2017 MX Outdoor Nationals Prediction Update - 1/2 Season
Seems like just yesterday we were shaking off the cobwebs from the Outdoor settings, but here we are at the halfway point of the 2017 MX season. Time to update the season-long 450 MX predictions, which were set at preseason and at the 1/4 mark. Things got a bit topsy-turvy in the first 3 weeks, with Blake Baggett lighting up the track while Eli Tomac had some fluky and non-fluky issues -- and all the while Marvin Musquin looked like a serious contender. But at the halfway point, normalcy has returned, in that Tomac retook the #1 spot based on 3 consecutive moto wins, Baggett having his own fluky/non-fluky issues, and a knee injury to Musquin that may not have stopped him but definitely slowed him down.
On a side note, I have hopes that MotoXGraphs will get a little more of my attention, with more frequent posts and research, ideally getting to some things that I hinted at in the last update.
On to the updated 450 projection. Fairly minor changes, with Baggett still battling his not-great numbers from the past couple seasons, but Tomac opens up quite a gap in the predictions. Also some shakeup in the bottom of the Top 20 with some new blood.
Standard caveat: Each projection, as usual, should be taken with a grain of salt. The injury factor is far from perfect, so either prediction needs some human interpretation, such as whether the rider's motocross previous results or injuries (or lack thereof) will continue or not. The entire point of these predictions is to focus solely on what the numbers say and leave the scouting and interpretation to the people.
As mentioned, Tomac opens a big lead, and predictably Musquin dropped a couple spots. Dean Wilson jumps up to 5th and has been the next fastest rider (laps 2 through the finish, that is) outside of the top 4. Cooper Webb again drops, but this time much more precipitously, to 8th -- also not a surprise as he's had inconsistent results including some DNF's. Breaking into the Top 10 is Justin Bogle, who had 5 out of 6 Top 10 finishes in the last 3 weeks; he's 5th in points but his history in the teens in the 450MX class means he has a bit more work to do from a statistical perspective to be predicted in the Top 5.
On the down side is Trey Canard, who returned from injury with his debut at Muddy Creek, putting up 10 / 11 / 13 / 11, which is below expectations for him, but will miss Southwick this week after a practice crash, meaning he drops out of the Top 10.
Speaking of injuries, what happens when we add in the injury prediction? This adjustment is made by looking at what percentage of races each rider missed over the past 5 seasons and reducing their expected points proportionally:
The injury predictions cause a few adjustments, with Wilson and Bogle dropping due to injury history (as well as being lumped in a very closely-packed 5th through 10th). Broc Tickle gains a few spots -- then misses a race due to a shoulder injury (missing Southwick according to RacerX).
What was shaping up to be a really exciting season took a turn toward the predictable -- Tomac moved back in the lead while his most likely challengers ran into their own issues. That said, all it takes is one off day, and any of Baggett, Musquin, or Jason Anderson can put the pressure on for the #1 spot in the standings.
Out of curiosity, I plugged in the numbers for the retired Ryan Dungey...I expected he would be predicted even if not better than Tomac. But Dungey actually trails Tomac, though would be in 2nd fairly comfortably. Until Tomac's run of 3 straight moto wins, Dungey would have been projected as the #1 rider, but as things stand, the next time someone says Dungey would have run through this season and the watered-down competition, send them here.
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