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2016 Supercross Predictions - 450SX Update after week 2 at SDSX1

Two weeks in the books, and we have several adjustments again for the weekly update.   The main changes are due to injury, with some minor shuffling at the top.   Some bigger items that we’re still waiting on: how quickly can James Stewart get back to form and will Jason Anderson continue to challenge for one of the top spots every week?   Hopefully we’ll get some answers at Anaheim 2!!

Injuries often destroy the riders' seasons, and Barcia delivered some bad news during the week that he'll be out for the remainder of the season.   Injuries also wreak havoc on projections -- one goal at MotoXGraphs is to eventually have some reliable way to factor in injuries, taking into account those riders who get injured more frequently (if that actually exists).   But for now we make due, and Justin Barcia falls out of the Top 20.
      Three other riders fall in the rankings as we learn more about their injuries.   Broc Tickle announced that he will miss 4-6 weeks, and when we factor that into his projection (and factor in that he finished 14th last week), he falls from 10th to 17th.   Blake Baggett and Andrew Short provided updates on when they'll be starting their seasons after healing from injury, and based on that timing they drop to 14th and 18th, respectively.
      James Stewart is still day-to-day, but he takes advantage of the other riders dropping down and improves slightly to 15th.   Obviously, if Stewart returns for Anaheim 2, that will help his ranking considerably.   And if he finishes high in the standings, he will likely return to the Top 10 -- but even a win won't put him in the Top 3 after just one week back.   He's too far back in terms of points and one very good (hypothetical) race plus one very bad race doesn't make for that great of a projection.

The Benefactors
      With several dropping due to injury, a few riders made some headway in the rankings, though only in the middle and bottom of the standings.   Justin Brayton, Dean Wilson, and Will Hahn each gained 4 spots, though their performances at San Diego weren't exactly remarkable -- though Brayton finished 10th after starting out in the lead. Jake Weimer moved up 5 spots, partly due to the injuries, but also largely because of an 8th-place finish.   From a prediction standpoint, Weimer is working against some very pedestrian results from 2013, '14, and '15, so he needs more than just one good race to really move up the chart.   Rounding out the prediction are Mike Alessi and Kyle Chisholm who just avoided being left off entirely.   Christophe Pourcel just missed, landing at #21, and with his lack of a track record at 450SX, he also needs more than a couple decent finishes to make it up on the chart.  (Edit: Chisholm's injuries are apparently worse than initially reported, so add him to the list of walking wounded, and Pourcel has replaced him at #20.)

At The Top
      With a #1 finish and his closest competitor slipping a bit, Ryan Dungey extended his lead in the predictions slightly.   Ken Roczen stays in his spot at #2 despite finishing 6th in San Diego.   If I may editorialize based on one race (obviously it's against the data rules to draw conclusions from such a small sample), Roczen showed the talent early on in San Diego, and as one of the youngest riders in Supercross, the prediction expects improvement, even during the season.   But the flip side of that is he made a mistake during the race, something we might chalk up to his youth.   So even though he finished 6th, I think that might be exactly the kind of race that confirms the prediction at #2 -- based on the expectation that with more experience he takes the performance he showed early and maintains it throughout the whole race (or season, for that matter).
      Eli Tomac, Trey Canard, Jason Anderson, and Cole Seely do a little shuffling in 3rd through 6th.   Anderson is still the big question mark for me (and many others, I suspect), but with his finish penalized to 5th, he didn't get the points or the result that would push his prediction up past Tomac or Canard.   So, we wait for another week's results at Anaheim.   However, if you believe that Anderson does particularly well at Anaheim (there's potential merit to the idea ), then another win at Angels Stadium might not be as predictive of the rest of the season.   Who knows -- maybe he falls back at A2 and it's not even a story anymore.

What Else I'm Looking For At A2
-Chad Reed - the prediction still doesn't quite trust that he's going to be putting up performances like San Diego where he's on Dungey's heels and leaving Roczen, Tomac, etc. in the dust -- can he do it again?
-How real is Weimer's success -- can he look the part again?
-Marvin Musquin had a decent ranking in the preseason projections, but he hasn't quite lived up to it.   He looked better in week 2 than week 1, so can he keep that improvement going into A2?
-Can Pourcel hang around?   It's not out of the question that he's a middle-of the pack guy (I would consider that to be the high-teens) or even a Top 10 guy.
-Will Justin Bogle improve as he gets used to the 450SX?   You'd think the second time at Anaheim would provide some familiarity and a chance to move up the leaderboard.   (Edit -- Just heard that Bogle is out for A2, so scratch this one from the list)

Posted by: SagehenMacGyver47   :::   As always – Feedback welcomed

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