2019 Supercross schedule announced, triple crown returns

Supercrosslive.com
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On the heels of his $1 million win and triple crown championship, Eli Tomac is already anticipating the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season. The 17-race season drew more than one million fans in 2018.

“We’re really looking forward to defending the Triple Crown Championship in 2019,” Tomac said in a press release. “The team was excited to take home the inaugural championship last year, and the three Main Event format is the same as the Monster Energy Cup, which we just recently won. Of course, the goal is always to win the overall Supercross Championship, but these races should be fun for the fans because they are short, fast and intense.”

In 2019, the three cities to host the Triple Crown will Anaheim, California at Angel Stadium, Detroit’s Ford Field, and Houston’s NRG Stadium.

Anaheim’s race will run on January 19 in conjunction with the third race on the schedule. Detroit will be held February 23 and Houston will run on March 30.

During these weekends, three Main Events will be run instead of the typical one. Qualification races will advance 22 riders into the mains in each class. Olympic-style scoring will allow contribute to the riders’ overall position, which in turn will award championship points.

I addition, two 250SX class East/West Showdown races are part of the schedule. On March 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and May 4 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The fastest 22 riders from both regions will get a rare opportunity to race head-to-head in these events.

“I think the East/West showdowns are really cool and a fun change in the schedule, especially for the fans,” said Christian Craig of GEICO Honda. “The best part is probably finding out which coast is more dominant or if they are pretty even.”

The 2019 season will also feature the highly anticipated runs of four rookies in the premier class. Joey Savatgy, Justin Hill, Zach Osborne and Aaron Plessinger will all debut on 450s January 5 at Angel Stadium. 

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.