A Matthes Report: Mid-Season

Steve Matthes on the shocks and surprises

· 4 minutes read

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Before I get into this week's column too far… Boy, could I have been any more wrong about Freddie Noren having trouble adjusting to the JGR Suzuki in last week's column? Yeah, scratch that. Anyway, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships are half over. Who knew? Here are some thoughts from the half season that hasn't really turned out exactly how we thought it would be.

Doing What We Thought

250MX: Justin Cooper, Dylan Ferrandis, RJ Hampshire and Chase Sexton.

450MX: Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin, Jason Anderson, Zach Osborne, Cooper Webb, Dean Ferris and Justin Barcia.

(Monster Energy/Octopi)
The 250MX Surprises

Adam Cianciarulo: I mean, the fact he is leading the points isn't a huge surprise. He has got the pedigree for that, because of who he is, but five wins in the first six races? Yeah, no one had him for that. AC's been a model of consistency and makes everything work that's thrown at him. Bad start? Yeah he works his way up to a third. Not good in sand? Wins Southwick. The kid's on a roll here.

Michael Mosiman: He missed the race last weekend with injury, but the Rockstar Husky kid has taken his skills to a new level this outdoor season. It really started later in SX and he has carried right onto this motocross year. Not sure how serious his injury is, so we'll have to see if that stops his momentum. Mosiman's been a good surprise though.

Colt Nichols: I don't know.. I just think of Colt as an indoor kind of guy, but he's been pretty solid to start the motocross year. His fitness seems to be on point and of course he gets the starts with those Star Yamaha bikes. Nichols has been a surprise to me outdoors.

(Monster Energy/Octopi)

Alex Martin: Troll Train's one of the older guys in the class but, outside of that one second in the second moto at Hangtown, there have not been as many podiums as one would expect. He hasn't gotten the starts, but I'm not sure it's all the bike (I hear you people out there). He pulled starts on the Star Yamaha, sure, but he also did it on the TLD KTM, the Rock River bike and even the privateer Eleven-10 Mods machine. We need to see what he can do if he can figure out his starts again. He has got the worst first lap average out of any rider in the top fifteen in points, but the good news is that he is coming off his best two motos this past weekend in Southwick. RedBud is another good track for him too.

Hunter Lawrence: The Aussie kid has gotten a podium here and there, but it's been rougher for him than many of us thought. He skipped SX because he got hurt and had nothing but MX practice coming into the opener. The fact he had the jump on everyone and has not been more of a frontrunner has been a surprise. I think he will get it and be a guy at some point, but it  has just taken longer than I thought. Yeah, I know he has less time to get used to the tracks over here but so did Ken Roczen and Tyla Rattray to name a couple and they both got second in the series in their first year here. No one is freaking out here, but it has been a bit rougher than we thought.

(GEICO Honda)
The 450MX Surprises

Ken Roczen: It has been a tale of two series for Roczen. I think he was a surprise to be that good to start the series, because of the way his 450SX season ended, then I think we knew it would be tough for him, because of his physical issues he has been having. I also think it is a surprise that he has been hit that hard in the last three motos in the sand and heat. Fascinated to see what direction Roczen's motocross season goes this weekend with somewhat cooler temperatures.

Freddie Noren: Yeah, I was wrong. Noren's Southwick was very good. This was a guy that once turned Team Sweden's invite to the MXoN down, because it was in Lommel. His sand skills have improved quite a bit I would say. Fred missed all of last year with injury and has picked right back up where he left off in MX. Good for him and good for the JGR guys, so keep an eye on him as the season goes on.

Blake Baggett: There was the moto win and some good speed here and there from Blake but, overall, it has been a tough season for Baggett, a former national champion. It's been weird, man, and that moto win at High Point just made things worse for him, because we saw what he can do. Here is the thing though: He could catch fire very easily and win this weekend.

Cole Seely: Gotta feel for Seely, as he needed to stay injury free and build something after missing so much of 2018. Unfortunately, he got hurt with a shoulder injury and he'll miss the rest of the year. Bad deal for Cole, as his contract is up and his future is uncertain.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: GEICO Honda

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