- Bike Checks
Grant Dawson's weekly look at who crushed it, and who needs to kick it up a notch.
Speed has never really been a problem for Jordon Smith. When he was about to turn pro, he was seen as a super fast amateur guy that had a tendency to crash. "Zach Bell 2.0" was what many of us (including myself and ML512) labeled him as before he made his pro debut. Well, his first two years as a pro weren't as injury-filled as we all were thinking they might be, but they weren't all that impressive, either. He showed speed at times, struggled at times, and crashed some as well. Then both he and RJ Hampshire ended up signing a contract extensions with GEICO Honda at the end of last year, and it almost came as a surprise to me, as I figured one of them would be getting the axe before the 2017 season. Another surprise hit towards the end of last year as Jordon did end up leaving the team in kind of a unusual way–they just mutually parted ways. That was it, and off to Troy Lee Designs KTM he went. Fast forward a couple of months and here we are. Jordon has had a mighty impressive season on the KTM, and really he might be the biggest surprise of the 250 East Coast Championship. I mean, take away some bad starts and a run-in with his teammate, and he might have hit the podium more than he already has. It'll be interesting to see if he can grab a couple of more podiums before the end of the season, or maybe even a win.
Gannon may be a privateer, but I fully expected for him to be in the main event and finish inside the top ten. He did podium in Indianapolis in 2016, after all. It didn't happen, though, and he missed the main at the round where he had his best career finish just a year ago (granted, he was filling in at Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki this time last year). Yes, I know he didn't make the main because of bad starts, speed was not the problem. It just sucks, cause you know... He podiumed in Indy last year.
This is Lorenzo's rookie year, and honestly coming into this year I didn't expect a whole lot out of him. I thought he'd make mains–but I can't say that I expected much more than that. Then he came out of nowhere last week and scored an impressive sixth at Daytona. "Could this be the rise of Lorenzo Locurcio?" I asked myself as I sipped my coffee the morning after. Well, I got my answer this week: no. I know, I know, every rookie is bound the have at least one bad race during the season. This was his, and I'm sure he'll bounce back and make the main next week. I'm probably being a bit harsh, but I was just bummed to see him miss the main after doing so well the week before. Get 'em next week, Lorenzo.
If you looked up "Marvin Musquin" in the dictionary on Saturday, you would find the definition "on rails". He was flying all day, and I'm still picturing that pass he made before the finish during his heat. I still have no idea how he was able to make that finish line jump... I can't even imagine attempting something like that, and I have a pretty big imagination. Anyway, a great weekend for Marvin after struggling with the flu for a couple of weeks. It sucks that he's no longer in the fight for the championship, but without any pressure he could definitely challenge for some wins (and make the championship fight between Dungey and Tomac more interesting) as the season winds down. Wait for Detroit, I cannot.
Hit the panic button! No, don't actually do that. I'm joking. It wasn't a great weekend in Indianapolis for Dungey by any means, but considering the day he had, I thought that a third-place finish was a pretty good salvage job. He crashed kinda hard during practice, didn't qualify all that well, and he had to transfer to the main through a semi. So when you take all of that into account, I didn't think his main event was that bad. He stalked Tomac for a while and tried to make something happen, but when he couldn't he settled into his own pace. The problem that most people have with his ride is that Marvin caught and passed him. I get that, it was kinda weird seeing Dungey get caught and passed by someone who was quite a ways back who's name isn't Tomac. But at the same time, Marvin was on absolute rails all day. He looked great during qualifying and his heat. So to me, it wasn't the least bit surprising when he made the move on Dungey. In the end there's no doubt that it was a bad weekend for Dunge, but it's not time to hit the panic button just yet. If he has a couple of more races like Indy, though, it might be time to smash it.
I thought that this was the weekend where we'd see the return of the real Trey Canard after he qualified well and looked pretty solid during his heat (even though he didn't get the transfer and ended up in the LCQ). Well, I was–uh–I was very wrong. We basically got the same Trey Canard we've gotten all season (when he's not injured), which is not the Trey Canard we're used to seeing. I'm not sure if he crashed, or what, but 14th is not good. I understand that he's been banged up pretty much all season and this was once again his return to racing, but still, 14th isn't a good finish for Trey. I gotta say, at this point nothing will make me happier than seeing Trey get inside the top ten (preferably top-8ish) by the end of the season. Hopefully it happens.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson