Who had Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia battling for a win? Bettors would have given you long odds on that one after the trio of Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb, and Chase Sexton garnered all the wins and the majority of the podiums in the first half of 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross. At Indy, that all changed. Tomac was simply off all day and struggled to eighth, his worst result of the season. Sexton was fast and looked like he could win until (stop if you’ve heard this before) he crashed. Even Webb was not able to pull off his usual late-race heroics when he bobbled and went off the track instead of mounting a last push toward Barcia and Roczen.
For Webb it turned out fine, as a third-place finish vaulted him into the points lead for the first time this year. What of Tomac, though? We’re left with this info via Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s press release.
“It was a tough one today,” said Tomac. “The track was pretty gnarly, and we just struggled to find our comfort zone all day. We did our best to salvage some points. We’ll put this one behind us and come back next weekend in Detroit.”
“Today was just an off day for us from the start,” said Jeremy Coker, Tomac’s Team Manager. “The track was extremely challenging, and Eli was not comfortable throughout the whole day. We worked hard to help and fell short. We will regroup and rebound just like we have all year.”
Indy was a throwback to those unfortunate rides of Eli’s past where he would suddenly not ride anywhere close to his potential. In the past, we’ve seen worse from him in that category, but the bottom line is the fifth in Tampa and the eighth in Indianapolis have cost him the points lead. The good news for Tomac fans is that he bounced back from tough losses this year with victories. After he crashed hard at Anaheim 2, he won Houston. After he struggled in Tampa, he won Oakland.
Amazing, Tomac has actually not lost two races in a row yet this season.
Plus, you can make an argument that Eli’s weirdo races might actually be as much of a help as a hinderance. When Tomac isn’t feeling it, he doesn’t ride out of his comfort zone and try to win anyway. He was eighth in Indy, but he didn’t wad it up, crash and get hurt. He’ll be back in Detroit healthy and ready to try to prevent the first two-race run without a victory of this season.
As for Sexton, well, we’ve seen this far too many times. He was second behind Roczen early and had already showed the speed to get a win. Then he crashed. He has crashed in all but two races this year.
“The day started off great for me,” said Sexton. “We had figured some things out in testing earlier in the week, and I felt like I was riding well, even with the gnarly ruts. I topped qualifying and won my heat race, and I was feeling good in the main event. Unfortunately, I hit a rut that sent me to the ground, and the bike was bent up to where it was tough trying to make up time after that. It's a bummer, but I know I have the speed and I'm still in the championship hunt. There’s no quit in me, and I’m going to keep swinging. I look forward to Detroit.”
Honda HRC Team Manager Lars Lindstrom was left celebrating another dominant Lawrence brother win in the 250s and seeing one that got away in the 450s.
“It was another bittersweet day for us,” said Lindstrom. “We’ve had a lot of these, and it never gets any easier trying to celebrate a win and then having another one slip away–especially when our competitors were having off nights. On the positive side, we didn’t lose as many points as we could have, and luckily, Chase wasn’t hurt too badly, and he’ll be able to race next weekend. Most of the day went great, qualifying first in both classes and winning both of our heat races.”
For Tomac and Sexton, Indy becomes the race they’d like to forget, as the eighth and tenth represent their worst results of the season. Can they bounce back?