Consistency and strength are a hard combination to overcome, but as the only rider with a sweep of the top five and a victory last week in San Diego, Aaron Plessinger takes over the top spot in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings by a wide margin over a pair of past champions.
Conditions have been challenging during the past two races with heavy mud ensuring that only the fittest riders challenge for the podium. At issue is that most of the riders in today's Monster Energy Supercross series are at the top of their game, so in three weeks six challengers have won the six heats and there have been three unique winners.
Plessinger is the only 450 rider with both a heat and main win. Both of those came last week in San Diego and he now has the red plate for the first time in his career.
Jett Lawrence has proven he can be beat, but he's staying within striking distance of the leaders. In six races, he has posted only one victory in the season opener feature at Anaheim 1 in dry conditions. In the wet, he has consistently gotten off to slow starts but works his way forward in time to record notable points. Sitting only four points out of the lead, he has time to rise once the series gets back to normal and puts the weather in the past.
Cooper Webb was one of three riders last week to score his first podium of the season. Along with a third-place finish in his heat, he ties Lawrence for second in the Power Rankings. His press conference was marked by a sense of relief, and he is another rider who can see the points' lead from where he sits.
Dylan Ferrandis has come close to sweeping the top five with sixth-place finishes in two of his starts and a fifth in the season opener. This remarkable record comes despite his changing manufacturers late during the offseason. The next couple of weeks will tell if his success has been partly attributable to track conditions or if the chemistry with his new team is just that good.
As good as Chase Sexton looked in the mud at San Francisco two weeks ago, he struggled in the San Diego slop. Sexton got hung up with Malcolm Stewart in the first turn of the feature and could never recover. He ultimately lost a lap with time running off the clock and finished well down the order in eighth.
Rider (SMX points rank)
1. Aaron Plessinger (1)
Last Week (gain/loss)
Jordon Smith remains the only rider in either division with a sweep of the podium. A second-place finish to RJ Hampshire in Anaheim 1 was quickly followed by a win in San Francisco and last week he proved his strength in the mud by finishing third in San Diego. Finishing ahead of Levi Kitchen at Snapdragon Stadium, he's extended his points lead to eight and maintains the red plate.
Club MX is a midsized team with huge intentions. Joking that he did not have a beverage deal yet, team principal Mike Bonacci placed a bottle of Muc-Off in front of second-place finisher Garrett Marchbanks in San Diego. With a worst finish of seventh and back-to-back podiums, Marchbanks could become a serious title challenger if he gets another top five before the 250 series turns the riding duties over to the East Coasters.
The top three riders in the field are separating themselves from the crowd. Kitchen is the only rider other than Smith to sweep the top five in the 250 division and would seem to be the next-likeliest to keep the unique riders' winning streak alive this week when the series returns to Anaheim for their second race.
Hampshire's win in Anaheim 1 made him part of the championship story but he failed to back that up with another top-five in the next two races. Falls in the mud have kept him from achieving any momentum and with the 250 West riders hosting 40 percent of their season in the first four weeks, it is critical that Hampshire rebound in A2.
Mitchell Oldenburg moves up to fifth based on consistency. With a best of seventh last week in San Diego and a sweep of the top 10, he's keeping himself in contention and waiting for a really strong start to give him a shot at cracking the top five.
Rider (SMX points rank)
1. Jordon Smith (1)
2. Garrett Marchbanks (3)
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 ROUND 2 AT SAN FRANCISCO: Chase Sexton reclaims red plate
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