We are only two rounds into the Monster Energy Supercross Series and we have pretty much lost two championship contenders. For the purpose of these rankings I have decided to leave both Musquin and Tomac off of the list as they both are questionable to even race Anaheim 2 and if they even do race I’m assuming given that they both had to sit out the night at Houston that they will be nowhere near up to speed to battle near the front. Here are my full rankings heading into the first Triple Crown event of the year.
- Jason Anderson
With Tomac way to far back after two rounds and Musquin losing a crucial 26 points last weeknd and possibly many more if his injury is too severe, Anderson has quickly solidified himself has the biggest threat to win the whole series. Yes this is a major blow to the championship, but let us not take it away from Anderson as he has stayed off the ground when others couldn’t. Last weekend is the best I have ever seen Anderson as he seemingly was calm and collective enough to just wear the other riders out in front of him. Patience is not something that we often see from Anderson, but that race was very Dungey like. I know it is only two races in, but if Houston was an example of what’s to come this year, well the rest of the field should be worried.
- Ken Roczen
It is weird for a lot of people to see Roczen get a lead early and a bit of a gap and then not able to close it out. In fact I’ve head some media guys seemingly confused of how Anderson caught the great Ken Roczen and passed him. Uhm… have we all forgot that gnarly injury we couldn’t stop talking about coming into the season opener?!? We should all be praising Roczen that he was able to lead laps and still finish a very strong second place. This whole season should be about taking baby steps and yes, eventually be winning again at some point. Roczen has gone 4-2 so far and currently seems to be the biggest threat beside Anderson to win this whole thing. I’m very impressed and I’m sure I’ll continue to be very impressed all season long. With the new format this weekend, don’t be surprised if Roczen’s consistency gets him the overall win.
- Justin Barcia
Barcia backed up his podium finish with another podium finish and once again he did it in impressive fashion! He was in the lead early and then made many mistakes (which we are used to seeing with Barcia), but this time once he faded back to 4th he regrouped and passed Seely back for the 3rd. I’m still a little bit in shock that we are seeing Barcia out front again, but I’m thinking that we are all going to have to get used to the new and improved Bam Bam (who doesn’t do as much bamming as we are used to). With Barcia’s great ability to manage top three starts in almost every race, he will be a huge threat to win some of these shorter motos this weekend.
- Cole Seely
I’m sure Seely is livid with himself after giving up that podium. Especially after he looked like he had winning speed in his heat race, but he’s got to look at the big picture here. Tomac and Musquin are way back in points and now he only has to worry about Barcia, Roczen and the new points leader Anderson. I’m sure he already felt like a championship contender, but now he must be really thinking “I’ve got a real great chance at this thing.” The question is does Seely rise to the occasion now or does falter behind the other three contenders? Tough call, but Seely will definitely be a dark horse for these next few weeks as he tries to take advantage of the situation.
- Weston Peick
It is absolutely fantastic that Peick is riding up here with the top dogs. He now has three straight 5th place performances resulting back to last year in SX. It is great to seem him doing well, but will he last the whole season without crashing big and injuring himself? Peick is an unique rider out there as so many of these other guys have naturally skill levels that make it so they can ride more effortlessly and not push that line as much. Peick never quite had as much natural ability on the bike (that is why he never achieved success into later in his career), and because of this it really seems to me that he has to push that level way more that these other guys. He just muscles around the track and this can cause a lot of crashes and then injuries. This has been a problem in the past, has he fixed it? Only time will tell. As for now look for him to continue to be hovering around that top 5.
- Blake Baggett
So far this season we have had surprises, Barcia and Roczen in a way. We have had major bummers, Musquin and Tomac. And we have had disappointments… Baggett one hundred percent falls in the disappointment category to me. This class was pretty top heavy at the beginning of the year, but with Tomac, Wilson and Musquin not racing Houston, Baggett should and is expected to get a better result than 7th. It’s not like he had a bad start, he just simply didn’t move forward at all form his 6th place start. For a guy that was expecting for himself to be a top 3 guy throughout the year, he needs a lot of improvement to get to that goal. We are not at panic territory yet, but if this continues through the next 3 or 4 rounds, well this could be bad… Don’t worry Baggett, I still believe in you though! I’m predicting that he breaks through with a top 5 in the next couple of weeks.
- Justin Brayton
Brayton has been super steady early in 2018 and I’m thinking part of this could be contributed to his success with doing all the off-season races. Since Brayton doesn’t ride the outdoors, he can relax for the summer and then train hard and get into mid-season form earlier than most riders. He is starting to reach the end of his career and will not have many more chances to try and get another podium or maybe even shoot for the moon and land among the winners! Yes, it is a very long shot, but with the weekend field and the way he is riding currently, this is most likely the last opportunity he will get for something like this. If the momentum continues for Brayton, he could be a sleeper to grab a podium in the shorter moto this weekend.
- Broc Tickle
Tickle has been good with two 8ths, but when are we going to see him finally pull through and show the Tickle we expected with the new KTM and new trainer? I guess it has only been two races so far so maybe we just need to give him some time. The one thing I love about Tickle is he a very consistent rider and will usually always fall in the 7-9th position. On a normal weekend I would say expect that again, but this weekend could actually be worst for Tickle. With shorter races the starts are wayyyy more important and Tickle as I have mentioned many times is usually the worst starter of all the top 15 riders or so. With three starts this weekend, this will be a real test for him.
- Cooper Webb
So far this season we have had surprises, Barcia and Roczen in a way. We have had major bummers, Musquin and Tomac. And we have had disappointments… Baggett one hundred percent falls in the disappointment category to me. Oh wait this is Cooper Webb. I was just going to copy and paste the same thing I wrote for Baggett and put it for Webb. Honestly though, where is Cooper Webb!? I miss him a lot guys and I’m starting to worry just a little bit. Yes I know the 12th isn’t very representative, he crashed on the first lap and broke his clutch lever, but guys he qualified 15th and Ben Lamay (no offense to him) beat his time! Remember that is also without guys like Tomac and Wilson. Even more so than Baggett, Webb was being thought of as a potential race winner and championship contender this year. I thought he was going to win a race early on in the season so, yeah looks like I’m way off on this one. Don’t have much else to say about Webb, he needs to start performing soon as he cannot blame it on the bike anymore now that Barcia is close to winning.
- Malcolm Stewart
Mookie!!!! You got to love seeing Malcolm Stewart back out there racing SX and a 11th place is pretty decent considering he has admitted that he is not that prepared. However, Malcolm has just so much talent on a dirt bike and I just wish he were more committed to the sport and would really train and show what he is capable of on a 450. I mean this guy could be a top 5 guy if he put his head down. I truly believe that. Anyways it’s great to see him back out there and I expect him to do pretty decent in some of the shorter motos as Mookie always has some great sprint speed.