All three Atlanta races had high drama, but the potential for this unique venue to fundamentally alter the championship points race just didn't happen. Before Atlanta, Webb led Roczen by 15 points and Tomac by 41. After Atlanta, Webb leads Roczen by 16 and Tomac by 40. Essentially no change except that we're now down to two rounds remaining.
This was one time when I kinda can't believe that Roczen folded that easily.
You can blame it on the whoops, but Cooper Webb also had something to do with it.
When I heard Ricky Carmichael analyzing the multiple whoops sections, and breaking down the attributes of dozer-made versus loader-made whoops, I figured Webb was in for a tough night. Webb has improved his whoops speed this year, but it's still the one section where Roczen and Tomac often have an advantage.
Over the first 15 minutes, Roczen built up a 12-second lead over Webb, with Plessinger and Tomac an additional 1 second back. I'll bet most or all of that 12-second gap was earned in the whoops sections, where Roczen was blitzing but Webb was often jumping doubles. Then Kenny blitzed himself into a small get-off and his lead was cut down to 6 seconds (with 5 minutes on the clock).
It's easy to say Roczen shoulda coulda eased off and nursed his lead when he had 12 seconds, but is Kenny ever comfortable coasting with Webb behind him? There have been multiple late passes this year and last year... Cooper passing Kenny on the final lap is an actual thing.
After Roczen fell, he still had 6 seconds in hand. In the final 5 minutes (plus one lap), Roczen yielded 2 or 3 seconds to Tomac, Plessinger, and Barcia. But Webb gassed it hard, made up 7 seconds, and won the race. That's why I said Webb had something to do with the outcome; it wasn't all Roczen folding like a chair.