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10 Things to watch: Thunder Valley

US Pro Motocross 2016

maddix park mx

www.racerxonline.com By Aaron Hansel and Jason Weigandt

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The Former Leader
Joey Savatgy left Hangtown with a fifteen-point lead over Alex Martin, which is quite a large margin after just one round. So large in fact we even wondered if it was the largest points lead anyone’s ever had after the opener (it’s not, Sebastien Tortelli led Mike LaRocco by sixteen after 1999’s opening round). Yet somehow Savatgy left Glen Helen without the red plate! Some bad starts held him to moto finishes just inside the top ten. We’ll see if the former points leader can rebound and ride like he did at Hangtown this Saturday at Thunder Valley. –Aaron Hansel

The Current Leader
What a day Alex Martin had last week at the FMF Glen Helen National! Not only did he win his first career National, he took the points lead in the process. Clearly, the older Martin brother came into Lucas Oil Pro Motocross on another level—he’s riding better than he’s ever ridden in his life! But holding the points lead and dealing with the hype and pressure that come with the red plate is something he has no experience with. Will it affect him? –Hansel

Last Year’s Leader
Jeremy Martin didn’t win Glen Helen, but he came very close to it. Had Austin Forkner not dropped out of second place when he made a mistake in the second moto, Martin would have won. And if Jessy Nelson had been able to hold off Alex Martin late in Moto Two, J-Mart would have won. So, the champ was close to taking his first win of the season. You know it’s going to happen sooner or later, and with two rounds already down, he’s due for a win in Thunder Valley. –Hansel

Is Barcia going to get hot?
Is Barcia going to get hot?Cudby

Next Year’s Leader?
There was no shortage of hype surrounding Forkner before the gate dropped on his pro career, and boy has he lived up to it. He’s been great so far—eighth at Hangtown and fourth at Glen Helen—and if not for a mistake in the second moto he just might have ended up in second overall in just his second race as a pro. That’s spectacular, and with performances like that you’ve got to think his first career podium is just around the corner. Heck, even a win isn’t out of the question for this talented rookie! When? Where? Now? –Hansel

The Would Be Leader
It’s weird to think Cooper Webb has never held a points lead in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, but now Webb’s dealing with a broken wrist, he’s only two points down, which is closer to the points lead than he’s ever been! We probably won’t ever know the true extent of the pain Webb’s dealing with, but it’s obvious it’s not preventing him from competing. If he keeps it up, Webb and his healing scaphoid could be holding the red plate up after Thunder Valley. -Hansel

Follow the Leaders
Webb, the Martins, Aaron Plessinger, even rookie Mitchell Harrison…everyone on a Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha is going fast right now, at one point at Glen Helen they had five bikes inside the top nine, and they swept the podium.

Chasing The Leaders
Maybe this track owes Eli Tomac something. He just can’t get over the hump this year, and we saw similar stuff from supercross in these first two nationals (blazing in practice, not able to replicate that in the races). But the ghost of 2015 is still out there somewhere, and the second moto last week was his best yet. Tomac is certainly capable of giving Roczen and Dungey all they can handle. It would be sweet justice if he turned it all around at the place that took it all away. – Jason Weigandt

It's good to have Cianciarulo back at the races and just staying injury free would be a good goal. Oh, who are we kidding? We want even more competition at the front!
It's good to have Cianciarulo back at the races and just staying injury free would be a good goal. Oh, who are we kidding? We want even more competition at the front!Cudby

Could be a Leader
Adam Cianciarulo has missed a lot of time over the last few years and appears to just be working his way back into race shape right now. But it’s hard to be patient when there’s so much pent up demand to see what the guy can do. Hopefully at some point AC gets back to full strength and gives the lead pack a run, but right now he’s just building a base. Shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. – Weigandt

Has Been a Leader
Uh oh, it’s trending downward for Justin Barcia again. After a rough supercross season the nationals presented a chance for a fresh start, but it’s still not looking so good. The only good news is that this is a mirror image of last season, and he did eventually turn it around. So does that make a run inevitable, or does lightning only strike once? – Weigandt

Joey's points lead sure didn't last long. Can he get it back?
Joey's points lead sure didn't last long. Can he get it back?Cudby

The Leading Man
Every year it’s the same story: some dude versus Ryan Dungey. This year’s dude is Ken Roczen, last year it was Tomac, then Roczen, then Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart, Chad Reed…lots of talent in and out but Dungey remains the constant. Half the time he has come up as champion. How will he respond to the challenge from this year's dude? -- Weigandt 

 
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