The 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship started with this awkward exchange at the Anaheim press conference in the Diamond Club inside Angel Stadium of Anaheim:
"Chris Cooksey, Vital MX. This is for Eli," began the reporter as the camera panned over to the steely-eyed Monster Energy Kawasaki rider sitting among his peers. "I know you probably don't want to answer this, but there's been a ton of rumors about you in the off-season, and a back injury, and how long you were off. . . . [Tomac's face goes all gunfighter.] How are you doing now, and how long have you been back on the bike?"
At this point, Eli looked as guarded and gathered as Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter. He'd been called out in front of the entire supercross press corps.
"Um, I'm good. I mean I, um, you guys will see me ride here in a little," Tomac dodged. "We were doing motos last week, and the whole off-season was fine. . . . Um, yeah, we're ready to rip." And then he looked away. Next question.
Cut to Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin, now on the hot seat as the camera searched for him.
"Jason Weigandt, Racer X,” began our man up front. “Marvin, just take us through your off-season a little bit. You had a knee injury and you couldn't race your home race in Paris, and I know you have a new coach with David Vuillemin, a former winner of this event. So have you had all the bike time you've wanted? Or have you had a lot of time due to that injury? How has your off-season gone?"