Eli Tomac scores first 2019 Supercross win at San Diego

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Round 5 of the 2019 Supercross season came down to who made the least costly mistake. Eli Tomac got hung up on a tough block with three laps remaining and lost 10 seconds while he extricated himself. Fortunately, he had a 26 second lead at the time and held his advantage. His trouble wasn’t over yet, however; on the final lap, he also had to avoid a fallen Alex Ray before he was able to ascend to the top step of the podium.

With his win, Tomac took the points lead.

Marvin Musquin took advantage of a bobble by Roczen on the final straight of the final lap to score his third consecutive runner-up finish.

Roczen grabbed the hole shot, but gave the lead away when he fell off the first tabletop. Roczen recovered and climbed to second until Musquin passed him on the final lap. He crossed under the checkers third, to score his fifth top-five in five races this season.

“I got a perfect start,” Roczen told NBCSN after the race. “I really jumped out of the gate – hooked up great. Almost went down in the first turn. It was really slippery. I threw it away in the second turn over there. I couldn’t believe it because having a clear track there would have really helped.”

Mud is a great equalizer and it contributed to a pair of best season finishes for the drivers finishing fourth and fifth. Fourth-place Justin Bogle’s previous best this year was a 10th in last week’s Oakland race. Chad Reed finished fifth after scoring ninths at Anaheim in the opener and again at Oakland.

Rain pelted San Diego before the race began making this the muddiest weekend of the season. As a result of the conditions, the Main events for both the 450 and 250 class were shortened by five minutes.

In total, more than half the field scored or tied their best result of the season including sixth-place Aaron Plessinger and seventh-place Joey Savatgy.

Justin Hill crashed in qualification. He was taken to the hospital to evaluate whether he sustained a rib injury.

On Lap 6, Cooper Webb went down while running fifth. Webb got hard on the brake when Musquin stopped abruptly in front of him. Webb fell to eighth in the rundown and lost his points lead. Webb left San Diego fourth in the standings – eight markers behind Tomac.

Complete Results
Points Standings

250s

It is important to get an early lead with a heavy track – especially in a shortened Main. By Lap 3, Adam Cianciarulo had a 12-second lead over Dylan Ferrandis. With his sizeable lead, Cianciarulo was able to ride a smart race and finished 8.574 seconds ahead of Garrett Marchbanks to score his third victory of the season. With that win, he took the points lead as the West division takes a couple of weeks off.

Marchbank’s second-place finish was a career best.

James Decotis scored his best finish of the season in third. It was his second top five, following a fifth at Glendale.

Shane McElrath had a terrible weekend. He dropped to 16th in his heat and had to use the LCQ to advance. He fell again early in the Main and was forced to work his way from 20th on Lap 1. McElrath climbed all the way to fourth and missed the podium by one position.

Jess Pettis rounded out the top five in fifth and scored his best career result.

Colt Nichols entered San Diego with the points lead by three over Cianciarulo. He was a victim of the mud on the opening laps and dropped to 15th-place position at the end of Lap 3. He finished 10th and lost three positions in the standings.

On the last lap, Dylan Ferrandis got stuck in the mud and could not make his way to the finish line. He dropped from second to seventh with the incident.

Complete Results
Points Standings

450 Heat 1: Ken Roczen needed the confidence that comes with a heat win – and he got it. … Points leader Cooper Webb had a promising start to the weekend with his second place finish. … Joey Savatgy rounded out the top three. … Justin Barcia won the opening round of the Supercross season in the mud at Anaheim; he finished fourth in his Round 5 heat.

450 Heat 2: Eli Tomac took the lead from Aaron Plessinger on the final lap of the heat as the two riders finished 1-2. … Plessinger and Justin Bogle swapped the lead on Lap 1. … Marvin Musquin finished third. … Bogle went down twice midway through the heat. He recovered with the lead after the first fall; he was less fortunate with the second trip to the ground while trying to clear his clutch handle of mud. Bogle faded to fifth, but finished in a transfer position.

450 Last Chance Qualifier: Ben Lamay made his third Main of the season; he finished 18th in both Anaheim races. … Lamay beat Theodore Pauli, Alex Ray and Carlen Gardner, who also transferred. This is Pauli’s first Main.

250 Heat 1: Dylan Ferrandis mastered the mud in the first heat and beat Adam Cianciarulo by .774 seconds. Enzo Lopes finished a distant 30 seconds behind in third. In the six-minute, heat only seven riders finished on the lead lap. … On the opening lap, Jerry Robin caught the edge of a jump and ate the landing.

250 Heat 2: RJ Hampshire found the inside rut in Turn 1 of Lap 1 and grabbed the lead over points leader Colt Nichols; they held their positions until the checkers. It was the second heat win of the year. … James Decotis rounded out the top three. … Shane McElrath – who was third entering the event – got mired behind Hampshire at the gate drop and fell back early. He kept falling and finished 16th in the 20-bike field.

250 Last Chance Qualifier: Garrett Marchbanks scored his first LCQ victory over Shane McElrath. Deegan Vonlossberg and Chris Howell also advanced to the Main.

Points Leaders

450s
Eli Tomac (106) (1 win)
Marvin Musquin (102)
Ken Roczen (102)
Cooper Webb (98) (2)
Blake Baggett (80) (1)
Dean Wilson (80)

250s West
Adam Cianciarulo (114 points) (3 wins)
Shane McElrath (106) (1)
Colt Nichols (104) (1)
Dylan Ferrandis (102)
RJ Hampshire (75)

450 top 5s

Ken Roczen: 5
Eli Tomac: 5
Marvin Musquin: 4
Cooper Webb: 3
Dean Wilson: 2
Blake Baggett: 2
Jason Anderson: 1
Justin Barcia: 1
Justin Bogle: 1
Chad Reed: 1

250 top 5s

Adam Cianciarulo: 5
Shane McElrath: 5
Colt Nichols: 4
RJ Hampshire: 3
Dylan Ferrandis: 3
James Decotis: 2
Jacob Hayes: 1
Garrett Marchbanks: 1
Jess Pettis: 1

Next race: February 9, US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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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.