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Supercross "This Week" Predictions -- San Diego 2017

The MX Book Preview: The MX Book eBook: The MX Book

They've shaken off the rust, the butterflies in the stomach should be gone, so now it's time to really prove their stuff.  Who's got the talent and primed to win in Supercross week 2 at San Diego?

The updated 2017 Supercross Prediction puts the whole season in perspective, while the "This Week" rankings look at the riders' perceived ability (aka "true talent") as well as injuries and the riders' history at the upcoming track.

**For those not familiar, a brief explanation of the components that factor into the "This Week" rankings:
True Talent
The standard MotoXGraphs prediction of rider performance, based on the current and prior seasons, weighing recent results more heavily.  It differs from the "Full Season" prediction in that it is not worrying about the rider's current point standings (which obviously are a crucial part of the full season prediction), only about their current ability.

Injury Adjustment
Attempts to account for riders competing at less than 100% due to injury.  Full research behind the Injury Adjustment can be found in The MX Book (or eBook).  While this adjustment is only an estimate (what predictions aren't?), the purpose of the Injury Adjustment is less about trying to make an exact prediction and is more about indicating that a rider is recovering from injury so the viewer can take that into account at whatever scale he or she chooses.

Track Adjustment
Provides an increase or decrease in expected points for the riders based on their historical performance (over the past 4 years, where applicable) in the upcoming city/stadium.  Also validated by research in The MX Book ( or eBook).  The track/location effect has a slightly muted nature in Supercross compared to outdoors since the tracks are not exactly the same in Supercross sites from year to year (or even within the same year for sites like Angel Stadium or Petco where there are often multiple races in one season).

Here are the predictions for the 450 class this weekend.  The True Talent prediction has a couple notable changes from last week -- and the Track Adjustment has a very interesting impact on a few riders:

Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey are at the top of the list, which is not surprise.  Eli Tomac slides in at the #3 spot (as long as his arm pump is gone!), followed very closely by Jason Anderson.  After the Track Adjustment, though, Tomac's lead gets larger -- he was 5th at San Diego in 2015 and 4th / 6th in 2 races during 2016, compared to an average finish of 6.4 everywhere else.  Anderson has been just about average at Petco.

Marvin Musquin only moves up to 6th in Week 2 (7th last week) despite his 3rd place at Anaheim 1.  Cooper Webb maintained the upper hand, in 5th, but Musquin draws closer.  I still don't see Webb being 100% ready to take on that second-tier set of riders like Musquin, Seely, and Anderson, but the numbers expect him to get there eventually.  Who knows, maybe all he needed was one week to get his head straight?

Right behind those two is Cole Seely, who closed the gap on Anderson/Webb from last week's prediction, just like Musquin did.  The good news for Seely is that the Track Adjustment bumps him up to 5th -- Seely has finished well at Petco: 6th in 2015 and 3rd / 2nd in 2016 compared to an average of just worse than 6th everywhere else.

Next up is the biggest mover, Davi Millsaps.  As mentioned in the full-season prediction update, this may be a slight overreaction by the model to 1 good race from Millsaps, who moves up from #16 last week.  Part of the big move is that he is just ahead of Blake Baggett, Weston Peick, and Justin Bogle.  Just about 1 point separates 8th from 13th, so there is a block of riders there who are all Top 10 capable but very similarly talented.  Notable from that group is Peick, who jumps up 3 spots from 13th last week.

So Millsaps is the biggest mover, but he might also be facing a big challenge at Petco -- his Track Adjustment docks him enough points that he falls 4 spots, to 12th.  He has finished 20th in 2015 and 12th / 11th in 2016 at Petco while averaging just worse than 9th at other locations.  Possibly just a blip over 3 prior attempts at Petco.  Keep in mind that the Track Adjustment takes into account that there are only 3 races of data over 2 years, invoking only a minimal penalty.

On the flip side, Chad Reed improves his spot from 14th to 9th after the Track Adjustment.  Reed was predicted 14th overall last week, which seemed remarkably low, but then he had a DNF, so who knows.  At Petco, Reed finished 4th in 2015 and 2nd (remember that!) / 8th in 2016 compared to just better than 7th on average everywhere else.

Not listed is Malcolm Stewart, who would slot it around 8th -- ignoring the fact that he'd be a week behind in adjusting to the new season.  Trey Canard is also absent from the race and the rankings, due to his shoulder/rotator cuff injury, and Mike Alessi just misses the cut, at #21, though he is a "maybe" for the race.

Things to watch:
1. Roczen's predicted gap over Dungey and others grew slightly -- will that trend continue?
2. Repeat from last week: "The numbers portend good things for Cooper Webb, but will he run near the front right from the get go?"
3. Repeat from last week, since the predictions were actually more-or-less correct on these two: "The old guys -- Chad Reed and Justin Brayton -- have flummoxed the predictions so far by defying Father Time.  Will they continue to ride like guys half their age?"
4. Can someone not named Dungey provide a challenge for the #1 spot, such as an arm-pump-free Eli Tomac, who looked great all day at A1 until a few laps into the Main Event.
5. Will the elusive Malcom Stewart show up?  There will be quite a lot of commotion if he does.  And if so, how will he compare to the 450 guys -- he's someone who hasn't had trouble with the bigger bike or the veteran opposition in the past.

As the hype from the opening weekend dies down, we can settle in for a weekly dose of wondering how much Roczen will win by, which of the Baker Boys will take 2nd, and which factory-level guy is going to miss the Main Event (maybe we should keep count: Christophe Pourcel - 1), and who'll be the surprise Top 10 (or better) like Millsaps at #7 for A1?  We'll find out on Saturday!

Posted by: SagehenMacGyver47   :::   As always – Feedback welcomed

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