GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s sometimes said that the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series doesn’t really get started until round two.
With all the nerves and anticipation of the opening round building up for months, the results are sometimes not indicative of what to expect for the rest of the series.
And if you add rain to the equation and it can throw things even farther off. Round two of the 2019 championship took place under the roof above State Farm Stadium, so mud was never going to be a factor. And in the end, Team Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS’ Blake Baggett took down a hard-earned first victory in his 450SX class career, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo won his first 250SX class race of 2019.
In the 450SX class, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen grabbed the holeshot from the far outside and assumed the lead in front of Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson, and Baggett.
Early on, it was the defending champ, Anderson, who was on the move, slamming his way by Musquin for second in the turn after the whoop section. Roczen had a decent gap, but Smartop/Motoconcepts/Bullfrog Spas Honda’s Malcolm Stewart went down in the whoops a handful of laps into the race and was down for long enough, and in enough of a precarious spot on the race track, that the race officials decided to throw the red flag.
Stewart was carted off the track and waved to the 52,807 relieved fans on-hand as he exited the stadium floor. The race was restarted with a staggered start, where the racers start in a single-file line in the order they were last scored across the finish line prior to the red flag.
Roczen resumed the lead, but Anderson was all over him and, in the same spot where he aggressively shoved his way by Musquin a few laps earlier, he dove underneath Roczen for the lead and tagged Roczen’s front wheel, causing the popular Honda rider to hit the deck as Anderson sped off with the lead.
Roczen got back up in fourth, but by this point, Baggett had worked his way past Musquin and into second place and began narrowing the gap on Anderson. With three laps to go, Baggett made a power move around the outside to take the lead from Anderson, after which Anderson seemed immediately to settle for second place.
Baggett went on to score the victory over Anderson and Roczen, who had passed Musquin for the final podium spot around the halfway point. Behind Roczen came Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac in fourth and then Musquin and round-one winner Justin Barcia (Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing).
Despite his crash from the Anderson collision, Roczen hung on for his second podium of the season and took over the series points lead.
Roczen carries the 450SX class points lead as the series heads back to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., this coming Saturday night, Jan. 19.