With the Pro predictions done for Lucas Oil MX 2016
and the amateur predictions done for Loretta's 450 A and 250 A, that
brings us to the "this week" rankings. The idea is to show only
the estimated "true talent" of the riders going into this
week's race. By "true talent" we just mean our best guess--based on what the data is telling us--as to the actual ability of the
rider. The "true talent" measure strips out what points have been earned so far in the season standings, and all we're left with is
rider history + age effect + experience. On top of that, we look at if the rider is currently dealing with recovery from an injury
and at the rider's history at the upcoming track.
MX "True Talent" Predictions - Week 1: 2016 Hangtown
Since Hangtown is the first race of the season, the True-Talent behind the This-Week predictions looks almost exactly like the full-season predictions -- naturally the riders with the most estimated true talent are predicted to win the full season. Also, injuries are fairly limited at this point, as the riders who have significant injuries are completely out (such as Dean Wilson and Wil Hahn) and very few riders have lingering injuries coming into Week 1.
MX 450 This-Week Predictions:
Since points and injuries aren't a factor, that leaves the Track Adjustment as the only major variable for the week. In the past 4 years, Ryan Dungey hasn't won Hangtown overall, but he has finished 2 / 2 / 2 / 2 -- yes, that's 2nd place each of the last 4 times. Eli Tomac is 1 for 1 with a win in his only 450 race there, and Ken Roczen has a win and a 12th. Jason Anderson finished 3rd in his 1 try on a 450. That's all about as you would expect -- the top riders finished with good results.
More notable is Trey Canard's finishes of 3rd and 4th in 2014 and 2013. Compared to his average finish over the last 4 years at other tracks -- 6th -- that leads us to believe he may close the gap some between himself and Anderson and even move into 4th. It's just data from 2 weekends of racing, so take it with a grain of salt, especially considering that the track/location adjustment is still a work in progress.
Josh Grant gets bumped down slightly because his average finish at Hangtown in '14, '13, and '12 is 15th while his average result otherwise is 10th. Weston Peick has had success at Hangtown, finishing 4th, 6th, 10th, in 2015 / '14 / '13, respectively, compared to 12th overall at other tracks. You'd think that would move him up a spot, but he gets leapfrogged by James Stewart. James Stewart has an average finish overall of 10th during the last 4 years (really 3 years because of the 2015 suspension), which is probably more mediocre that you would have guessed. At Hangtown, though, he's finished 4th in 2014, 3rd in 2013, and 1st in 2012. Based on that, we'd expect him to earn 5 spots above his standard prediction, pushing him up from 14th into 9th. Just another level of intrigue for Stewart's return to outdoor motocross.
MX 250 This-Week Predictions:
In the 250's, Cooper Webb loses a spot due to the Injury Adjustment because he's still recovering from the broken bone in his hand. Chris Alldredge is a scratch because he hasn't yet returned from his injury -- a fractured pelvis.
In the Track Adjustment, the only major adjustment is for Matt Bisceglia, but it's a pretty big one. In 2 years in the 250 class at Hangtown--2014 and 2015--he's finished 9th both times. Otherwise, he's finished 13th, and that results in a very large adjustment, which moves him up 7 spots because the field is tightly packed in the predictions from 11th to 18th.
Jesse Nelson also has an adjustment based on the track, since he's finished 15th on average over 4 years at Hangtown, compared to 10th otherwise. He doesn't quite lose a spot to Joey Savatgy below him, though, partly because Savatgy's average finish at Hangtown has been 12th in 3 tries. Nelson finished 18th at Hangtown last year, BUT he finished 5th the year before -- so maybe the prediction of 5th for him this year will prove true.