10 Things to Watch: Glen Helen

US Pro Motocross 2016

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Glen Helen Animated Track Map  

By Aaron Hansel and Jason Weigandt

Alex Martin

It’s not surprising to see Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Alex Martin going fast out there—he’s been turning in some great results ever since getting his career back online with CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha. But if you’re honest, you probably didn’t have him pegged for second overall at Hangtown. You probably didn’t see him running down the leader Joey Savatgy in the second moto and pressuring him for the lead either. But now that he’s done both those things, you can bet people will be keeping a closer eye on what he does at the second round of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. –Aaron Hansel

The Other Martin

It’s weird to refer to the reigning champ as the “Other Martin,” but that’s what Jeremy was last week, going 3-9 for fifth overall. Yes, he went down when he got together with Austin Forkner in the second moto, but in the past we’ve seen Martin rip right back up to the front after incidents like that. Well, turns out he came into Hangtown feeling a bit sick and wasn’t 100 percent. Jeremy didn’t say anything about it but his brother Alex did in the post-race press conference. Let’s hope he’s in fighting shape coming into Glen Helen. -Hansel

Rough Rider

Want to know who set the fastest time in the second 250 Moto? Zach Osborne, that’s who, and he crossed the line just a few seconds after moto winner Joey Savatgy. Sure, the track wasn’t as rough as it normally gets, but it was certainly rougher in the second moto than the first. Osborne’s ability to be fastest when the track was at its roughest bodes well for his chances at Glen Helen, one of the roughest, nastiest tracks of the circuit. -Hansel

Jordon Smith looks for a second podium of the year at Glen Helen.
Jordon Smith looks for a second podium of the year at Glen Helen.Cudby

Up and Down

Is literally the kind of day GEICO Honda’s Jordon Smith had at Hangtown. He took an outstanding second place in the first moto and was putting together another superb ride in moto two, running fourth before getting punted over a berm by Alex Martin. It’s impossible to predict where he would have ended up if he hadn’t hit the dirt, but given Martin’s 8-2 moto scores earned him second overall, you’ve got to think Smith would’ve been on the box. We’ll see if he can get that podium back at Glen Helen. –Hansel

Return Fire

It’s not often we see Ryan Dungey get straight up beat these days, but that’s absolutely happened at Hangtown, and by the same rider who beat him most often in supercross, Ken Roczen. Obviously with just one race in the books there’s no call for major concern at Red Bull KTM, but Dungey doesn’t come to the races to lose. And even though the season is young, allowing Roczen to build confidence and momentum probably isn’t something Dungey wants to do. We’ll see how the champ responds to getting beaten so soundly at the opener. -Hansel 

Josh Helen

By now we all know Josh Grant specializes at Glen Helen. Many of the pros that have moved to California have adopted the SoCal track as a local haunt, but Grant gets his Glen Helen knowledge naturally—he grew up in Riverside, not far away. As one of the few top-level pros born and raised in SoCal (sounds strange but it's true) JG has a special ability to pin it at this track. In 2014 he won a moto here, last year he came in nursing injuries. Fully healthy now, how well can he do? –Jason Weigandt

What Kind of Year

Eli Tomac's debut Monster Energy Supercross season with Monster Energy Kawasaki was okay, but it wasn't great. Momentum late in the stadium tour pointed to greater things outdoors, but his Hangtown ride was again supercross-like: it was good, but it wasn't overwhelming like what we saw last year. Tomac looked visibly frustrated with his 4-4 performance on the podium last week. Can a return to a rougher track help? Will an extra week to dial in the Kawasaki do the trick? –Weigandt

Can Grant capture a moto win this weekend?
Can Grant capture a moto win this weekend?Cudby

Turn on the AC

It would have been a storybook tale for Adam Cianciarulo to end his nearly year-long absence from racing with a holeshot and some laps led—which is what happened last year at Hangtown—but alas this time he started mid-pack and couldn't break into the top ten. If he gets better starts this weekend, he could run at the pointier end of the field. But is he ready to do it after so much time off? –Weigandt

Not Handing it Over

Seemed like everyone outside of Cooper Webb's inner circle thought Cooper Webb was crazy for racing Hangtown. Navicular breaks are notoriously tough to heal, and many a rider has ruined their wrist forever trying to come back too early. Well, Cooper and company claim the wrist will be fine, the only fear was being a bit unprepared due to a lack of pre-season riding time. Turns out that wasn't a problem either, as his 4-5 scores prove. How much better will he get as the weeks go on? –Weigandt

Looking for Signs

The 450 class might be all-time deep on talent this summer, which means a lot of top riders are trying to stand out. You've got proven winners trying to find a way to stand out, like Marvin Musquin, Justin Barcia, Trey Canard and more. None of them were podium material, but they had a positive to carry forward: a rare good start for Canard, an improvement compared to supercross for Barcia, and some good speed in bursts for Musquin. In this crowded field, which rider will use this weekend to get some confidence rolling? –Weigandt

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