Monday 17th December: Tracks Closed.

AMX: 450 Thoughts, Theories & Stats

From Motocross Action Mag

maddix park mx

www.motocrossactionmag.com

The gate drops at Red Bud. This year Red Bud is on July 2.

The 2016 Supercross season is done. Ryan Dungey successfully defended his Supercross championship. The focus now shifts outdoors. The biggest change for the riders will be transitioning to the loose and less controlled environment of outdoor tracks. Many of the top riders–excluding Chad Reed–have been putting in long test days on tracks like Glen Helen, Milestone and Zaca Station in preparation for the National opener next weekend in Hangtown. For some, the Nationals will be about defending titles and carrying the momentum of the 2016 Supercross season. Others are looking for redemption and a new beginning. The 2016 Supercross season claimed a few major injuries, but most big names are recovered and ready to embark on a 12-race outdoor schedule.

The 2015 AMA National series was a wild one. Eli Tomac was the man to beat when the 2015 season started. The Geico Honda rider had swept the first two races at Hangtown and Glen Helen. His dominating lead extended to Thunder Valley where he won the first moto. Tomac was leading the second moto when he suffered a devastating crash. Both shoulders were injured, with one of his rotator cuffs torn completely. With Tomac out, Ken Roczen and Supercross champion Ryan Dungey jumped in to fill the void. While Dungey continued to keep the upper hand on Ken Roczen, a new challenger showed up mid-season at High Point raceway–Justin Barcia.  The three would make the podium consistently for the rest of the season, although Ken Roczen had trouble keeping pace midway through the series.

Enter the 2016 Supercross season. Ryan Dungey dominated. Ken Roczen has a slow start to the season. Eli Tomac had little time on his Kawasaki having come off a late preseason injury. Justin Barcia seemed like a strong contender in the 2016 season, but a preseason hand injury forced him to the sidelines. Upon returning, Barcia still hadn’t found his groove in the Supercross season. That doesn’t mean much when it comes to the outdoors, especially for a guy like Barcia. Just like last year, he may excel in the Nationals. While Jason Anderson started the 2015 National season strong, but he faded mid-season. In Supercross, Anderson started with a bang and stayed in the top five consistently. James Stewart, Weston Peick, Trey Canard, and Blake Baggett are among the few 450 riders looking for redemption after a lackluster or downright terrible Supercross season. A few riders (Davi Millsaps, Mike Alessi and Vince Friese) will be switching to the Canadian Nationals, while Chad Reed  is going top hit a couple GPs. Let’s look at the riders.

THE TOP DOGS

20150718100030_MillvillePractice-Ryan DUngeyRYAN DUNGEY Photo: Scott Mallonee

RYAN DUNGEY 2015 NATIONAL STATS
Starts: 24
Overall Podiums: 11
Moto Podiums: 22
Overall Wins: 7
Overall Win Percentage: 58.3%
Overall Podium Percentage: 91.6%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 6
Overall Points Earned: 547

20160409174823_Scott Mallonee_Ken Roczen_Supercross2016_indianapolisKEN ROCZEN Photo: Scott Mallonee

Ken Roczen was a threat to Ryan Dungey’s title hopes in 2015. The German had great starts and stamina to equal the champion. However, there was something missing, as he would often fall off and ultimately miss the podium. This year started with even more struggles, as Roczen was unable to put a solid race together. It took him half of the 2016 Supercross season to return to consistently starting in the top five. Fans had been waiting all season for a Dungey and Roczen battle, and it started in Santa Clara. While Roczen had a victory in both Glendale and Arlington, Santa Clara was the first race Roczen started in the front and lost. Since Santa Clara Roczen has consistently put in faster laps than Ryan Dungey. Watching him out at Glen Helen a few weeks ago, this doesn’t seem to be unique to Supercross. If there is anyone who will be a direct threat to Ryan Dungey, it is Ken Roczen.

KEN ROCZEN 2015 STATS
Starts: 24
Overall Podiums: 6
Moto Podiums: 16
Overall Wins: 1
Overall Win Percentage: 8.3%
Overall Podium Percentage: 50%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 3
Overall Points Earned: 447

20150718115822_MillvillePractice-3JASON ANDERSON Photo: Scott Mallonee

Jason Anderson is rough and bold. His aggressive riding is irritating to peers (particularly Cole Seely). The 450 sophomore had a lot of expectations on him coming into the 2016 Supercross season. He ended the series in third overall. With Husqvarna trying to become a major player in motocross again, the wild New Mexican did a great job at putting the suddenly revived brand in the spotlight. Two wins in 2016 proved that team manager, Bobby Hewitt, had picked the right guy. “El Hombre” has improved in the 2016 season, due in part to training with Aldon Baker. While Anderson is fast, he is still prone to little mistakes while racing. He started the 2015 AMA 450 National series strong, but faded as the season wore on. His pre-season training must have helped, because he ended the 2016 Supercross series almost as consistently as he started it.

