2016 Week 13 - By-The-Numbers Recap: Indy
Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen had another race-long battle for the #1 spot at Indianapolis, but in the end Dungey took home the most points, and Roczen must be kicking himself over the bobble he had right after passing Dungey that let Dungey take the lead back.
Jason Anderson had another very good day, and while his start wasn't great, in his style he came from 9th, charging all the way to #3. But as quick as Anderson was, Dungey and Roczen were on another level. (This recap will be relatively short and sweet, but I'd like to look further at Dungey/Roczen's lap times vs Anderson's to see how fast each of them were going in the middle/latter part of the race -- later this week. [Edit - follow-up now posted here.])
While Dungey and Roczen were duking it out for #1, Anderson and Trey Canard had a prolonged battle for 3rd/4th. Anderson caught Canard in Lap 11, and not long after that, Canard nearly T-boned Anderson, but Anderson was able to maintain his balance and his spot in 3rd. Canard held on to 4th, which is his best finish of the season (5th was his previous best). These four riders dominated in qualifying and the heats: with the exception of the standard Christophe Pourcel fastest qualifying lap, the next four were Dungey, Roczen, Anderson, Canard, in that order. And in the heats, Dungey was 2nd, Roczen won his, Anderson finished 1st in his, and Canard got 2nd.
Blake Baggett got off to an unimpressive start in 12th after the opening section and in 11th after the first lap. But during Lap 2 he moved all the way up to 8th, and even maintained a lead over Anderson for a couple laps. He made 4 more passes in laps 5 through 15, and finished in 5th, which is also his best finish (in only 6 races, however, and his previous best this season was 10th).
Chad Reed had a similar story, starting in 10th but falling to 12th after Lap 1. He made progress steadily through the race, and made his way up to 6th after passing Eli Tomac on Lap 15 and Pourcel on Lap 17.
Pourcel had the opposite story from Baggett and Reed, starting off in 3rd after the opening section but falling to 7th by the time the race was done. 7th is Pourcel's best finish (8th was prior best) of the season, and it was a pretty impressive day coming back from three off weeks -- qualified 1st, then rebounded in his Semi Race (after a wreck in his Heat Race) to finish 2nd.
Justin Brayton didn't get the best start (9th), but quickly moved his way up to 6th. From there though, he steadily lost ground, and ran most of the race in 8th and 9th, finishing in 8th. While it's only his 4th-best result of the season, it's a big improvement over the last two weeks where he was 18th and 13th.
Eli Tomac again looked pretty good up until the main event (maybe "decent" would be a better description -- 6th in qualifying and 4th in his Heat Race), then had an extremely disappointing night race. He got off the line OK, and was 6th after the first turn then in 3rd after Lap 1. Then things started falling apart as he was passed 6 times while passing no one else, and he finished 9th. That is Tomac's 2nd-worst finish this season, other than Atlanta where he had a wreck and finished 11th. I'm also curious about Tomac's lap times in laps 2 through 11, where he maintained 3rd place; in Lap 12 it appears he had a crash or something of the sort, which I think the announcers mentioned.
Mike Alessi rounds out the Top 10, by getting the Holeshot and then being able to hold on to his 2nd-best finish of the season. He's gone 9th, 11th, 10th in his last three races.
Outside the Top 10 were some pretty solid names: Vince Friese, Josh Grant, Justin Bogle, Broc Tickle, Justin Barcia, Weston Peick, to name several, along with Justin Weimer who had some sort of problem in Lap 2 then couldn't come back past #20.
Later in the week we can look at some lap times from Indy, as well as take a quick look at the passing and excitement index (Indy should score high with 2 late passes between #1 & #2). But so far for this week, the takeaway is Dungey and Roczen being WAY faster than the field again, and another reminder at just how deep the field is when even the bottom 10 has a bunch of legit guys in it AND that was without Marvin Musquin or Cole Seely in the race!