2016 Week 14 - By-The-Numbers Recap: St. Louis
Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen put on another good battle, though this time Dungey was able to run away with it after Roczen's crash on Lap 13. Before getting the Main Event holeshot and then running away with the race, Dungey was having a poor day -- for him. He qualified in 7th then finished 8th in his Heat Race after a crash, which meant he had to go through the Semi Race, where he easily finished 1st. Roczen qualified 3rd and won his Heat Race, so no complaints there.
Other than that it was a fairly quiet Main Event, with the exception of Jason Anderson, who knocked Justin Brayton off the track (at least that's what it looked like from the small glimpse we could see on the broadcast) in Lap 7, sending Brayton from 3rd all the way back to 11th. Then, approaching the race's finish, Anderson had been running in 2nd, in front of Roczen, but then Roczen slipped by Anderson into 2nd, leaving Anderson in 3rd, and apparently felt that Broc Tickle had gotten in the way, though Tickle looked at the replay and disagrees.
Regardless of Anderson's controversies, the top three matched the "This Week" predictions. But the 4th place finisher was a surprise, at least to the projections. Justin Bogle started 5th in the opening section, then drifted back to 8th over the next two laps, then managed to make his way up to 4th. When I look at how he got from 8th to 4th, it is a tad unimpressive: passed Weston Peick, Brayton (who crashed), Marvin Musquin (who crashed), and Josh Grant. Bogle did manage to hold off his challengers and hang on to 4th, though, and that's his best finish of the 2016 season (6th at Santa Clara) and his supercross career. He qualified 10th, was 6th in his heat, and was 2nd in his semi -- just mentioning that because it wasn't like he was tearing up the track all day.
Bogle's closest challenger was Trey Canard, who had to come from all the way back in 20th but managed to finish 5th. As mentioned, Bogle held off Canard, and in laps 2 through 18, Canard was only about 0.13 seconds faster per lap than Bogle, which is about 2 seconds overall. Not great for Bogle, but not that bad either, considering Bogle had a comfortable lead and didn't need to put up scorching lap times to finish in 4th, clear of Canard by about 4 seconds.
Chad Reed had a similar path to Canard, getting stuck in 18th in the opening section then climbing back into 6th. Reed got back into 6th by Lap 10, which was fairly impressive, but then he slowed down considerably in the second half of the race -- 55.5 seconds per lap in 2 through 8, 55.9 seconds in 10 through 18 -- which kept him from passing Bogle and allowed Canard to pass him (oddly, both Bogle and Canard were faster in the second half than in the first).
And Eli Tomac had a similar path to Canard and Reed -- he opened the race in 21st, then got back up to 7th. The prediction was a bit down on Tomac, but still had him in 5th, which was still too optimistic.
Josh Grant was looking like he might get a Top 5 finish, running in 4th and 5th through most of the second half of the race, but then he was passed by Canard, Reed, and Tomac in laps 19 and 20. Grant still finished in 8th, which is not shabby for a guy who's riding only his fifth race of the season.
As mentioned above, Justin Brayton was running in 3rd from the start of the race up until Lap 7 when he had his run in with Anderson. He dropped to 11th after the collision, then worked his way back up to 9th. His average lap time in laps 2 through 18, excluding the two laps affected by the collision, was 55.9 seconds -- slower than Canard's (55.5), Reed's (55.8), and Bogle's (55.6), but faster than Tomac's (56.1). So it's not totally clear whether Brayton would have been able to hold on to 3rd over Anderson and these other guys for the remainder of the race.
In 10th was Mike Alessi, who continues his improved results and a run of consistency, where he's finished 11th, 9th, 10th, and 10th (and this time it wasn't just because of a holeshot).
Outside the Top 10:
Justin Barcia and Broc Tickle -- both recovering from injury -- hoped for better races in St. Louis than last week in Indianapolis. But while Barcia improved with an 11th this week compared to 15th last week, Tickle equaled last week's result with a 14th place finish. Barcia qualified way down in 19th, and had to go all the way through the LCQ, so compared to most of his day, 11th place is a pretty good salvage.
Marvin Musquin -- also recovering from an injury, his wrist -- looked good early, in 4th place, but crashed twice, resulting in a 15th place finish, his worst of the season (other than at Santa Clara where he initially injured his wrist).
Blake Baggett couldn't follow up on his 5th place finish last week, and only managed to get to 12th. He also qualified 13th, was 7th in his Heat Race, 6th in his Semi Race, which meant he had to go to the LCQ -- not the kind of day he was hoping for, I'd imagine.