Aaron Plessinger retained the top spot in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Round 5 in Detroit, while Austin Forkner's perfect night of a heat and main win propelled him to the top of the 250 standings.
With a sixth-place finish in the Detroit Main, Plessinger lost the red plate but his Heat 1 win over Justin Cooper and Justin Barcia provided enough points to allow him to maintain the top position in our Power Rankings. Plessinger led seven of 10 laps in his Heat to carry his momentum forward but a poor start in the Main kept him from contending for that win. Plessinger was 14th when the field rounded the field for the first time, so his increase of eight positions in the Main's 20 laps kept him in consideration for the championship.
Cooper Webb found himself in much the same position as Plessinger. He was solid in his Heat with a fifth-place finish but that was not enough to give him a good gate pick for the Main and he completed the first lap in 12th. Webb steadily moved through the field but couldn't quite find the podium and finished fourth with a gap of almost seven seconds to Ken Roczen.
Jett Lawrence was the big winner at Detroit. He moved up only one position in the Power Rankings because the struggles at San Francisco and San Diego in the mud continue to haunt him, but he had the same dominant performance that marked the season opener in Anaheim. With a Heat victory and the Main win, he closed the gap on the top two riders and passed a struggling Eli Tomac, who fell from second to sixth. Lawrence is now two-for-two in standard format races on dry tracks.
Chase Sexton reclaimed the red plate with his second-place finish in the Main. He can't afford to rest on his laurels, however, because he is only one point ahead of Lawrence and two above Plessinger. The smallest mistake or another dominant performance from the Australian rookie will cost him dearly.
The small error that cost Jason Anderson came in the muddy San Francisco race. He finished outside the top 10 in 12th in Round 2, but he has been perfect in regard to top-fives in every other event. He will need a win to challenge for the top riders, however, because each of the competitors above him have already stood on the top of the box.
Rider (SMX points rank)
1. Aaron Plessinger (3)
Last Week (gain/loss)
Austin Forkner has a new attitude and that paid off with a dominant performance in the 250 East. A little luck fell his way as well. After crashing hard on Lap 1 of Anaheim 1 last year, Forkner had to sit out the entire 2023 season. He heard the grinding of metal behind him as he entered Turn 1 at Detroit and must have cringed in anticipation of the coming blow. Forkner was ahead of the carnage, however, and secured the lead before the field hit the finish line. After also dominating his Heat, Forkner led all 21 laps of the Main.
In the postrace news conference, Daxton Bennick seemed as surprised as everyone else to be standing on the podium. He didn't doubt his speed, but rookies are supposed to fade as the race progresses. It's not only that Bennick survived the Turn 1 melee: he moved through the field from ninth on Lap 1, cracked the top five on Lap 6 and then took the podium position from Chance Hymas with five laps remaining.
Max Anstie was another beneficiary of the Lap 1 crash that impacted half the field. He survived Turn 1 and was circling the track in third at the completion of Lap 1. It took 12 laps to dispose of the rookie Hymas and by that time Forkner was gone but Anstie closed the gap in the final laps and turned quite a few heads.
Injury kept Pierce Brown from running either the full Supercross or Pro Motocross schedule in 2023 and he finished modestly in the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship with a best of seventh in three races. He may have felt he had something to prove in his Heat and used up Jalek Swoll in the middle of that race on his way to a podium finish behind two of the riders who would eventually stand on the podium. If Brown stays healthy, he will get his turn on the box before the season is over.
Landing eighth on the overall Power Rankings chart this week and fifth among the 250 East riders, Coty Schock is narrowly ahead of his ClubMX teammate Garrett Marchbanks. This privateer team is making a lot of noise on both coasts and these early successes are going to give them a ton of confidence.
Rider (SMX points rank)
1. Austin Forkner - E (17)
Last Week (gain/loss) *
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner in Supercross and overall winner in Motocross. It awards 90 points for each Moto, Heat and Triple Crown win. The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of starters in the field until the last place rider in each event receives three points, (five in fields of 22 riders). The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.
2024 Power Rankings
POWER RANKINGS AFTER RD 4 AT ANAHEIM 2: Eli Tomac is 450’s biggest mover
POWER RANKINGS AFTER RD 3 AT SAN DIEGO: Unique circumstances elevate Aaron Plessinger
POWER RANKINGS AFTER RD 2 AT SAN FRANCISCO: Chase Sexton reclaims red plate
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Detroit by the Numbers
Aaron Plessinger returns triumphantly to Detroit
Cooper Webb, Levi Kitchen keep unique win streak alive
Garrett Marchbanks sizzles in the mud
Jason Anderson, Jett Lawrence fined for SD altercation
Aaron Plessinger earns first 450 win