Dungey, Musquin sweep Motocross races at Washougal

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It was a banner day for two of the Red Bull KTM riders, as Ryan Dungey swept both motos in the 450 Class, and Marvin Musquin accomplished the same feat in the 250 Class at today’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship race at Washougal.

The one Red Bull KTM team member that will leave the Pacific Northwest feeling disappointed is current 450 Class points leader Ken Roczen. Despite finishing third in both motos, Roczen’s points lead over Dungey shrank from 24 to 14 points with three rounds to go.

The field was dominated throughout the day by Dungey, who kicked things off by setting the pace as the top qualifier in practice. His momentum carried over into the races, as a pair of strong starts put him near the front of the pack in both motos. He was able to move into the lead by the end of the first lap in both motos and went on to lead all 32 laps of racing.

The 1-1 sweep gave Dungey his third overall win of the season and his fourth 450 Class win at Washougal in the last five years.

Eli Tomac, who posted a sweep of his own last week at Spring Creek, finished second behind Dungey in both motos, giving him second overall for the day. Roczen’s 3-3 scores earned him the final spot on the overall podium.

While Roczen seemed to be on cruise control early in the season, he’s now hitting a mild slump and hasn’t captured an overall victory in his last three attempts. He’ll hold on to the red plate, which signifies his points lead, for another week but will need to return to form in order to fend off Dungey’s championship charge.

Watch the recap of 450 Moto 2:

In the 250 Class, Marvin Musquin became just the fifth rider to win a moto this season. Like Dungey, he was the fastest qualifier in his class and then went on to sweep both of his motos en route to his first overall victory in over a year.

Musquin caught and passed Jeremy Martin to take over the lead in the first moto, using his momentum off one of the jumps to propel himself past the current points leader. Musquin then had to contend with Justin Bogle in the second moto. Bogle led more than half of that moto before succumbing to Musquin on Lap 10.

While Musquin is not in title contention, the three riders who are – Martin, Cooper Webb and Blake Baggett – saw little change in their championship standings. Baggett finished second overall with 5-2 moto results but picked up just two points on both Martin (4-4) and Webb (3-5), who earned third and fourth overall, respectively.

Martin will retain his 43-point edge on Webb headed into the next round at Unadilla, which will come in two weeks.

Watch the recap of 250 Moto 2:

Washougal 450 Class Overall Results
1. Ryan Dungey (1-1)
2. Eli Tomac (2-2)
3. Ken Roczen (3-3)
4. Brett Metcalfe (5-4)
5. Andrew Short (6-5)
6. Weston Peick (7-6)
7. Trey Canard (4-11)
8. Fredrik Noren (9-7)
9. Justin Brayton (8-8)
10. Christian Craig (10-12)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 results in parenthesis

Washougal 250 Class Overall Results
1. Marvin Musquin (1-1)
2. Blake Baggett (5-2)
3. Jeremy Martin (4-4)
4. Cooper Webb (3-5)
5. Justin Bogle (7-3)
6. Joey Savatgy (6-7)
7. Dean Wilson (8-6)
8. Christophe Pourcel (2-15)
9. Cole Seely (9-9)
10. Jessy Nelson (11-10)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 results in parenthesis

F1 Preview: 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Photo: Getty Images
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Save for two occasions, in 2006, and 2010, the Australian Grand Prix has served as the season-opening event for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 1996, and this weekend’s event will be the 21st time that the city of Melbourne has kicked off the Formula 1 campaign.

The 2018 season is the fifth one of the current hybrid power unit era, the second season of the current aero regulations, and the second under Liberty Media’s guidance.

Last year saw titans Mercedes AMG Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari duel for supremacy for most of the season before Mercedes distanced Ferrari late in the season to take the constructor’s title and the driver’s title, with Lewis Hamilton, who is now tied with Sebastian Vettel on four world championships apiece.

Four drivers on the grid have Formula 1 world championships to their name: Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso. Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also has a world championship to his name as a two-time titlist in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

So, what can viewers expect from the 2018 curtain-raiser in Australia? A handful of things to watch are below?

2018 Australian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Does Anyone Have Anything for Mercedes?

Only on one day during pre-season testing did a Mercedes driver lead the way – Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the final day of Week 1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, all indications were that was by design, with the team focusing the majority of the second week, if not the entire second week, on long runs with their W09 EQ Power+ chassis.

Such a decision is an ominous one, in that it indicates the team is very comfortable with the amount of speed in the car and did not see a need, or desire, to show their hand during testing.

With that in mind, the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas may yet again have the best and fastest cars, and the team looks poised to potentially make it five constructor’s and driver’s championships in a row.

Ferrari and Red Bull Look to End Mercedes Reign

The biggest threats to Mercedes are undoubtedly Ferrari and Red Bull, the only other teams to win in 2017.

And both teams displayed a lot of pace during testing, particularly in the “one-lap speed” category. Ricciardo set a lap record around the Catalunya circuit during the second week, only for Vettel to supplant that mark later in the week. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen led the way during the final day of testing.

It is unknown how that pace will translate over the course of a race distance. Mercedes appeared to have an edge on both Ferrari and Red Bull over long runs and race simulations, but there is also a theory that neither Ferrari nor Red Bull had their true long-run form on display.

Still, if a team is going to knock off Mercedes, it will likely be either Ferrari or Red Bull.

McLaren on the Rebound?

Put simply, the previous three seasons for McLaren F1 Team were a bit of a disaster. Their partnership with Honda yielded point totals of 27 (2015), 76 (2016), and 30 (2017) in a three-year venture that was defined by poor reliability and underwhelming power.

The relationship hit a boiling point last year and both entities parted ways ahead of the 2018 season, with McLaren signing a new power unit deal with Renault.

Testing went better than in previous years, though the team continued to battle reliability problems. However, all issues appeared to be minor, needling issues rather than more significant, foundational problems, as the other Renault teams (Red Bull and Renault Sport F1 Team) had solid runs with few reliability issues.

The car does appear to have speed in it, so if the reliability problems are behind them, McLaren could be in for a rebound season.

Stuck in the Midfield Again

Formula 1’s battle amongst the midfield is set to be as fierce as ever as a host of a several teams have a chance at being “best of the rest.”

Sahara Force India has been the frontrunner from the the midfield teams each of the last two years, finishing fourth in the constructor’s title in both 2016 and 2017, though if the steady conflict between drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez continues through 2018, it could hamper their efforts significantly.

Renault Sport F1 Team and Haas F1 Team look to improve on their 2017 form, while Toro Rosso is in a new partnership with Honda power units…and has experienced a surprisingly smooth pre-season as Honda’s 2018 platform looks significantly better, with the team enjoying a solid run of testing with few, if any, reliability problems.

Williams Martini Racing and Alfa Romeo Sauber appear to be at the back of the pack entering the season, but both could battle for points finishes if those ahead of them falter.