Jason Anderson wins Supercross finale in Salt Lake City, ties Tomac with seven wins

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With the sun setting over Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Jason Anderson won the Monster Energy Supercross season finale as the 2022 champion Eli Tomac watched from the sidelines and nursed a knee injury sustained in Atlanta.

A spate of run-ins with Malcom Stewart and Justin Barcia left Anderson on the ground too many times, but with a run of four consecutive victories in the final races of the season, he was able to tie Tomac for the most wins on the season to share those bragging rights.

“It’s surreal to be riding this good,” Anderson told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “It’s surreal to have this many wins after the past couple of years. I’ve been on a dry run; I haven’t had many wins and to be able to have a year like this, switch teams, and have everything come to fruition that I worked for. It’s amazing.”

Anderson’s starts in 2022 have been spectacular and he got up front quickly again, trailing the hole shot winner Justin Bogle and Chase Sexton.

Bogle fell back to 12th, but Sexton was able to cling to second in the race.

But, with Tomac already crowned champion and Anderson taking a solid lead on the track, the focus shifted to the battle for third in the points between Malcolm Stewart, Justin Barcia and Marvin Musquin.

Click here for full 450 Main results

They gave the fans their money’s worth.

Stewart was the fastest rider in the middle stage of the race. He charged through the field and made a clean pass on Barcia for third, still thinking he had time to catch the leader Anderson. Barcia cleaned him out in retaliation, riding straight into the side of Stewart’s bike without even attempting to make the turn. Stewart was pitched from the bike.

Stewart regained his seat and mounted a charge that had the crowd on their feet, screaming for him to catch Barcia. Stewart rapidly closed the distance, but lost the chance to re-pass Barcia for the final podium position when he lost time to a lapped rider.

Barcia finished third, but his aggressive move earlier in the race was not enough to take third in the points away from Stewart, who finished the race a close fourth.

“I was just putting a charge in and Justin just straight-up, t-boned me,” Stewart told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “We’ve been racing clean all year long and that was dirty, I’ll be straight up.

“We’re definitely going to have a talk after this race, but overall I’m here to have fun.”

Barcia finished two points behind Stewart, fourth in the standings, but after the race he was fined and docked 10 points by Supercross. That dropped him to fifth in the standings.

“Obviously the fans are not happy,” Barcia said. “We’re racing for third in points. I was doing everything I could. It was an aggressive pass; I’m going to own that. But what am I going to say? I’m out there racing for the championship. That’s what I wanted: third. I was going for it. I’d like to think he would have done the same thing, but maybe not.

“Sorry guys, but I’m here racing for a living. This is what I do. Bring the boos, but love it or hate it, this is me since Day 1.”

The final rider in the battle for third in the standings, Musquin rounded out the top five.

Cooper Webb closed out his disappointing title defense with a sixth-place finish. This is the first winless Supercross season for Webb since 2018 when his best finish was a third at Daytona. Webb announced before the season finale, that he’s decided to skip the outdoor season following his fourth-place run last year.

In 250s Christian Craig, 30, needed to only finish 14th in the East/West Shootout to wrap up the title. And since he has swept the podium in every race this season, that seemed like a good bet. He won his heat convincingly, but perhaps in an effort to protect his advantage, he rode cautiously in the main. After winning the hole shot, he fell back in the pack.

Craig made the race interesting with an easy fall about a third of the way through the feature. He dropped to sixth, but still had a 15-second lead over the rider 15th on the track and could afford to ride a safe race. Ultimately, he slipped to eighth at the checkers, which was more than enough to wrap up the title.

Fighting back tears from the podium, Craig shared his No. 1 plate with his son.

“This feels like a dream right now,” Craig said. “It’s the people around me; the people I surround myself with, from my trainer to my wife – my kids are here to celebrate with me.

“I wrote on a white board at the start of the season, with my wife, a picture of this plate and I wrote down what it was going to take. It’s real. I got it. I couldn’t be prouder of my team.”

Nate Thrasher won the race, denying Lawrence a final win in his championship bid.

“It hasn’t been the best season for me and the team, but we put it all together tonight and I fell like that is what we’ve been missing,” Thrasher said.

Click here for full 250 Main results

Lawrence finished second in the race and the championship.

“It was a heck of a season,” Lawrence said afterward. “Definitely some ups and downs. We got three wins in a row, four altogether. It was a good season.

“I have to give it up to my team, we all work together so hard. I was second last year, Second again. It’s a bummer to fall short , but there’s progression in it. I can complain too much.”

After wrapping up his championship at Foxborough, Jett Lawrence told NBC Sports that his priority shifted to doing all he could to help his brother Hunter Lawrence win in the 250 West class. He didn’t get a chance after crashing in the first qualification session and suffering a slight sprain to his right ankle.

After falling twice in his heat and being pushed into the Last Chance Qualifier, Pierce Brown started sixth and took the final spot on the podium.

RJ Hampshire in fourth and Jo Shimoda rounded out the top five.

Hampshire’s top five kept him second in the championship by a nine-point margin over Brown.


RACE RECAPS

ROUND 1, ANAHEIM: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener

ROUND 2, OAKLAND: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season

ROUND 3, SAN DIEGO: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins

ROUND 4, ANAHEIM: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead

ROUND 5, GLENDALE: Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown

ROUND 6, ANAHEIM: Anderson ties Tomac with two 2022 wins

ROUND 7, MINNEAPOLIS: Anderson does it again and closes to within three of Tomac

ROUND 8, ARLINGTON: Tomac wins overall as Anderson takes two features

ROUND 9, DAYTONA: History made as Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record

ROUND 10, DETROIT: Tomac wins incident-filled, third consecutive

ROUND 11, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac extends lead as competition falters

ROUND 12, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac wins fifth straight and sets sights on 2022 championship

ROUND 13, ST LOUIS: Marvin Musquin scores first win of 2022 in Triple Crown format

ROUND 14, ATLANTA: Anderson keeps the pressure on with win

ROUND 15, FOXBOROUGH: Anderson’s second straight win pushes battle one more week

ROUND 16, DENVER: Anderson wins the battle; Tomac wins the war

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

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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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.