Supercross "This Week" Predictions -- Oakland 2017
Last week we were asking "Can anyone keep up with Ryan Dungey in 2017?" Well, the answer is "yes". This week, all eyes will be on Eli Tomac to see if he can do it again. And not to minimize what Chad Reed did at Phoenix, but I don't see the same expectations being put on him, such as the Supercross fans expecting him to ride wheel-to-wheel with Dungey every week. Who's got the talent and primed to win at Supercross week 5 in Oakland?
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:
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.
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.
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. Christophe Pourcel is being left off the list (17th) as is Trey Canard (6th) as they both appear to be out for Oakland.
Dungey tops the list again, but with a smaller margin over new 2nd place projection, Tomac (not quite 2 "points" this week versus 2.5 "points" last week. I put points in quotes because they're not literal, but an approximation of talent scaled to be in line with the expected points earned.) Marvin Musquin follows in the other podium spot.
Trailing Musquin, though not by a lot, is Jason Anderson, and while Cole Seely lags behind those two a bit, I would think that 3rd place is definitely up for grabs -- not to mention from Reed, if he looks anything like he did at Phoenix, or Cooper Webb who's been coming on stronger in the last two races.
The middle and bottom of the pack look pretty similar to last week, with some minor shuffling. Justin Bogle gets docked a spot because of the Injury Adjustment, but no other riders have lingering injuries (except possibly Anderson with his arm bruise).
The Location Adjustment has a little more impact this week since there's more data at the O.Co Coliseum. The big adjustment is for Jake Weimer, who moves up 2 spots. He's finished 8th (2016), 9th (2015), and 11th (2014) in Oakland the past 3 years, compared to an average of 13.6 everywhere else. That's pretty consistent, and having consistent (low variance) results allows the adjustment to have a bigger effect.
The adjustment has Seely pulling even with and just ahead of Anderson. Seely has finished 6th (2016) and 5th (2015) at O.Co, while Anderson finished 4th (2016) and 10th (2015). It's a minor adjustment but causes a position switch since they're each rated so closely. I'm a bit skeptical of that one since Anderson was a much different rider in 2016 than 2015, but we'll see.
Things to watch:
1. Eli Tomac and Chad Reed managed to finally catch Ryan Dungey last week -- can anyone do it again?
2. Rookies Cooper Webb and Malcolm Stewart look like they're settling in to the upper 450 class. Can they start really challenging the more experienced riders every week?
3. The Location Adjustment for Vince Friese is pretty solid on paper -- will it show up on the track?
4. But really aren't we all just watching Tomac and wondering if (hoping?) he can put on another amazing demonstration of speed?