Anaheim 1 2017 -- Predictions Review
How did the "This Week" predictions do for Supercross week 1 at Anaheim? The first week of the season is always a challenge, but at least the top several predictions looked pretty solid, with a few understandable exceptions (aka "excuses"):
Trey Canard, of course, was off by the most as he DNS'd the Main Event. Also predicted in the Top 5 but falling short was Cooper Webb (finished 10th) -- but I think it was clear that the lack of "adjustment for first 450SX race ever", as mentioned in the predictions was a major factor. As he said in a RacerX interview, the big moment got to him a bit.
The rest of the Top 5 was pretty good, except Marvin Musquin who continued his strong riding from the offseason and managed to beat his 8th place prediction by landing in 3rd. Just outside the Top 5, in 6th, was Cole Seely whose prediction was just right.
Blake Baggett (predicted 9th, finished 14th), Dean Wilson (predicted 10th, finished 13th), and Broc Tickle (predicted 11th, finished 16th) didn't quite live up to their Top 10 (or close to it) expectations. Baggett had a Lap 2 crash, so maybe that's just bad luck. Tickle moved up to 12th and held on for laps 13, 14, & 15, but dropped back to 16th (assumedly because of a crash) in Lap 16. And Wilson started off at the very back of the pack after the opening section, but he made his way pretty quickly into 10th and then 9th. He dropped 2 spots in each of Lap 9 and Lap 10, falling back to 13th. That's a long way of saying they weren't that far off of their predictions except for what seem like a few times they tipped their bikes over. These riders have a long enough Supercross history that I would expect their future perfomance to rebound closer to their predicted level of riding.
Three riders made it into the Top 10 who weren't predicted there. Davi Millsaps finished 7th but was predicted 16th, Weston Peick finished 8th but was predicted 13th, and Josh Grant improved all the way up from 19th to actually finish in 9th. (Grant moved up from the original predictions because neither Heath Harrison nor Ben LaMay were at the race.) We know Millsaps is more than capable of championship caliber riding, he just hasn't shown it in recent seasons, probably due to injury. For Grant there at least was a hedge in the prediction: "With a consistent ride in 2017, he might outperform his recent history." The track adjustment for Grant was wrong though, discussed below.
Also of note, Christophe Pourcel failed to make the main event (predicted in 15th), as did Fredrik Noren (predicted 20th (after dropping Harrison/LaMay)).
Since the Stadium/Track Adjustment is still a bit of a work in progress (The MX Book goes through it in detail, with encouraging conclusions), I highlight the major ones to see if the riders' finishing spots were better or worse -- in line with the prediction or not. There were 3 substantial Stadium/Track Adjustments for the 450's at Angel Stadium:
- Roczen was predicted to do 3 points better at Anaheim's Angel Stadium than at the average Supercross track. He earned 25 points, compared to 20 points in his prediction (before the track adjustment), which means he did 5 points better. That's +3 (predicted effect) vs +5 (actual effect), so the Stadium/Track Adjustment was close to correct.
- Grant was predicted to do 2 points worse in Anaheim, but he did 4 points better (predicted at 8, earned 12). So for him, the adjustment was quite wrong.
- Jake Weimer was predicted to do 2 points better at Anaheim, and he did 4 points better (predicted at 6, earned 10). For Weimer, then, the adjustment was in the correct direction and reasonably close.
The predictions for Week 1, then were not great but not bad either. Pretty good around the top of the pack, but plenty of misses in the middle and bottom. Things should get tightened up considerably for Week 2 in San Diego now that we have 2017 results to work with. See you then!