2016 Week 17 - By-The-Numbers Recap: Las Vegas
You always figure the Vegas race will be crazy, but maybe not like this! Once the heavy rain causes a lake to form on the track, all bets are off. At least it's a good excuse if the predictions are wrong. So how did the night look for the 450's?
I was really interested to see, in this final week, whether Ryan Dungey would be able to reassert himself, taking back the top spot in the race, or if Ken Roczen would keep running away from the field. Not to mention whether Eli Tomac would continue to look like the really good Eli Tomac and not the most-of-2016-Supercross Eli Tomac. But with the conditions as they were, it's hard to say how much relevance their respective finishes have on a data or non-data comparison between the three.
With Dungey getting a good start and taking an early lead, he had a clear path, which was a huge advantage, avoiding roost from riders in front of him -- that makes comparing lap times a bit difficult since he has an advantage the other riders don't, at least until the field spreads out and until the lappers come into play. Nonetheless, Roczen caught up to Dungey fairly quickly, eliminating a several second deficit, part of which was the result of riding behind Anderson at the start of the race, and it seemed Anderson was slowing Roczen down a bit.
In the chart below, you can see the sequence (green is Roczen catching up to Dungey, red is Dungey increasing his lead) where
Dungey gets lead, Roczen falls back,
Roczen catches up and passes Dungey,
Roczen in lead, then crashes:
After the very first segment, until the crash (Lap 1--Segment 2 through Lap 6--Segment 1), Roczen was 2.5 seconds faster than Dungey. Very interesting. Roczen was also slower than Dungey in 4 out of 5 of the trips through Segment 2 (plus the crash), but Roczen was faster than Dungey in all 5 of the trips through Segment 1. It was still pretty early in the race under very unusual conditions, but still encouraging if you're a Roczen fan. More or less encouraging than the wreck was discouraging, I don't know.
So, for those laps we got to see Dungey vs Roczen, but it was short-lived since Roczen crashed and left the race. But it leaves us thinking Roczen will certainly be poised to give Dungey a run for his money in the MX season.
Well, the good and bad news is that such unusual track conditions makes the recap short. Bad because there more interesting things to talk about, the more fun it is to recap. Good because I'm running in the Wings For Life World Run, which starts at 4:00am my time, and more sleep means running faster, I would think.
Some other things of note:
Davi Millsaps returned with good results up until his early crash in the Main Event - 8th in qualifying (granted, qualifying that was truncated) and 2nd in his Heat Race.
Jason Anderson with another solid race, finishing 2nd (with the help of Roczen's DNF) and putting a further stamp on his claim to be one of the top riders. He qualified 3rd and was 2nd in his Heat Race.
Marvin Musquin returned to form -- until he crashed out in Lap 6. He did have to go through the Semi Race, though, qualifying 7th, 5th in the Heat, then 3rd in the Semi.
While Tomac had a reasonably good day, finishing 3rd, he didn't challenge Dungey (or Roczen while he was up front) for #1, and he didn't even really put pressure on Anderson, largely because he started off near the middle of the pack. He did qualify 5th and was 3rd in his Heat Race.
A good night for Benny Bloss, who made it through in the Semi Race at 5th, then managed to make his way to 11th in the Main Event. He fell back (due to a crash, I presume) in the latter third of the race, finishing 19th, which was last of those that made it through. But he can still claim he finished ahead of Roczen, Marvin Musquin, and Davi Millsaps.
That's a wrap on the season, but there's still some Supercross analysis to come, and stay tuned for 2016's outdoor pro and amateur predictions!