2017 Supercross Week 10 -- By-The-Numbers Recap: Daytona
Even though the pattern from Daytona looked a lot like last week's in Toronto, there was way more drama. For one, despite getting a good start, Eli Tomac actually had a threat to his presumed victory -- and that threat was from Jeremy Martin in his first ever 450SX Main Event! On top of that, while Ryan Dungey got stuck in a wreck in the opening section and made a striking comeback through the pack again -- and again Marvin Musquin wasn't able to be a factor in the Top 5 -- this time Jason Anderson got a good enough start to the race that he was able to finish ahead of Dungey. That put Dungey in 4th (just barely), rather than 2nd like last week, allowing Tomac to make up more points in the standings.
(Note: now interactive, so hover over the lines to see the Rider/Lap/Position.)
Not that there's much question, but just how much faster was Tomac than the rest? Well, it's an interesting Top 5 to compare him to. JMart faded a bit once Tomac took 1st, Anderson has perhaps more late speed than anyone, Dungey is Dungey, and Cole Seely was riding a good race and had to try to fight off Dungey at the end of the race:
Because of this crew in the Top 5, Tomac had JMart close to his pace at the beginning, Anderson close to his pace at the middle and end, and Dungey/Seely close to and exceeding his pace at the end (when Tomac was cruising on in, of course).
Cooper Webb Must Be Like "What The F***?!"
JMart looked capable, but not great, in his qualifying (2nd, pretty solid), Heat (9th, but was in 5th/6th for most of the race), and Semi (5th). Apparently all he needed was some clean track (or maybe a couple bike adjustments?), because once he got out in front of Tomac in the Main Event, for half of the race he was equal to Tomac and much faster than everyone else.
It made sense that JMart might run out of steam a little bit, considering he was on a bigger bike than he's used to, has never run a 20+ minute Supercross race, and had been dealing with some injuries recently. So I wondered what kind of pace he ran once Tomac went by and it became clear to him (I assume) that he couldn't match Tomac's speed forever:
Yes, he did slow down, but that was partly because he had a 20 second lead over 3rd place after Lap 10. So, no he didn't run at pace faster than everyone else for the latter half of the race, but he did ride at a similar speed to Seely and Chad Reed, which is no small feat for a rider's first 450SX race.
Dungey's Wasn't The Only Huge Comeback
Blake Baggett also go held up by the Justin Barcia crash in the opening section, and he managed to go from 22nd (according to the official starting position) all the way up to 7th. He passed Josh Grant in Lap 19, so I'm curious how Baggett compared to Dungey (the other one flying through the pack) and Grant:
Up through Lap 13, Baggett actually had 7 laps out of 12 (excluding Lap 1) where he was faster than Dungey. That is at least somewhat encouraging for a guy who was 3rd and 5th the past 2 weeks (also somewhat encouraging that he qualified 4th and was 3rd in his Heat Race). After Lap 13, though, when Dungey got by Justin Brayton, Dungey kicked it into another gear. As for comparing to Grant, Baggett was faster in 15 of 19 laps, as you can see above.
- Musquin got held up at the opening turn as well, and he seemed to recover OK initially, but when he and Dungey bumped in Lap 4, Musquin went down. After that, he didn't make up much ground on the pack -- finished 15th. Possibly a mechanical issue or another crash--he did seem to have a problem in Lap 9--but the broadcast didn't mention what. In the chart below you can pull up his (or others') lap times.
- Brayton got out near the front early (3rd), but dropped all the way to 9th. He qualified 18th but managed 4th in his Heat Race, so kind of an up and down day for Brayton.
- Just like Musquin mentioned above, Davi Millsaps, Dean Wilson, and Vince Friese had their worst finishes of the 2017 season. Millsaps qualified 9th and was 4th in his Heat Race, so maybe his injured wrist slowed him down during the 23 minutes of the Main Event. Wilson was a bit off all night, qualifying 11th, 8th in his Heat and 5th in his Semi. Friese qualified 13th, was 6th in his Heat Race, though he won his Semi; the Main Event started reasonably well for him but he dropped from 10th to 19th.
Tomac put on another impressive show, this time making up significant ground on Dungey, narrowing the points lead to 17. With 7 races to go, Tomac still (!) needs to win every race to guarantee that he finishes at the top of the standings. Tomac would make up at least 18 points by winning 6 of the 7 races, but if Dungey wins the other one, then Tomac only makes up 15 points, leaving him in 2nd. Oddly enough, even though Tomac blew away the field again, and even tough this time Dungey could just barely manage a reasonable finishing spot, Tomac only controls his destiny by winning out.