The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
2017 Monster Energy Supercross
Round 5 - Oakland
The Good: Jimmy Decotis | 4th Place
Jimmy D is getting better and better. This week he was able to transfer his qualifying and heat race speed over to the main event and came away with a solid fourth-place finish. More notably, he was giving Shane McElrath problems all night long. There was even a point in the main event where he passed Shane for third! That's pretty damn impressive. Has it been a pretty rough year for GEICO Honda so far? Absolutely, but Jimmy has been putting in some awesome rides for them recently and is definitely making a case for a contract extension. Heck, if he continues to improve, we might see him on the podium soon.
The Good Bonus: Fox Sports Showed the LCQ
Whoa! The LCQ on TV?? What is this?! Ha. It was very nice to see the 250 LCQ included in the program on Saturday. I guess the production team finally listened to the fan base after multiple weeks of complaining. Now, please, just leave it in the program for the rest of the season...
The Good Double Bonus: Phil Nicoletti | 5th Place
After a rough start to the season, Phil has really turned it around and has been putting in some sneaky good finishes these past few weeks. In Oakland, he was able to claim his best finish of the year with a fifth. He was also the top finishing JGR rider on the night, which I bet he was absolutely thrilled
about. Now I'm not sure how much more he'll improve from here, as the top four guys are pretty dang fast, but he should at least be able to land inside the top five a couple of more times before the season is over. What's the only bad thing about Phil doing so great? We don't get many BadNewsPhil
The Bad: Dan Reardon | 12th Place
Not the race Reardon was looking for. I believe that he got caught up in the craziness that followed Austin Forkner's crash, but 12th place isn't good for a guy on a factory bike regardless of where he started. He also got beat by several privateers, which is great for the privateers, but not great for Reardon. I'm just going to assume that he had another issue due to how insanely rough the track was and hope that he'll bounce back next week.
The Ugly: Austin Forkner | DNF
It just wasn't Forkner's night. He had several close calls during qualifying and then crashed in both his heat race and the main event.
Luckily, it sounds like he's alright and will be on the line this coming weekend in Arlington. I'll admit it; I was one of the guys who thought that Austin could be a threat for the title in his rookie season. I, like many others, turned out to be wrong. Not to say that he hasn't had a great rookie season so far, but many of us had much higher expectations for him than we should've. What can I say? It's just hard to not give into the hype sometimes.
The Good: Cooper Webb | 3rd Place
Talk about a complete turnaround. The Cooper Webb we've seen the past few rounds looks completely
different from the Cooper Webb we saw at A1 and San Diego. He's fast, confident, and comfortable–and that's a dangerous combination. I do think that the roughness of the track got to him a bit in Oakland, so he backed off a little, but it was a still a very impressive performance. At the rate of his progression, he'll probably grab a second-place finish very soon and perhaps a win. Yamaha should be very pleased with their investment so far.
The Good Bonus: Eli Tomac | 1st Place
"Hand the title to Dungey." Whoa, hold on a second there. Tomac may have something to say about that statement. He came from way back (alright eighth isn't way
back, but still pretty far back) and straight up passed Dungey for the win in Oakland. He didn't get tired and he didn't back it down because of the roughness of the track; he just kept throwing down fast lap after fast lap. The only problem is that he only gained three points on Dungey in the standings and is now 17 down. Is it possible for Tomac to challenge for the title? Absolutely, but he will have to be very smart over the next few races. One terrible start, one bad finish, or one crash may give Dungey the advantage he needs to win his third straight crown. Tomac needs to win often, but take podium finishes when they're right in front of him as well. Because if he pushes too hard or tries to overcompensate for a bad start, there's a good chance that he'll crash and lose some very valuable points. Dallas is a big race for both Dungey and Tomac.
The Bad: Malcolm Stewart | 17th Place
The speed is there. We've seen it in timed qualifying and in heat races, but Malcolm has to keep it on two wheels for an entire main event. He's three for three on crashes, and zero for three on top-ten finishes in the main events. Whatever it takes to finish a main, even if it's toning down the speed just a tad, he needs to do it. Hopefully he has a solid finish in Dallas.
The Ugly: Justin Bogle | DNF
Like Malcolm, the potential is there with Bogle. He has shown flashes of speed in heat races and semis, but he hasn't been able to put it together during the main events. Granted, it wasn't really a performance issue in Oakland as he crashed out, but the point still stands. This is also a pretty big year for Bogle as he only has a one year contract with RCH Suzuki and has yet to have an injury-free 450 season, so it's pretty important that he puts in some solid finishes. Anyway, I'd really like to see what he could do with a good start and a crash-free opening lap–maybe that'll happen in Dallas.
Words by Grant Dawson
Photos by Steve Giberson