1. Ken Roczen said his air forks were a disadvantage over Eli Tomac (who is on spring forks) in moto one at Southwick. Is that a reason or an excuse?
Jason Thomas: I think it's a bit of both but unless we are out there on the bike, feeling what he is feeling, we can never know for sure. In talking to some other pro and ex-pro riders with experience with air forks, there is definitely a likelihood that he began feeling a difference in performance as the air fork deteriorated. How much that affected him is up for debate. I think the most likely answer is that it bothered him a bit both in performance and mentally, in that he knew Eli wasn't dealing with the same complication. A mental disadvantage can sometimes be worse than any other issue.
David Pingree: So, the same air fork he's been dominating on all season is suddenly a turd in the sand? He rides mostly sand tracks in Florida so unless there was another mechanical failure, I find that hard to believe. Roczen has a history of throwing in an excuse when given an opportunity, and in my opinion this is another example. Eli was on the gas in Southwick and instead of Roczen just saying that he got beat straight up (which is always the best way to handle a situation like that, bike issue or not) he blamed the forks for the loss. Some of that could be convincing himself that he was only beaten because the bike wasn't as good; we all know the mental edge means everything. But I think Eli was winning that moto regardless of what forks Ken had on his bike.
Steve Matthes: Like Ping says, that's not the reason Eli Tomac beat him but in the heat of the moment three minutes after pulling his helmet off, that's what it sounded like. I'll give Kenny a pass here, he was much more diplomatic after the race once he cooled off. Roczen's crushed the field in every other moto with his air forks (ironically his air forks cost him one moto win) and they seemed to work just fine. Roczen's a breath of fresh air to talk to in terms of interviews so if we all bag on him for this snafu then maybe he stops being so honest and open and goes into a Dungey shell. We don't want that do we???
On another note, please riders just stop with the "my set-up was off" in terms of what happened out on the track. Just admit you got beat and that you have some work to do. Barcia was averaging fifth place last summer until he won in the mud at Budds Creek and then he promptly ripped off moto win after moto win. You think JGR found some magic button for him? No. Please stop the madness!
Who you got at Millville?
Cooper Webb 1149 votes - 37.4%
Jeremy Martin 989 votes - 32.2%
Alex Martin 851 votes - 27.7%
Other 86 votes - 2.8%
2. Webb versus the Martin brothers at the Martins' track. What's going to happen?
Thomas: I think we will see something similar to last year. I think Cooper will win the overall but I expect one of the brothers to steal a moto win. Cooper is on such a roll right now and it's just his personality to want to win in the Martins backyard. All three of them will want to win for their own reasons, which makes this showdown all the more entertaining. Cooper will want nothing more than to spoil the homecoming and for the Martins; this race is more about pride and defending the home turf than points could ever mean.
Pingree: What's going to happen? Great racing is going to happen. I'd like to give the edge to one of the Martin boys because I like to root for the underdog and, frankly, I want a tight points chase. Plus, it would be a great storyline to see them win at home. But Cooper has found his rhythm and usually when a guy is firing like that it doesn't matter which track he races, the outcome is the same. If you are betting the mortgage on the results I'd go with Webb. And then seek help for your gambling problems.
Matthes: I DON'T KNOW!!!! That's what is going to make this so awesome. Webb's on fire right now and he's going to be determined to not let one Martin brother, never mind two, beat him this weekend. And of course J-Mart and A-Mart haul ass there and want to win in front of friends and family. Not too mention that they need the points bad. Webb beat both of them there last year but J-Mart's clutch bolt fell out or broke or something. This is the irresistible force meets the immovable object(s). I can't wait!
Who will finish third in points at the end of the season?
Marvin Musquin (201pts) 978 votes - 48.1%
Justin Barcia (181pts) 1055 votes - 51.9%
3. Finally a podium for Justin Barcia. He's twenty points behind Marvin Musquin in the standings for third. Can he repeat his third-place rank in points from last year?
Thomas: He definitely can and moves like last weekend will make it much easier. I kid, I kid. Seriously, he certainly can beat Marvin but he has to remove the huge mistakes like his Muddy Creek run-in with Phil Nicoletti and find that podium form on a consistent basis. His starts have been good for the most part which is a huge part of the equation. Marvin has two of his marquee tracks approaching in Washougal and Unadilla so it will be key for Barcia to be on his best form. It won't be easy, giving up a 20-point head start and facing those strong Musquin courses, but if he lays down podium performances like he is capable of, it's doable.
Pingree: I think it's going to be close and the next couple rounds will tell the story. Justin tends to really get rolling when he has some confidence built up and if he can parlay this podium into a moto win or even just some more podiums he could really make up some ground in the standings. That said, Musquin is great on the slick surfaces of Washougal and Unadilla so that could be a tall order for Barcia. The difference will be in the starts.
Matthes: Yeah, he definitely can. It'll be him, Marv or Tickle who end up third in the points. Now, is he paid to be third and two hundred points back of Roczen? No, but on paper it can be a bit of a salvage job for Bam Bam if he can get third. Tickle and Musquin are paid to be, for lack of a better term, back up riders to the big stars on their teams so a third is sweet for them. Barcia, not so much. But hey, third is solid and I'm looking forward to the battle between these guys.