2016 Supercross Predictions - 450SX Update going into Week 15 at Foxborough
[**Edit: Christophe Pourcel is out for Foxborough, but that doesn't affect his position in the Full-Season Prediction]
With Ryan Dungey having nearly locked up 1st place, the conversation will soon shift to the rest of the spots in the standings. For instance, to catch Ken Roczen in 2nd, Jason Anderson needs to make up almost 7 points per race -- so if Roczen finishes 3rd or better on average in the final three races, Anderson can only catch him by winning out. (We looked at all riders' needs for moving up a spot going in to last week.) Eli Tomac will have an even tougher time trying to get back in the Top 3 -- he needs to pick up just over 11 points per week on Anderson, so unless Tomac wins out, he needs Anderson to finish outside the top 5 or 6, and probably more than once.
Now Chad Reed catching up to Tomac seems a little more plausible, especially if you think that Tomac is still a bit out of sorts. Reed would need to make up 6 points per race, though, which means Reed needs some podiums and/or Tomac needs to have another stumble or two. On the other hand, Marvin Musquin catching Reed isn't so farfetched, either. Musquin would need some podiums to gain 20 points on Reed (6.67 points per week), and Reed would also need to finish closer to 7th or 8th -- but Musquin has shown that ability just a few weeks ago, and Reed has also had his down weeks.
Trey Canard moved ahead of Cole Seely for the full-year standings prediction, though that depends largely on when Seely returns and if he's fully healthy. Canard still has work to do to get up to 7th. As for either of them catching Musquin, that also seems pretty unlikely (especially Canard), although it also depends on the health of Seely and Musquin.
Justin Brayton has a pretty strong hold on 9th, as you can see the big gap between him and Jake Weimer in the chart at the top. 10th place, though, is wide open between Weimer, Weston Peick, Mike Alessi, Justin Bogle, and Christophe Pourcel [**Edit: Pourcel out for Foxborough, so remove him from that list].
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 projection.
**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 / Reed again, with a fairly decent-sized gap between them and the next riders -- Seely, Musquin, Barcia, and perhaps Brayton (see below on Brayton). Poor Justin Bogle is still way down the list, despite his good result last week; he needs more than one result to make a move in the predictions (well, more than two, apparently, since he's had a 6th and a 4th, sandwiching a 13th, over the past three weeks). Rookies with little track record are harder to predict, though my guess is that the numbers are too low on him, not factoring in the likelihood that he's growing accustomed to 450 Supercross and has improved his ability compared to weeks 1 thorugh 7, where his best result was 13th.
In terms of the Location Adjustment, there's no history in Foxborough since 1990, so there's no direct results to base the adjustment on. Alternatively, we can look at some proxies in the Northeast, the closest being in East Rutherford, NJ. But, there are only two relevant years at MetLife Stadium there--2014 and 2015--and only five of the riders (out of our Top 20) have raced more than one year there. Justin Barcia is the only one who has a notable variance -- he finished an average of 12th in NJ compared to 6.5th elsewhere, but his two finishes were 20th and 4th, so not exactly consistent.
If we expand the options to include domed stadiums (I don't love it because part of this adjustment is to capture the elements of the city/region and the stadium conditions, which are different for a dome vs uncovered), then you could include the Metrodome in New York and Rogers Centre in Toronto. That expands the data set considerably, but likely lessens the strength of the adjustment. With MetLife/Metrodome/Rogers Centre included in the adjustment, there are a few riders with history and variance from 2012 to 2016 that might suggest something:
Justin Brayton moves from 12th to 9th -- in 6 Northeast races, he's finished 4.9th (vs 8.3 elsewhere).
Weston Peick moves back up to 13th -- in 5 races, he's finished 10.8th (vs 12.5 elsewhere).
Also, perhaps of note, James Stewart (not on the chart) has NOT ridden well in this area of the country, finishing just better than 15th in four races, vs 7th elsewhere. [**Edit: Stewart has been declared out for the rest of Supercross, so this won't be an issue.]
(As always take it with a grain of salt due to relatively small sample sizes and because the Location Adjustment is far from proven to be a reliable predictor.)