Supercross is back!! The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series kicked off last Saturday at Anaheim and now we can all relax and just enjoy supercross every Saturday. The series now heads south to San Diego at Petco Park for round 2.
I will be doing a weekly column, ranking my top ten 450 riders heading into the next race. For this weeks list, it remains relatively similar to last week as I have the same 6 riders in my top 6 (Roczen, Dungey, Musquin, Anderson, Tomac, and Seely). I do believe that these 6 riders are the fastest guys out there as of now and they have the potential to swap positions with each other every week. Here are my top 10 heading into Round 2 at San Diego.
Ken Roczen (Honda HRC)
Wow, what a ride by the German at A1. A lot of people had Roczen pegged to win the opener and win many races in 2017, but nobody expected a 16 second win over the two time defending champ Ryan Dungey. He looked great all day, but once Roczen finds himself on the gate for the night show, he is just on a whole other level. He certainly was very confident heading into the season and he backed that up with a great performance. You cannot deny that this weekend at San Diego, everybody will be looking at Roczen as the guy to beat and I am too.
Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM)
Ryan Dungey drops does down to the second spot in my rankings, but come on guys, you can’t just give Roczen the championship because of one dominant race! (Yes, I know he dominated all summer and at MEC) The fact is Dungey beat Ken for the past two years and when it is all said and done and Vegas comes rolling around this year, Dungey may very well be the champion again. A second place is a good result for Dungey at the opener, which isn’t always his strongest race. I’m sure that he didn’t want to lose by that much but in all the interviews I’ve heard after A1, he just doesn’t seem worried. He will take the runner-up spot gladly and if Ken does make a mistake, which he has been known to do, Ryan will be right there to capitalize. But at the end of the day, Ryan has got to find another level or hope for a mistake if he wants to beat Ken at San Diego.
Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Oh boy, that was not a good start for Eli Tomac. The pros: He got good starts, he ran the 2nd fastest lap time in the main, he won his heat race and looked good on the bike. The con: Eli went from a comfortable 2nd to barely hanging on to 5th place. The word came out after the race that he had gotten horrible arm pump and was just trying to hang on for as long as he could. Now, maybe the nerves got to him and this could just be a one-time thing. He better hope that he doesn’t go backwards again this weekend or this season could be a disaster for Tomac. Until I see this as a reoccurring theme, I keep Eli at the third spot on my list and I expect a bounce back race in San Diego.
Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna)
Anderson had a quiet but really good ride at the opener. He once again got a bad start and was in 10th place on the first lap, he was able to slide his way by 6 riders to finish in 4th place without making any big noise. I really think Anderson wants to win and believes that he can win and that is why I have him ahead of other riders on this list. Anderson needs a top 5 start this weekend to really see what he is capable of. If he gets the start he needs, I would bet on a podium finish at San Diego. Otherwise if we see him start in 10th again, watch for him to finish 4th or 5th.
Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM)
Marv finished a solid 3rd at Anaheim 1 and was the fastest qualifier during practice and I really think he is going to be a contender week after week. So why don’t I have him higher on my list? Well I just get the impression that he is okay with top 5s and podiums. I know he hasn’t won yet, but he totally can and I just would like to get that more from him. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but he doesn’t act like he is a real championship contender yet. He will no doubt have another good finish this weekend in San Diego, but as of right now I see Roczen, Dungey, Anderson and Tomac wanting it more than Musquin.
Cole Seely (Honda HRC)
Cole Seely is the last of those top 6 riders that I have been talking about. He is at the bottom of the front group simply because he finished 6th at Anaheim 1 and didn’t quite have the pace of the top guys (well actually nobody had the pace of Roczen). I want to see big things from Seely this year because I really believe in his supercross skills, but he will need to show me better results before he can move up this list. As I mentioned before, these top 6 could shuffle around this weekend or any weekend following.
Chad Reed (Monster Energy Yamaha)
Unfortunately, Reed DNFed the race last weekend after hitting Peick so hard that it ruptured his water pump. We will see if Reed learned his lesson because when dealing with Peick, it never ends well for the other guy. His hopes of winning another championship just went from climbing Mt. Everest to travelling to Mars. If anything could help Reed out, it is San Diego SX. Reed does well in San Diego. Very Well, hence the 2nd place at San Diego 1 last year. I see Reed as the next best guy other than the fast 6.
Blake Baggett (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM)
A 14th doesn’t look good on paper, but Baggett put down the 7th fastest lap time of the night after crashing on lap 2. There was a lot of hype from Baggett looking incredibly fast on the test tracks and I do think that it held up despite the finish. In his heat race he looked very good racing to a 2nd place finish behind Tomac. Look for Baggett to be easily in the top 10 and with a good start he could sneak a top 5 this weekend.
Cooper Webb (Monster Energy Yamaha)
Immediately after the race I was shaking my head in disbelief at what I thought was a lackluster performance for Webb in his 450 debut. I said he would take a while to reach his potential, but I didn’t think he would be battling for a 10th place and not moving up in positions. However, after a good nights rest I realized that 10th place is a solid performance for a rookie debut, especially in this stacked field. Rookies can go out swinging like Anderson and Roczen did, but Musquin last year went 14-9-9 to start the year and then was at the front by the end of that same season. The year before that Seely finished 14th in the opening two rounds and then won a race! Webb will be just fine, I expect a more comfortable Webb this weekend, but it will take a couple more rounds until we start seeing the real Cooper Webb show up.
Weston Peick (JGR Suzuki)
Can we just have a second camera on Peick the whole night? He doesn’t even need to be riding, while the other qualifying races are going, just show him yelling at Friese or something. This guy just creates excitement every night and guess what, he actually had a decent 8th place finish and knocked Reed out of the competition while doing it. I feel like 6-10th is were we will see Weston a lot this year, but he isn’t happy with that and wants top 5s and podiums and I love that about him. Keep your eye on Peick this weekend at San Diego, well because you know something entertaining will happen.
Photo from MXLarge