Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross

Marvin Musquin wins back to back MX races at Southwick

Leave a comment

For the second straight week, Marvin Musquin scored the overall win at The Wick 338 in Southwick, Mass. to shave a few points off Eli Tomac’s points lead.

Musquin won Moto 1, finished second in Moto 2 and banked 47 points to gain five on Tomac for the day.

“Winning Southwick means a lot,” Musquin said on NBC Sports Gold after finishing second in Moto 2 and winning the overall.

Musquin had to keep Tomac at bay for two reasons. Most importantly, he desperately needs the points that would have swung with the pass if he want to have any hope of catching Tomac for the championship.

More Importantly, he is a racer and racers want to win.

Counting the Moto finishes in his head, he worried for a moment that Zach Osborne’s pair of podium finishes might displace him from the top. Then he realized the 1-2 he would come home with provided the overall win – but only if he stayed in second. If he lost the spot to Tomac, the tiebreaker would go to Osborne.

So Musquin dug even deeper and held Tomac at bay.

“I charged pretty hard because Tomac was charging from behind, but he kind of gave up at the end and I was glad,” Musquin said. “Zach rode really well; I couldn’t do anything (with him).”

Osborne took consolation in winning his first career Moto. With a 3-1, he finished second overall.

“It’s awesome to get a win and get it out of the way on a gnarly track,” Osborne said after the race. “I was close last weekend, but I didn’t have anything at the end.

“And the same today. If there had been an attack, I’m not sure if I could have withstood it.”

Tomac faded to fifth early in Moto 1, but he was able to recover and climbed back to second in that race. Considering how badly he has performed in the first races this year, this was almost as good as a win.

Tomac got an even worse start in Moto 2 and ended Lap 1 in ninth. As has been his trend all season, he charged back to the lead pack and finished third in the race. His 2-3 allowed him to take third overall and minimize his points loss.

Cooper Webb finished 4-4 and finished fourth overall.

Rounding out the top five was Jason Anderson with a 7-5.

It was a disastrous day for Ken Roczen. He fell to 12th in Moto 1 after fading badly in the second half of the race. Moto 2 was more of the same. Roczen raced among the top five early, but as the clock clicked down into the single digits, he faded again and finished 10th. With a 12-10, Roczen finished ninth overall and lost 22 points to Tomac in the championship.

Roczen’s loss at the end of the race was privateer John Short’s gain. The Texas rider who made the long haul to Massachusetts made the pass for ninth on the final lap.

Another feel-good story on the day belonged to Fredrik Noren, who took his new factory Suzuki to a fifth-place finish in Moto 1. He backed that up with a seventh in Moto 2 and finished seventh overall.

Aaron Plessinger returned to the field this week and finished 18-16 for a 16th ovrall.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

The top three in the 250 points standings are there for a reason.

Finishing 1-2-3 in Moto 1, Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Cooper and Dylan Ferrandis rode nearly the entire race in the top three.

Cianciarulo would go on to win the Moto and that gave him enough momentum to head into the second race and capture his fifth overall win in the first six races. With a 1-2, he bettered Ferrandis’ 3-1 by one position.

“I try to make good decisions as I’ve matured as a racer,” Cianciarulo said. “You just learn and luckily I have a great team I can learn from and lean on.

“I managed the race for sure. I’m not sure if I had Dylan’s pace in that (second) Moto; He’s really fast here; really fast in general. He rode great. He deserved that one. I think I rode smart. Made good decisions.”

Ferrandis did all he could in Moto 2 by passing Cianciarulo just past the halfway mark and then stretching his advantage to 10 seconds. Last year’s winner of this race won the second Moto for his second straight race win in the past two weeks.

Ferrandis slipped outside of the top three in Moto 1 briefly, but got a much better start than he has all season. That made a huge difference.

Cooper finished third overall with a 2-3, giving all three points’ leaders a sweep of the podium positions.

Ferrandis gained three points on Cooper, who currently sits second in the standings. He lost two points to Cianciarulo, however, who now has a 23-point advantage over Cooper and is 37 points ahead of Ferrandis.

RJ Hampshire was the best of the rest in both Motos. Finishing 4-4, he landed fourth in the overall.

Shane McElrath earned his best Moto finish of the season with a sixth in Moto 1. He almost backed that up with an equally strong performance in Moto 2, but his seventh in that race was good enough to allow him to round out the top five.

Seventh in Moto 1, Brandon Hartranft also earned his best Moto finish of the season. Like McElrath, he slipped one position in Moto 2 and finished eighth. He landed seventh on the overall grid.

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Moto Wins

450MX
[5] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch II)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[2] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, The Wick I)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)
[1] Zach Osborne (The Wick II)

250MX
[5] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, The Wick I)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[2] Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, The Wick II)
[1] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I)
[1] Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)

Next race: RedBud, Buchanan, Mich., July 6

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

Leave a comment

Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”