able to break through for a win. The 2014 250SX East Region champion will certainly be fast again, but the question is if he can overcome Martin, Webb, and Marvin Musquin. He’ll need a fast start, unlike a season ago when he opened the year 5-9-3-35.
#38 Matt Bisceglia
Bisceglia has struggled in his first year and a half with GEICO Honda. His best finish last year was a seventh in the second moto of the season at Glen Helen—not exactly up to GEICO standards. It may be make or break time for the 2013 Horizon Award winner. The good news: He finished Monster Energy Supercross with a podium at Vegas.
#80 RJ Hampshire
After sweeping Loretta’s, the 2014 Horizon Award winner struggled to get acclimated at the final three rounds of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. His best finish was ninth in moto 1 at Utah. He was solid in his first Monster Energy Supercross season—fifth in points, including a podium. Still, he may need a year before making any real noise.
#126 Jordon Smith
Smith entered his rookie supercross season this year with an injury (hand) and left with an injury (shoulder), crashing a lot along the way. Smith was injured last year at Loretta’s, so Hangtown will be his first national. The kid has speed but hasn’t shown an ability to harness it. Outdoors should be much better than supercross, but it will take time to adjust. Patience will be required in 2015.
#34 Malcolm Stewart
Last year Stewart raced a 450 for the Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda team but suffered from a bout of dehydration that sent him to the hospital with kidney problems. The kidney issues are severe enough to where he’s not expected to race Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this summer.
Red Bull KTM
#25 Marvin Musquin
If anyone can break the Star Racing stranglehold, it will be Musquin. Last season was a mixed bag. Coming off ACL surgery, he started slow, failing to reach the podium until the second moto at RedBud. From there, he won three motos and finished on the podium an additional four times. After dominating the 250SX East Region, Musquin is a heavy favorite outdoors as well.
#32 Justin Hill
Hill’s supercross season was slowed by injuries, and he never really got it going. In his two seasons outdoors, Hill has hovered around 5-10, never really imposing his speed. Hill’s best finish last year was a fourth in moto 1 at Hangtown. In two seasons, he has yet to reach the podium outdoors.
Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs KTM
#28 Jessy Nelson
After being named 250MX rookie of the year in 2012, Nelson struggled with injuries in 2013 before bouncing back last year. He showed speed—a moto win at Indiana and a 5-2 finish at Thunder Valley—but wasn’t consistent. Those were his only top-fives of the season. Nelson, as he showed in supercross, is fast enough to contend—he just needs to show he can do it week in and week out.
#40 Shane McElrath
McElrath was injured early in his rookie season last year, missing six of the first seven rounds. He never really got it going from there, securing just two top-tens over the next ten motos. The 2015 supercross season seemed to mark a turning point. He had two podiums en route to second in 250SX points and overall appeared to be a much, much stronger rider. We’ll see if he can turn the corner outdoors as well.
#99 Darryn Durham
Durham is expected to miss the entire season due to lingering wrist issues.
#52 Mitch Oldenburg
Oldenburg showed great speed but also had some hard crashes in Monster Energy Supercross with team Motosport.com/ARMA Energy Yamaha. Based on rumors we’re hearing and some photos we’ve seen of him testing with the TLD team, he’ll likely be given Durham’s bike for the Nationals. The specifics of the deal have yet to be finalized.
Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna
#16 Zach Osborne
Breaking his thumb in a first turn crash at the opener in 2014 relegated Osborne to just four rounds. He had four top-tens in eight motos, but never really got started in his last year with GEICO. A thumb injury hindered him in Monster Energy Supercross as well, but he still managed third in points. Osborne appears healthy entering outdoors and will spend the summer living and training with Eli Tomac in Colorado. He could be a contender for wins and podiums.
#44 Zach Bell
Bell returned from a collapsed lung, dislocated elbow, and torn ligaments for the season finale at Las Vegas. He went down in the main, but he seemed quicker than he did earlier in the supercross season. Bell had one top-five a season ago and is a great starter. Consistency will be a key point in 2015.
#47 Martin Davalos
Davalos is still battling Epstein-Barr virus, which we hear will keep him out for some of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, although the team has yet to make an official announcement.
CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha
#31 Alex Martin
Martin is coming off a career year in supercross, where he garnered two podiums and finished sixth in a loaded West Region. Martin is even better outdoors and had ten moto top-tens in 2014. Watch for him when the series heads east, as he typically struggles on the West Coast.
#254 Greg Gehrer
Gehrer is out with injury. There is no timetable on his return.
#343 Luke Renzland
Renzland rode the last three rounds with the team last year following Loretta’s. His best finish was a fifteenth at Unadilla. He had an up and down supercross season, finishing in the top ten three times in eight rounds.
#55 Kyle Peters
In his first year with the team, Peters bounced back from a disappointing 2014 season in Monster Energy Supercross. He had five top-tens in eight rounds en route to seventh in points. He had zero top-tens outdoors a season ago.
#986 Colt Nichols
The rookie will miss all of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross after tearing his ACL in St. Louis.
FMF/KTM Orange Brigade
#88 Dakota Alix
The way this team is structured, this is Alix’s last year on the squad. In short: KTM gives rookie grads one year to prove themselves and move on to another team. Alix had zero top-tens outdoors in 2014.
#434 Daniel Baker
Baker is getting the bump to the pro ranks this summer with KTM. He’s been in and out of the prospects list as an amateur for years, often showing speed but also thwarted by injuries. Since KTM picked him up a few months ago, he seems to have come into his own, but the 12-round pro MX championship is about as deep as deep ends get. Will he sink or swim?
Traders Racing Kawasaki
#95 Nick Gaines
After graduating from Loretta’s, Gaines was a bright spot in the last two rounds last year. In just four motos he had two top-fifteen finishes, with a best of 11th. He showed a ton of speed in supercross before breaking two bones in his wrist. He’s expected to return for Hangtown.
Barn Pros Racing/Home Depot Yamaha
Leib hasn’t race much outdoors in the US due to injuries, lack of funding, and racing in Europe. He missed all but three rounds of Monster Energy Supercross in 2015. If healthy, he is expected to ride a limited West Coast-based schedule with the new Yamaha team this year.
Australian privateer Jackson Richardson will race the entire 12-round series with backing from XPR…Zack Williams will race for RSR outdoors…Privateers Justin Starling and Jace Owen are expected to race… The Rippah, Jimmy Decotis, is headed to Canada for the summer…