Turning around in just two days, round five of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship is here! We are still in Indy and it’s still cold but the racing couldn’t be hotter (insert radio voice). The track will be very similar in lane layout but the jumps have been significantly changed. The dirt should be a little firmer and we will see its integrity improve again into next Saturday’s round six. The one other aspect of that is that many riders complained of the texture being slippery on top. We saw many riders lose traction and hit the ground, proving that theory to be true. This is a rare dynamic to have a slippery crust but also a very soft base.
Dirty Little Secrets
The starting gates have actually been moved to the other side of the stadium compared to Saturdays' race. That's a change, but a lot of the other parts of the track remain in the same location, like the bridge and the finish line jump.
The start goes the length of the stadium for round two and features the long arcing left hand variation that I prefer. It is a flat corner that could be tricky if riders run it in too deep, though, so watch for riders to slide across concrete at some point.
The first rhythm is fairly similar to the first Indy round with a triple-onto-tabletop being the ideal first option. Riders would then want to step off the tabletop and set up for another triple-onto-tabletop and off. They would then be able to single across the inside of the next corner. Keep in mind, this line will be very difficult to maintain as the track deteriorates so riders will need a solid backup plan for late in the race.
An easy double sends riders across the mechanics’ area and towards the finish line jump. These 90-degree corners are brutal for passing but we did see some aggressiveness here by Christian Craig, Justin Barcia, and others. Lack of passing opportunity forces desperation.
The finish line jump and following jumps are very similar to round four, followed by the first true bowl berm of round five. That bowl berm will be a big block passing corner and riders will be looking to capitalize. With a standard supercross triple following the corner, forcing riders to go to the outside to set up, aggressive riders will try to chop that line off at the knees.
Landing from the triple, riders will turn back onto the start straightaway but exit left halfway down and duck under the bridge. A small double is followed by a step-on/step-off and into a left hand bowl berm. The only whoops section is up next and immediately followed by a step up over the bridge. This week’s bridge landing sends riders hard to the right and diagonally across the start straight. A steep wall jump will slow riders down as they enter a left hand bowl berm directing them across the width of the stadium. A small triple jump is right out of the preceding bowl berm and sets riders up to accelerate into the first corner and into lap two.
The 250SX class is a wild affair. To do well, risks have to be taken. The lack of depth is sending less familiar riders into the main and that’s where opportunity lies. That opportunity is not without risk, though, as some of these riders are not taking advantage of the open door.
For round five, it will be the same story. Can riders like Hunter Schlosser, Devin Simonson, Curren Thurman, Luke Neese, Logan Karnow, and Devin Harriman find a way into the main event? There are several of these high handicap riders that are high risk/high reward. I do believe that they present the only way to win in the current environment, though.
For the 450SX class, it’s more about value. Marvin Musquin and Zach Osborne are still the story of the class when it comes to value. They are both still double points eligible and I will be picking Osborne (had Musquin at round four). The secret to the 450SX class is to capitalize on those riders that had a rough round four but look poised to bounce back on Tuesday. I don’t feel the 450SX class is ready for big risk just yet due to the relative depth and health of the class. Play the hits and you’ll be fine.
Jett Lawrence announces that he is running for the Governor of California. Seriously, though, people love that kid.
Colt Nichols arrives at round five with a glowing green light on his handlebars. I have no idea why or what’s going on. I blame GameStop.
Christian Craig disavows all future hopes of a NASCAR career with the proven inability to turn left.