2017 Supercross Week 7 -- By-The-Numbers Recap: Minneapolis
Despite some plywood showing on the track, Supercross got back to normal at Minneapolis. Well, sort of. Eli Tomac got back to his role as the new guy to beat. And Ryan Dungey was normal in that he rode a solid race and finished on the podium. But what wasn't normal was that Dungey got passed late in the race. Marvin Musquin managed to pass Jason Anderson and Davi Millsaps early, then Dungey late. Cole Seely might normally be consoled by finishing 5th if it's behind 4 top riders like Tomac, Musquin, Dungey, and Anderson -- but after getting the Holeshot, I imagine he's pretty bummed that he lost it in an early turn all on his own and then had to fight his way back up through traffic toward the top.
(Note: now interactive, so hover over the lines to see the Rider/Lap/Position.)
(Another note -- they didn't provide riders' positions after the opening section (other than Seely with the Holeshot), so the initial position above is "Start" from the official results, which I believe is at the end of the first segment, but I think it varies by course.)
The podium finishers pulled ahead of the pack early (in Lap 3 for Tomac and Dungey, Lap 5 for Musquin) and ran away from there. So how did their speed compare between the 3 of them during the race? You can see there was plenty of back and forth throughout:
That said, Tomac had more speed and was the fastest of the three on every lap up through Lap 7. By that point, Tomac had extended his lead over Dungey to around 6 seconds, so possibly Tomac was already backing off the throttle a tad. Not sure what happened with Tomac in laps 13, 14, and 15, but it could have been some lappers or yellow flags.
Musquin kept his speed up all race long, losing an average of just 0.02 seconds per lap -- that's 2 one-hundredths of a second, compared to about 0.13 seconds per lap by Dungey and 0.09 seconds per lap by Tomac. Musquin was faster than Tomac on 11 of the final 14 laps. Some of that was surely Tomac stepping off the gas a little bit with a big lead, but impressive nonetheless as Musquin was down by about 7 seconds when he moved into 2nd on Lap 19 and cut Tomac's lead to just more than 4 seconds with about 1:30 left in the race. Musquin wouldn't get within 4 seconds, though.
Prior to the Main Event, Tomac qualified first with Musquin having the next best lap. Tomac couldn't stay with Anderson in the Heat Race, finishing 2nd. Musquin had to go to the Semi, which he won, due to a crash in his Heat Race (that it seemed to me was Musquin's fault).
The Battle For 4th
It wasn't really much of a battle since after Seely's early crash, Anderson got by Millsaps in Lap 8 and held a fairly comfortable lead on Seely the rest of the way. Seely had a few laps where he was comparably faster than Anderson, but by and large Anderson was faster:
In the final few laps, Seely made up some time, finishing 4+ seconds behind Anderson.
Staying Upright Is Helpful
In addition to Millsaps -- who got the holeshot but had to hold on to finish 6th -- 7th through 9th was 3 guys who had good results and were some of the few riders who didn't sample the dirt (at least that I saw or could tell from the lap times). Broc Tickle followed up his 6th last week (in a sloppy race for nearly all involved) with 7th in Minneapolis. Trey Canard regained a little bit of his form with an 8th, and Blake Baggett got back into the Top 10 after a 17th place last week (7th place in each of the two races before that). Of those 3, Tickle definitely had the most impressive race, putting up better lap times than either of the other 2 for nearly the entire Main Event:
- Mike Alessi put up his best finish of the season, 10th, and he may also have managed to avoid falling -- although he did lose 5 spots in Lap 2, which means something might have gone wrong there.
- Dean Wilson qualified with the 3rd fastest time, but he finished 3rd in his Heat Race and then went down on the opening turn of the Main Event. He came back from last to finish 12th, but his laptimes along the way were good but not great -- around the same speed as Canard and Baggett mentioned above, who finished 8th and 9th (see the tool below if you want to compare).
- Unfortunately Cooper Webb had his night end in a crash during the opening section of his Heat Race, so hopefully he's not seriously injured. Prior to that, his qualifying was good-not-great (7th) and we don't get any more data to indicate if he was going to follow up on his podium in Oakland (after a down week at Arlington).
- Justin Bogle would crash out of his Semi Race (and ending his night), burying his front wheel into the wrong side of a rhythm jump and going head over handlebars. Leading up to that he wasn't having a particularly good day, qualifying 14th and finishing 6th in his Heat Race.
- Malcolm Stewart was riding in 6th and 7th for a while, looking like perhaps he could make some noise, but a crash or two dropped him back to 14th. He recovered from there to finish 11th. Still his 2nd best result in 450 Supercross, but until he consistently stays upright for the entire night, I don't think he can be considered as a potential elite rider.
- Chad Reed and Justin Barcia got into it in their Heat Race, leaving them 11th and 16th (see RacerX's coverage on the riders). Getting fired up didn't seem to help their Main Event results any as they finished 16th and 17th, respectively. Reed oddly went down fairly hard all on his own in Lap 11, losing several spots.
Once again, the champ looked vulnerable. There's still a very long way to go, which means the door is still open, and while it seems like Dungey hasn't won the last few battles, he's still winning the war. The good news for all of us is that the competition is still on for the #1 spot.