JASON ANDERSON 2015 STATS
Starts: 24
Overall Podiums: 4
Moto Podiums: 4
Overall Wins: 0
Overall Win Percentage: 0%
Overall Podium Percentage: 33.3%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 0
Overall Points Earned: 320

_DSC4638 Eli TOmacELI TOMAC

Eli Tomac started the 2015 National season as the rider to catch. The five motos he finished, he won. After sustaining shoulder injuries in front of his home crowd in Colorado, Tomac missed the rest of the 2015 season (click here to read the interview with Eli). He signed with factory Kawasaki for 2016, but was unable to start riding until late in 2015. His time off the bike was very apparent in the 2016 Supercross season. After staring the season mid-pack, it took Tomac the majority of the season to dial in the bike. His one big highlight was Daytona where he won. Daytona is the closest a Supercross track gets to an outdoor environment, and he dominated. While Dungey has a good chance of winning the title, there is a good chance Tomac will be the pressuring for wins.

ELI TOMAC 2015 STATS
Starts: 6
Overall Podiums: 2
Moto Podiums: 5
Overall Wins: 2
Overall Win Percentage: 66%
Overall Podium Percentage: 66%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 2
Overall Points Earned: 125

RIDERS LOOKING FOR REDEMPTION

DSC4095 2016 Santa Clara James StewartJAMES STEWART

James Stewart is a legend and household name. If he were to walk away from the sport tomorrow, he would still be regarded as one of the greats. That being said, legends can be forgotten by the public if they don’t remain dominant. Stewart’s biggest enemy is his health right now. After a 16-month suspension for a drug violation, Bubba’s return to the spotlight was brief. A Supercross crash at Anaheim sent him into a downward spiral. Several other injuries ultimately forced him to end the Supercross season early. While he hasn’t had a good race since 2014, Bubba could challenge for overall wins this summer. For as out of shape as he was, Stewart showed brief moments of looking like his old self in his limited Supercross forays this season

JAMES STEWART 2015 STATS
He was suspended last year, leaving no stats to post. In 2014 he scored 226 points before an injury at Spring Creek.

BarciaJUSTIN BARCIA Photo: John Basher

Justin Barcia started the 2015 National season coming off an injury. By the mid-season he was able to take his paltry finishes and turn them upside down with wins and consistent podiums. Coming into Anaheim 1 Bam Bam Barcia was the second fastest ridder until the race was red flagged. Nobody knew why in the “second” main that night Barcia did so poorly. Succumbing to the pain of an injured hand, Barcia sat out most of the season as it healed and hasn’t been the same since he came back. Justin Barcia has been here before. We have yet to see if he’ll be 100% when the gate drops at Hangtown. He finished third overall last year, so we may see the Barcia we remember explode a few races in.

JUSTIN BARCIA’S 2015 STATS
Starts: 24
Overall Podiums: 7
Moto Podiums: 12
Overall Wins: 2
Overall Win Percentage: 16.6%
Overall Podium Percentage: 58.3%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 6
Overall Points Earned: 441

_DSC5196_Kyoshi_Trey Canard Crash Dump mud_Supercross_Sam Boyd Stadium_Las Vegas_05082016TREY CANARD.

While Trey Canard is a top five rider, repeated injuries and crashes have kept him from excelling. His career could use a few outdoor wins before the end of 2016. Trey Canard ended the season ninth in points, and some rumors suggest that Honda may be considering some changes for 2017. Out of the consistently fast racers who lined up for Supercross this season, Trey Canard was the only one (not counting Stewart) to not have a single podium. The last National season he wasn’t able to start until Washougal and was only able to land one podium before the season ended. Honda has stood by him and he wants the results, it just is a matter of getting them.

TREY CANARD 2015 STATS
Starts: 8
Overall Podiums: 1
Moto Podiums: 1
Overall Wins: 0
Overall Win Percentage: 0%
Overall Podium Percentage: 12.5%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 0
Overall Points Earned: 118

_DSC9463_Kyoshi_Blake Baggett_Practice MilestoneBLAKE BAGGETT.

