The 2019 450 season has been dominated by Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, but in the past few weeks other riders have been making a considerable amount of noise.
Roczen drew first blood by winning at Hangtown and for the next three races those two riders alternated wins and dominated the Moto victories. Between them, they have now won eight of the first 10 Motos.
But the last two weeks have witnessed fresh faces on the top step of the podium.
Last week’s victory by Marvin Musquin marked the first time someone other than Tomac or Roczen broke into Victory Lane. Musquin won Moto 1 – becoming only the fourth different rider to win a Moto this year. He finished third in Moto 2 to secure his overall victory.
Musquin winning was not exactly a surprise, however. He is one of the seven riders so far this season who swept the top 10. And with a second-place finish at Pala and a worst of sixth at Hangtown and High Point, he has never been very far back from the leaders.
Zach Osborne, Jason Anderson, Cooper Webb and Justin Barcia are the other riders with perfect records of top-10s and they occupy the top seven positions in the standings.
While there have been seven riders who have swept the top 10, that has left the door open for seven others to make their mark.
The assault on Tomac and Roczen actually began at High Point in Round 4. Blake Baggett became the first rider other than Tomac or Roczen to win a Moto. He fell in Moto 2 and dropped to 15th, but that was enough to give him a seventh-place overall finish.
With the exception of the mistake at High Point that cost him an opportunity to score a top-five, Baggett’s consistency is what has allowed him keep the leaders in sight. Baggett has finished between seventh and 10th four times this year and that places him eighth in the standings.
A disastrous Moto 1 at Pala in Round 2 kept Baggett from joining the seven riders who’ve swept the top 10.
Rounding out the top 10 in points are Dean Ferris and Justin Bogle and like Baggett, they secured their spot among the elite with a majority of strong runs.
On the strength of top-10s at Hangtown, Thunder Valley, and WW Ranch last week, Ferris sits ninth in the standings. Consistency has been one of Ferris’ hallmarks this season with all five of his efforts landing between eighth and 11th.
Bogle’s three top-10s came at Hangtown, Thunder Valley, and High Point – but he has been unable to finish better than ninth this season and is a relatively distant 10th in the points – 15 markers behind Ferris. Bogle’s consistency rivaled Ferris until last week. In the first four rounds of the season, he finished between ninth and 12th; last week he fell to 15th with a pair of modest Motos in the sandy soil of Florida.
Fredrik Noren is the only other rider with a pair of top-10s. He finished ninth at Pala and WW Ranch and those two strong runs played a role in securing him a ride with the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team this week in Southwick.
Justin Hill (seventh at Pala), Joey Savatgy (eighth at High Point) and Cole Seely (10th at Pala) round out the riders with top-10 finishes this season.