Cooper Webb grabs 250SX victory with aggressive last-lap pass at Anaheim II Supercross

0 Comments

One week after earning his first-career Supercross victory in the 250 Class, Cooper Webb took the checkered flag once again Saturday at Anaheim, turning in an incredible ride.

Webb got off to a poor start in the main event, leaving him 12th after the first lap while Zach Osborne and points leader Jessy Nelson did battle out front. Nelson passed Osborne to grab the race lead but threw it away on Lap 8 after clipping his rear tire on the over/under jump and crashing. With Nelson losing several spots, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers inherited the top spot and looked to be in position to win the race and take possession of the points lead.

Meanwhile, Webb continued his charge through the field and by the final lap of the race, the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was up to second place and hot on the heels of Bowers. With the checkered flag nearly in sight, Bowers went high on one of the final turns and left the door open for Webb to make an aggressive pass for the lead. Webb dove inside of Bowers, making enough contact to send him into the tuff blocks and off the track.

Bowers recovered to finish in second, while Webb cruised to his second-straight victory. Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill rounded out the podium.

Known to have a propensity for aggressive riding of his own, Bowers did not take issue with Webb’s pass after the race. In fact, the two training partners even praised each other’s racing when all was said and done.

Saturday night’s events also led to a shakeup in the 250SX point standings. Nelson will give up the points lead to Webb, who now holds a 4-point edge on both Nelson and Bowers and will run the red plate next week in Oakland for the first time in his career.

Anaheim II 250SX Results
1. Cooper Webb
2. Tyler Bowers (-6.1 seconds)
3. Justin Hill
4. Zach Osborne
5. Malcolm Stewart

250SX Point Standings
1. Cooper Webb, 64
2. Jessy Nelson, 60
3. Tyler Bowers, 60
4. Zach Osborne, 54
5. Justin Hill, 53

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
0 Comments

Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.