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Follow Up: Lap Times From Indianapolis 450SX

Just how fast were Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen?
Well, the fastest lap put up by any of the other riders was by Eli Tomac, who logged a 44.836 in his second lap (Trey Canard had the next fastest, at 45.212 in Lap 5, and Jason Anderson was next after that at 45.503).  Together, Dungey and Roczen had 7 laps faster than Tomac's fastest!  That means the 7 fastest laps out of all the riders in the Main Event were from Dungey (4 of them) and Roczen (3 of them).  (Excluding Lap 1 from any of this.)

They really were battling back and forth in terms of who was putting in the fastest laps (as mentioned in the
initial recap):

Jason Anderson was really moving down the stretch -- were his laps faster than Dungey/Roczen at that point?
In laps 10 through 12, Anderson went flying by Christophe Pourcel, Canard, and Tomac -- in
typical Anderson fashion, making a late charge.  During his run, though, Anderson lost about 4 seconds (in laps 10 through 18) on Dungey and Roczen.  His Lap 12 was faster than Roczen's; his Lap 13 was faster than both Dungey's and Roczen's; his Lap 17 was faster than Roczen's; but in the 6 other laps that we're looking at, both Dungey and Roczen were faster than Anderson.

Christophe Pourcel had at least one very fast lap in the Main Event yet finished 7th -- is inconsistency the issue?
Pourcel logged 45.866 seconds in Lap 5, which made him #5 in terms of which riders put up the fastest lap.  But he finished behind Blake Baggett and Chad Reed, each of whom had fastest laps that were slower than Pourcel's -- in fact, Reed's fastest was nearly a second slower (0.86 seconds).  So how are these two riders making up time on Pourcel, who was 3rd after the opening section and 4th after Lap 1 (several spots ahead of both Baggett and Reed in each case)?  Check out the histogram of each one's lap times (laps 2 through 18) at Indy:

This question has been asked of me before -- does consistency affect performance? -- on Reddit and some other places, but I haven't really been able to look into it.  And while this is just one small piece of evidence to assess this, it seems very telling about these three riders.  

Blake Baggett's distribution seems fairly normal: a few laps in the 46 seconds and under range, which was pretty fast for Indy, and he's got some slower laps, 5 of which were at 48.5 seconds and above.  Chad Reed, though has an amazingly consistent set of lap times, all falling within a range of about 2 seconds.  Pourcel, on the other hand, has several fast laps, like Baggett, in the 46 seconds range, but he also has 4 laps way to the right on the histogram -- laps that were 49.5 seconds and above.  Those were laps 15 through 18 for Pourcel, and he was passed by Baggett on Lap 15 and by Reed on Lap 18.  Now the laps before and after that matter, too, but if Pourcel was able to keep it in the 49 seconds or below range during those laps, maybe he holds off Baggett and Reed for an even better finish.

All that said, I don't think that consistency necessarily equals success (though it obviously needs more research).  For instance, as we see above, Baggett had some better laps and some worse laps, while Reed was much more consistent.  But Baggett finished 14 seconds ahead of Reed, so it's not like consistency somehow won out for Reed.

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

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