Blake Baggett ended the 2015 AMA Nationals fourth in points. While the Yoshimura Suzuki rider was not front and center in the 450 action, his consistency led to a few podiums. Many forget that Baggett was the 250 National Champion back in 2012. Baggett entered the 2016 Supercross season injured and couldn’t race until Oakland. More injuries kept him off the track until Daytona, where he was only able to finish in 13th place. While he was able to get two top five finishes this season, Yoshimura Suzuki is relying on Blake to come out swinging when the gate drops at Hangtown.

BLAKE BAGGETT 2015 STATS
Starts: 24
Overall Podiums: 3
Moto Podiums: 3
Overall Wins: 0
Overall Win Percentage: 0%
Overall Podium Percentage: 25%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 0
Overall Points Earned: 360

_DSC4035_Kyoshi_Weston Peick_Supercross_Sam Boyd Stadium_Las Vegas_05082016WESTON PEICK.

Weston Peick is still working his way up in the sport. After fighting to get full factory support, he was brought on by the JGR Yamaha team in 2015. He was able to get a few podiums in Supercross, but only landed one in the AMA Nationals. After an unfortunate start to the 2016 Supercross season, Peick wasn’t able to rebound before the season ended. With rival middleweight opponent Vince Freise going to Canada, Peick may have a fresh start to the 2016 season. Hopefully he can pull out of his slump and get back on the podium this season.

WESTON PEICK 2015 STATS
Starts: 24
Overall Podiums: 0
Moto Podiums: 1
Overall Wins: 0
Overall Win Percentage: 0%
Overall Podium Percentage: 4.1%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 0
Overall Points Earned: 223

UP AND COMING RIDERS

Whipitwednesday_Musquin_DaytonaMARVIN MUSQUIN Photo: John Basher

Movin’ Marv is a wildcard for the AMA 450 Nationals. He showed a great performance in the 250 class and was only outshone by Jeremy Martin over the last few National seasons. In Supercross, we witnessed a slow start for the KTM 450 rookie with finishes out of the top ten. Once the series moved to the East, Musquin became a regular on the podium and was doing well until a wrist injury in Santa Clara forced him to slow down. He had started the Supercross season 14th in points and would end it in 7th.

MARVIN MUSQUIN 2015 STATS
(
Musquin was still on a 250 last year)
Starts: 24
Overall Podiums: 8
Moto Podiums: 16
Overall Wins: 3
Overall Win Percentage: 25%
Overall Podium Percentage: 66.6%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 2
Overall Points Earned: 479

_DSC2779_Kyoshi_Cole Seeley_2016 Champion_Supercross_Sam Boyd Stadium_Las VegasCOLE SEELY

Like rival Jason Anderson, Cole Seely is a 450 sophomore. Unlike Anderson, Seely did not have an explosive Supercross season. Four podiums and sixth in points, Seely is still a rider to watch. In 2015, Cole Seely had a bad ending to his National season. After getting hurt at Budds Creek he would go on to break his nose in Washougal.

COLE SEELY 2015 STATS
450 Total Starts: 10
450 Total Career Podiums: 0
450 Total Career Wins: 0
450 Win Percentage: 0%
450 Podium Percentage: 0%
Consecutive Podiums: 0
Total AMA Points Earned: 104

20160417161820_Scott Mallonee_Justin Bogle _Supercross2016_St LouisJUSTIN BOGLE Photo: Scott Mallonee

Justin Bogle is the other rookie to watch in the 450 class. Bogle was unable to complete the Nationals after a crash that pinned him under his bike involving Troy Lee Designs rider Jessy Nelson at Glen Helen. He injured his shoulder and bruised a kidney and lung. His troubles didn’t stop there, when he injured his foot in the offseason. Entering the Supercross season, it took a little time for Bogle to adjust. While he suffered a wrist injury in the beginning of the season, he was able to complete it 11th in points. If Bogle can stay healthy you may see an improvement over the National season.

JUSTIN BOGLE 2015 STATS
(
Bogle was still on a 250 last year)
Starts: 2
Overall Podiums: 0
Moto Podiums: 0
Overall Wins: 0
Overall Win Percentage: 0%
Overall Podium Percentage: 60%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 0
Overall Points Earned: 13

 
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