2016 Supercross Predictions - 450SX Update going into Week 14 at St Louis
While most spots seem locked up, let's look at what it would take for each rider to move up. What would a rider need to do if we assume the person above them is going to perform the final four races at their season average? For instance, Jason Anderson currently trails Ken Roczen by 18 points, and Roczen has averaged a 3rd place finish so far during 2016 (19.8 points per race); so, to make up those 18 points, Anderson would need to average better than 2nd place over the last four races (he would need at least two 1st place finishes).
Since Ryan Dungey can't be caught unless he performs way, way below his season average, let's check just how far below he would have to perform. Roczen's max points total is 358. To not beat that total, Dungey would need to average worse than 7th place from here on out -- or 2 DNF/DNS races could do it.
As said above, if Roczen maintains his season average of 3rd place, then Anderson would need to essentially average between 1st and 2nd the rest of the way. Plausible, but it seems unlikely.
The same is more or less true for Eli Tomac to move from 4th to 3rd -- he would need to average between 1st and 2nd to make up the 28 point gap if Anderson holds steady with his season performance so far (halfway between 4th and 5th).
To move up and catch Tomac, eliminating a 19 point gap, Chad Reed would need an average of just below 3rd place finishes the rest of the way while Tomac holds steady at his average of 5th. (This might actually happen.)
Marvin Musquin, assuming he returns healthy, would need to average halfway between 4th and 5th to catch up to Reed in 5th place. Reed's average for the season so far has been about 6th place, due largely to a DNF at Toronto, so Musquin may have to do better than just 4th/5th to make up the 11 points to catch him.
Since whether Cole Seely will return to health is also not clear, it's hard to know what he needs -- how many of the last four races will he and Musquin race? But if they both race all four, then Seely only needs to average close to 5th as Musquin's average has been 7th. Granted, Musquin has been riding much better in the last few weeks than early in the season, though, but the lead is only 9 points.
If those two keep racing, then Justin Brayton would need to average nearly 4th over the rest of the season to catch Seely and 3rd place to catch Musquin. Brayton's best finish so far in 2016 is 5th. If Seely misses, say, two races, then Brayton would only need to finish about 8th on average.
Trey Canard would have to finish just better than 6th to catch up to Brayton and his 11 point lead in 8th place. Canard did finish 4th and 5th in the past two races, so this might actually be likely -- it's what the projections are expecting.
Jacob Weimer is 32 points behind 9th place Canard, so he would need to finish just better than 5th the rest of the way if Canard continues at his season average of 8th. Weimer's best finish is 8th, so averaging 5th seems out of reach.
Davi Millsaps is in 11th, but with his current injuries he probably won't be able to return and earn enough points to jump into the Top 10. Weston Peick, however, could catch Weimer - since the gap is only 9 points, Peick would need to average 10th place while Weimer maintains his pace of just above 13th place.
Christophe Pourcel might also be able to crack the Top 10, if he can average better than 8th place for the rest of the way. Same for Mike Alessi, but his best finish so far is 9th, so that's probably not realistic. Real dark horses might be Justin Bogle or Blake Baggett, but they would need podium finishes -- at least, if not help from others -- the rest of the way to have a chance at the Top 10.
When we factor in who's dealing with injuries that we're aware of, there again aren't big changes for the full-season projections. Injuries will have a bigger effect on the weekly projections.
**Keep in mind the "injury adjustment" is more of an indicator that the rider was recently injured than an actual, precise prediction of how that recovery from injury will affect the rider.**
After we apply the injury and stadium adjustments, the order is Dungey / Roczen / Anderson / Canard / Tomac, followed closely by Reed, with Musquin and Seely not too far behind that. Just eyeballing it, Pourcel seems really low, but the numbers are taking into account his first half of the season, which was pretty mediocre.
[Edit: Musqin was out, but now he's apparently in.]
In terms of the Location Adjustment, Justin Barcia gets a bump of one position based on his history at the Edward Jones Dome -- he finished 5th and 3rd in St. Louis while averaging 6.5th otherwise prior to 2016. Broc Tickle gets an adjustment down of half a spot since he's finished 11th, 11th, and 9th at St. Louis compared to 9th otherwise. Neither is a very large or particularly compelling adjustment, though.
James Stewart would have a fairly large adjustment, just over one point, if he were listed in the Top 20. He has four races in St. Louis in the past 5 seasons, and he's finished 1st, 5th, 2nd, and 1st, compared to about a 7th overall on average prior to 2016. That would put him around 17th in his predicted finish.
Things to watch include whether Dungey can increase his lead and come closer to locking up the title, and how will the other top riders break down - one week ago it looked like Musquin was going to charge into 3rd, but now it appears it might be Anderson's spot. I'm particularly interested if Pourcel can keep up his run for the second half, excluding when he was out with his neck injury. Not to mention Chad Reed, who's been up and down, but only shows up at #6 in the true talent prediction -- seems a bit low, but that's where the numbers put him.