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Supercross "This Week" Predictions -- Anaheim 2 2017

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

Of course at A2 Malcolm Stewart will get a lot of attention as it's his 2017 debut -- we'll get to that.  But just two weeks ago at Angel Stadium, Ken Roczen left everyone in his dust, destroying the competition with a win by 16 seconds.  I wouldn't be surprised if Ryan Dungey and the other challengers have flashback episodes during the track walk.  On the other hand, Dungey managed to match Roczen's speed last week in San Diego, so perhaps he's licking his chops for the return to Anaheim and a shot at redemption.  Who's got the talent and primed to win in Supercross week 3 at Anaheim 2?

As usual, 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.  Based on the 2 weeks of racing from 2017 plus riders' recent history, the True Talent prediction for Anaheim 2 shows a big improvement for Marvin Musquin and big decline for Cooper Webb compared to last week.  Not a huge surprise, considering how each has been riding.  And the Track Adjustment for Angel Stadium has a larger than normal impact since there are many more data points for past races at Angel Stadium than your typical venue:

Roczen again tops the list, and with the Track Adjustment he has a decent gap over Dungey at #2.  Jason Anderson holds on to 3rd, despite Musquin's recent success, though Musquin slides into 4th with the Track Adjustment.  That's because Eli Tomac just hasn't done very well at Angel Stadium -- his average finish there is about 9th while he's averaged just worse than 6th everywhere else.

As mentioned, Malcom Stewart shows up in the prediction, debuting for 2017 in 12th.  With the Track Adjustment he falls to 16th (based on his 250 results, he's finished about 9th, on average, at Angel Stadium while he's finished around 4th everywhere else).  That adjustment may be a bit harsh, but it probably lines up, coincidentally, with the effect of being rusty -- at least compared to everyone else with 2 races this year to get their legs back and get their bike setups tuned.

Trey Canard is also listed, at 7th, although he's a "maybe" as of right now for lining up at A2.  Right behind him is Webb, who moves up a spot after the Track Adjustment.  On average, Canard has finished 3 spots worse at Angel Stadium than other locations.

Chad Reed checks in at #11 after the Track Adjustment, and I'm sure I'll get some disagreement there.  In fact, I disagree a little bit, as my gut says he's closer to 7th than 11th, but the numbers don't like the expected effect of aging for him -- and they've been about right so far in 2017.

If Canard doesn't ride, then with everyone sliding up a spot, Vince Friese would move into 20th, and Mike Alessi would be the next man up.

Things to watch:
1. The thing on everyone's mind: will Roczen return and blow everyone away like at A1, or was San Diego a preview of the rest of the season -- Dungey will at least keep it close?
2. Webb's rating has dropped quite a bit.  Can he start to shake off the rookie doldrums, or is he going to keep looking like he's never seen a 450 before (even though he's looked comfortable on one in several exhibition races in the past)?
3. Repeat from the last two weeks, 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. Repeat from last week: "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?" It sure looks like a 2-man race, but can someone change that?
5. What happens if Malcolm Stewart out-performs Cooper Webb?  Does the internet explode?  I'm guessing Stewart doesn't look great this week -- he's racing for the first time in a while at a venue that hasn't been great for him in the past -- but it will be a much better story if he can surprise with a Top 10 finish.  That would certainly capture some headlines.

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

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